The Nigerian Afrobeat sound is at the moment the biggest musical sound across the globe at the moment sweeping across the globe inducting new fans and lovers of the sounds on a daily basis with more and more contemporary Nigerian singers/artistes shattering records at will.
Once upon a time reggae music was the biggest sound across the world, due to the exploits of Bob Marley, Lucky Dube, but those days are long gone now as the world is hooked on the Afrobeat flavour dished out by Nigerian singers like Burna Boy, Davido, Wizkid, Ckay, Fireboy, Olamide, and this global recognition didn’t start with this generation of singers, some people came before them and laid the foundation for this success, those who can be credited as the pioneers of the sound. In this class we intend to celebrate and recognise for the hard work they put in from yesteryears, below are our top 10 picks of Afrobeat pioneers deserving of recognition and worth celebrating;
1. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti:
King Olufela Anikulapo-Kuti is credited as the true creator of the Afrobeat sound. The true founding pioneer of this now global genre of music along with his Egypt 80s band. He is the first Nigerian artiste to perform the Afrobeat sound outside of Nigeria, from performing at the Glastonbury show in the 1970s, to performing in Paris and the A.U. Fela is the true King of Afrobeat, who used his sound for activism and acted as the voice of the public.
2. Femi Kuti:
Femi Kuti worked and played in his father’s band, learnt right at the feet of the Afrobeat king. After the death of his father he has maintained his legacy keeping it alive through the continued existence and running of the Afrika Shrine in Ikeja, the annual Felabration, and his different album that has over the years even got him multiple Grammy Nominations.3. Lagbaja:
Bisade Ologunde the famous Nigerian number 1 masquerade musician. A versatile instrumentalist and a multiple dimensional Afrobeat singer who dominated the Nigerian music space in the mid and late 2000s is another that has to be created and celebrated for helping to further push the global recognition and adoption of the Afrobeat sound. It is a known fact that Lagbaja is a huge fan of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, someone who he has described in different forrays as his musical father, mentor, and teacher. Lagbaja once disclosed that he worked with Fela and worked under him learning from him for over 5-years as his band member.READ ALSO: He’s Giving Them High Blood Pressure – Nigerians React As Burna Boy Reaches New Milestone Ahead Of Davido And Wizkid
4. Plantashun Boiz:
The R&B and Afrobeat boys group was including the Afro-Reggae legend 2face Idibia, Black Face, and Faze moved from Enugu, Benin, and finally to Lagos to pursue a career. The group drop several hit songs back in the late 1990s and early 2000s until 2face broke away from the group and went solo. The group is one of the pioneers of the modern Afrobeat and deserves more recognition for their early works.
The once defunct and now reconciled music brother duos were the next group to further take the Nigerian Afrobeat sound global. The are probably the first Nigerian music duo that became a household name across Africa and further took the sound to the American market with works with American rapper Rick Ross and then also to the native American market too. It is impossible to talk about the influence of Afrobeat now with their contribution to the struggle
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6. Sound Sultan And Baba Dee:
Olanrwaju Fasasi and Dare Fasasi are also another Afrobeat, Nigerian Hip-Hop artists. These two might not necessarily be one of the most popular in their contribution to Afrobeat, especially the late Sound Sultan in loving memory gave us classics like Jagbanjatis, Kokose, Bushmeat, and 2010. The talk about the pioneers of Afrobeat in Nigeria is not complete if his name and that of he’s older brother is mentioned.
7. Kennis Music:
The push and platform that the record label Kennis’ Music gave to numerous artiste at the birth of the Nigerian Afrobeat, R&B, and hip-hop brand can never be understated. Artiste music group like the Remedies, Plantashun Boiz, Sound Sultan Olu Maintain, Kelly Handsome, KC Presh who all got the opportunity to sell their sounds through the Kennis Music platform can never be underestimated. They deservedly need to be on this list and for sure they feature for what they did to the Afrobeat sound home and abroad.8. DJ Jimmy Jatt:
Nigeria’s father of Disc jockeyness as a job and musical department in the Nigerian market for Hip-hop and also for Afrobeat. Uncle Jimmy is a living legend.
Eldee and his Trybesmen group stood out, he helped build and design what the underground sounds and standard for what Afrobeat should be. Though he has now retired from music he’s works stay undefeated and it stands to be recognised for where Afrobeat is today.10. Burna Boy:
Finally, Damini Ogulu is the crown jewel to all of the hard work of all of these veterans, he is the one that finally brought the grammy awards. He’s music, sounds and audacity helped put the Afrobeat on the global radar beyond just performing at clubs in America or in the UK. But he isn’t alone in this class, in his generation he has Wizkid, and Davido who they allow seem to be some sort of motivation for each other to help push the Afrobeat/Afrofusion sound global setting the stage and platform for the likes of Tems, CKay, Fireboy, Joeboy, Mr Eazi, Adekunle Gold as we watch on to see who is next amongst this school to bring home the next Grammy award.
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