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The Rise of Afrobeats

1 hour
First broadcast:
Sunday 22 January 2012

1Xtra's DJ Edu explains all about Afrobeats, the fast emerging African music genre. Featuring leading Afrobeats artists including 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, Sway, Sean Paul, Estelle 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.

Music Played

14 items
  • Image for Skepta

    Skepta Punch His Face

    Boy Better Know

  • Image for Atumpan

    Atumpan The Thing

    Sunset Productions

  • Image for Cabo Snoop

    Cabo Snoop Windek

  • Image for D Double E

    D Double E Bluku Bluku (feat. Dizzee Rascal)

    Dirtee Skank

  • Image for Tyga

    Tyga Rack City

    Careless World, Young Money/Cash Money/Universal Republi

  • Image for Fally Ipupa

    Fally Ipupa Sexy Dance (feat. Krys Obouo)

    Because Music

  • Image for Ice Prince

    Ice Prince Oleku

  • Image for Skepta

    Skepta Sweet Mother

    White Label

  • Image for Prince Nico Mbarga & Rocafil Jazz
  • Image for Various Artists & Wayne Wonder

    Various Artists & Wayne Wonder Dancehall Classics: Diwali Riddim Medley

    Xtravaganza Recordings

  • Image for Stylo G

    Stylo G Call Me A Naija (feat. Sneakbo)

  • Image for Fantasia

    Fantasia Free Yourself (David Harness & Charles Spencer Afro Mix)

    Free Yourself, J Records, 1

  • Image for Donae'o

    Donae'o African Warrior

    Zephron Entertainment

  • Image for Donae'o

    Donae'o Move To Da Gyal Dem (feat. Sarkodie)


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