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WHY HAS DANCEHALL AND AFROBEATS BEEN THE MOST POPULAR GENRE IN 2016 SO FAR?

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WHY HAS DANCEHALL AND AFROBEATS BEEN THE MOST POPULAR GENRE IN 2016 SO FAR?

We are far past the half way mark of the year 2016, and the music this year has been of a very good quality. Us music lovers have been spoiled with many album releases, some overly anticipated like ANTI, Views and The life of Pablo. Others surprised us like Beyonce’s Lemonade release, and we’ve had new debutantes like Zayn Malik’s ‘Mind of Mine’. But from an Afro Caribbean perspective this year has been particularly enjoyable because the songs that have dominated the charts and radio play are of a dancehall and afrobeat background.
The year started with Justin Biebers late October release ‘Sorry’ still prevailing as a hit around the world. The song carries some dancehall influences evident in the beats with a touch of “tropical house”. The video even features many dancehall moves orchestrated by the director Parris Goebel. She said ‘sorry’ was “a perfect opportunity to showcase dancehall inspiration in a commercial video clip, to bring more light into dancehall”.

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Rihanna’s work is pure dancehall as the lyrics are dominated by Patois from the Caribbean, which most of the audience didn’t understand. But since February the 22nd 2016, people who don’t hail from a Caribbean background could scream “haffi”, “meh nuh cyan if him hurt” and “nuh badda text me in a crisis” at the top their lungs with confidence. As a result, Rihanna’s work broke the Billboard 100 record for number of weeks at number one in the US, a record previously held by the beatles.

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Another mega hit was issued into this year by Drake in the form of ‘One Dance’. The song carries the same dancehall feel which is accompanied by an afrobeats contribution by Wizkid. The song samples a classic UK funkyhouse tune ‘Do you mind’ by Kyla. This song captured the dancehall vibe of ‘work’ and reinforced the world’s obsession with it. A possible reason behind One Dance’s unprecedented success specifically in the UK is because the funkyhouse and dancehall mix made the UK listeners more familiar with the track and in a way made us proud that our very own kyla was the core of the hit. One Dance is now the longest running UK number 1 single in 22 years.

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It’s clear that dancehall and afrobeats has become a firm favourite in the world this year, and with it more Afro beats artists are gaining certification, such as Wizkid who is now on tracks with Chris Brown, Trey Songz and French Montanna. Recently, Tiwa Savage was signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation. Now people see the power of these ‘Afro Genres’ and are capitalising upon it. Jidenna released his single ‘A little bit more’ which has a strong AfroBeats foundation, he even sings in Pigeon (form of broken English in Nigeria). The video already has a million views in a week after its upload, showing the thirst for Afro music is strong. After Drake and Rihanna have set pace this year, it looks as though these afro genres will still play a part in the rest of 2016.

Francis Ewa is Street Talk HGD’s music & cultural specialist. Checkout his other articles 90’s Fashion Trends and WHAT IS TRAPSOUL?

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2 Comments
  • sandez

    I really enjoyed this. I’m going to chec your other stories. keep up the good work.

  • Alex

    afrobeats is winning right about now

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