The Rise of Afrobeats - 5th Anniversary Edition

Jan 22, 2017, 06:24 PM

The weekend in 2012, the landmark documentary aired on BBC Radio 1Xtra. Since then the industry has gone from strength to strength. From Fuse ODG domination of pop radio, to CEO Dancers and Reggie & Bollie capturing the hearts of Saturday night TV audiences.

Before P Square collaborated with Rick Ross. Before Snoop linked with D'Banj. Before every Urban radio station had an Afrobeats DJ. Before Africa was cool and fashionable again.

5 years later, the legacy continues. Salutes to Mr. Eazi, Burna Boy, Runtown, Bisa Kdei, Silvastone, Moelogo, Tiwa Savage, Tekno and all the other artists keeping the genre alive. Here's to the next five years.

Note: Producer Bernard P Achampong was nominated for Best Music Entertainment Production Award at Radio Production Awards 2013

SYNOPSIS BBC Radio 1Xtra's DJ Edu explains all about Afrobeats - the fast emerging African music genre in 2012. The documentary features D'Banj - Nigerian superstar signed to Kanye West's label, Sarkodie - Ghana's fastest rapper and Black Coffee - the South African House Music legend, plus personal insights from Donae'O, Wretch 32, Sean Paul, Estelle, Sway and Tinchy Stryder.

Over the last eighteen months there has been an Afrobeats explosion in nightclubs and it is also making its way onto our airwaves. What was once a relatively private affair confined to West African weddings seems to have escaped and leaked into the mainstream.

Afrobeats has close relationships with already familiar urban music genres. The UK Funky House scene planted the rhythmic seeds for the exuberant and infectious Afrobeats tribal motifs. It is as if artists like Donae'O and Gracious K were laying down the welcome mat for their older brothers from overseas.

The lyrical foundation of patois and ethnic slang in reggae and dancehall also assisted Afrobeats' former stumbling block - Pidgin and broken English, as well as its many, many individual languages.

There is a wider Afro-Cool cultural movement which covers fashion, film and the arts. Africa has benefited from the heavy investment from China and India and its burgeoning telecommunications industry - Africa has more mobile phone subscribers than Europe.

The effect of a more affluent African continent reflects on Africans closer to home. There has been a rise in African pride and identity - supported by high profile music role models: Tinie Tempah, Dizzee Rascal, Tinchy Stryder, Taio Cruz, Sway, Estelle, Lethal B...the list could continue. Peer successes are influential and dancing to their heritage music is how young British African celebrate their significance.

The Rise and Rise of Afrobeats ties all these strands together in a fun, fast feature which will keep your feet tapping until the very last beat.