The Nigerian musical genre that has triumphed in 2022

More than Nollywood movies, the afrobeat it is arguably Nigeria’s most important cultural export since the turn of the millennium. It is a hugely dynamic music category that incorporates various existing moods, languages, styles, and genres.

As has been suggested, the essence of the afrobeat is the music Festival pop originating from Nigeria and West Africa. Along the 2022the artists of afrobeat they’ve been regular names on the world stage, winning awards, being part of Hollywood soundtracks, selling out stadiums and even landing their own UK and US music charts.

The exhibition Fela Anikulapo-Kuti: Afrobeat rebellion in Paris was inaugurated with a pilgrimage of the community afrobeat to the French capital to pay tribute to the Nigerian musician who helped create the afrobeatwhich engendered the current current.

In Nigeria, some artists from afrobeat they began to become politically aware, while big names competed to release landmark albums. The movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever celebrated its African premiere in Lagos to a soundtrack steeped in afrobeat which highlighted the talents of Nigerian singer-songwriter Tems.

Election season in the Nigeria of 2022the music afrobeat has been linked to the general elections that will take place in February 2023. In my study on the relationship between the music Pop and Voter Awareness I broke down a number of ways that popular musicians influence elections and vice versa. Among them, the positive evolution that occurs when pop stars promote certain issues in the programs of political parties by speaking about social problems.

Take, for example, Pheelz and Davido’s “Electricity”, one of the biggest singles of the year. He tackles the burning issue of Nigeria’s poor electrification. In a subtle but forceful way, it puts the ball in the court of the political class so that they solve the problem and improve living conditions. It’s a nonpartisan hit that resonates with the public while drawing the attention of politicians.

In 2022several stars of afrobeat they sought the attention of the political class by being inspired by it or simply appropriating slogans and songs popularized by politicians. Ruger’s “Asiwaju”, Timaya’s “Sweet Us” and Qdot’s “Emi lo kan” are some examples. None of these singles necessarily have electoral value or prescribe solutions to society’s problems. However, each of them offers benefits to the interpreters and politicians mentioned.

In “Sweet Us,” Timaya, a veteran of the genre, echoes a triumphant cry popularized by the Governor of Rivers State. The song was a national hit after the governor lost a bitter presidential primary. Although it resonated with underprivileged audiences, it still reached more people after Timaya made a sexy version of it. On the catchy but corny “Asiwaju” (Leader), the emerging Ruger makes a subtle reference to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of Nigeria’s ruling party, almost craving the attention of the party’s campaign team.

various personalities of afrobeat and from Nollywood, such as P-Square and Kenneth Okonkwo, have supported presidential candidate Peter Obi, popular with Nigerian youth.

But not all music from Nigeria in 2022 has an electoral or political bias.

Featured Stars: Kizz Daniel and Asake

2022 It is the year of “Buga”, a viral hit by singer-songwriter Kizz Daniel whose choreography has been danced in public by personalities such as George Weah, President of Liberia.

Daniel did not stop there. He added “Cough” to an already spectacular body of work. “Buga” and “Cough” highlight the artist’s mastery when it comes to applying phrases from the entire West African coast to achieve pan-African effects. Buga is a Yoruba term that means “flaunt what you have”.

Undoubtedly, 2022 It’s also the year of breakout artist Asake, whose hit “Terminator” is reminiscent of the Hollywood movie of the same name. Asake demonstrates to what extent the afrobeat it is transartistic and transnational. While abroad, some of Nigeria’s leading presidential candidates posted videos of themselves dancing or working out to “Organise,” Asake’s fan-favorite song.

The “Queen of afrobeat”, Tiwa Savage, 42, teamed up with Asake to release the hit single “Loaded”, in which she talks about her own experience following the leak of a sex tape. The singer Oxlade also triumphed on the airwaves with “Ku lo sa”. Other notable mentions include Ayra Starr’s “Rush” and MohBad’s “Peace,” which deals with unsatisfactory deals with local record labels.

album year

2022 It was also a great year for the stars of afrobeat who sought to cement their legacy with complete works.

Producer and singer-songwriter CKay’s first album as an artist, Sad Romance, contained the song “Love Nwantiti”, which achieved worldwide success and garnered awards. Other celebrated releases include Omah Lay’s Boy Alone, Rema’s Rave and Roses, Fireboy DML’s Playboy, Adekunle Gold’s Catch Me if You Can and Burna Boy’s Love, Damini (the most played album in Nigeria on 2022).

The pioneer of afrobeat Wizkid presented More Love Less Ego in a year that confirmed him as an exceptional artist who increasingly relies more on the freshness that Tems and Ayra Starr give to the genre. There is also, of course, Asake’s debut Mr Money with the Vibe.

embrace rap

There is evidence of the impact of music rap as it becomes more and more integrated into the afrobeat: almost all successful Nigerian rappers have learned how to do music pop.

In 2022duo Show Dem Camp released Palmwine Music Vol. 3. MI Abaga released The Guy and veteran Vector released The Energy Still Lives In Me, invoking the afrobeat as a mirror of the tireless Nigerian spirit.

Topics: face of the future

This impressive year for the music afrobeat it was also the year of the Wakanda Forever soundtrack, featuring CKay, Fireboy DML, Rema, Burna Boy and Tems.

Along with her rendition of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry,” 2022 belongs to the producer and singer of R&B fusion Tems. In Nigeria she won two Headies Awards for her If Orange Was A Place EP and then took the United States by storm, where she bagged a BET Award, Best New Artist at the Soul Train Music Awards, and two American Music Awards. . She is nominated in three categories for the 2023 Grammy Awards. Tems has performed at some of the festivals of music most important on the planet 2022 and is featured on the cover of the winter issue of Dazed Magazine.

Maybe the future of afrobeat not be in own afrobeat. The genre will be progressively inspired by western styles and, in many ways, Tems is an example of this. His association with afrobeat has more to do with her identity as a Nigerian than with the music per se. It reflects the union of the margins of the music Nigerian with an amalgamation of outside influences. Before her, similar artists like Asa and Nneka took her first steps in the international market, but they didn’t have the impact of Tems.

Tems represents a year in which this ecosystem has experienced unprecedented mobility. Some analysts estimate that the United States will end up moving away from afrobeatbut this is irrelevant, since nothing bad is happening to the genre at the moment, and it will continue to be so during 2023.