Whilst writing about the Nigerian features on Wale’s new album, I also noticed an album review on DJ Booth’s The Plug as written by Yoh.

If you do not know about DJ Booth, I reckon the site is doing a really good job for the hip-hop genre and the articles on their are quite thorough as well as well thought through. However, on this instance, a few comments from the reviewer on tracks 4 and 10 do not seem too right. Then again, the reviewer has done a great job on the insights from the album on a ‘1 Listen Review’.

For track 4′, ‘Fine Girl, the reviewer uses  ‘Afrobeats/dancehall’ to describe the vibe he gets from the song. This again, places Wizkid, who his featured on that song, as an ‘Afrobeats’ act. For emphasis, Major Lazer and British female act ‘Dua Lipa’ are also on this song and their genres are far from the alluded ‘Afrobeats’ which does not still seem like the definition of the new Nigerian sound championed by D’Banj, Wiz and co.

However, the continued misnaming of the genre they do has had a lot to do with the vibe coming out of the media, perhaps, especially from the UK scene where this has been used a lot. There is only really ‘Afrobeat‘ (even the Wikipedia page for this definition needs to be corrected. How are Timaya or 2Baba, Afrobeat musicians when their sound is closer to reggae?) and that is the genre of music started by Fela and unless these new artistes are doing the same, then it is ‘Afrobeat’, otherwise there is really nothing like ‘Afrobeats’.

For track 10, the reviewer uses ‘dancehall/Carribean’ to describe the vibes ‘Egbon’ Wale entered on the song. That is allowed but it is pretty much not clear how Wale can enter those vibes with a Davido and an Olamide on the song? Kolewerk! Yoh . But let’s even say ‘Egbon’ went into those vibes, the reviewer alludes to the crossover of hip-hop into the island music culture. Is Nigeria an island or now part of the Caribbean? Hip-hop has been banging here Yoh, ask Migos, who by the way went the route of saying Nigerians spoke bad English and calling the country ‘Third World’ (topic for another article).

Davido and Olamide add more flavour to a song laced with influence from the islands. I like what this song embodies, showing more crossover of hip-hop into the island music culture.

– Yoh

Yoh then also goes on to say that the rise of ‘Afrobeats’ and resurgence of dancehall is real. Bro, ‘Afrobeats’ again? Davido’s music is infused with elements of local Nigerian music including ‘Afrobeat’ without the s a la highlife, juju and then with a hip-hop influece. This is a bit far away from dancehall. Per Olamide, he is firstly an indigenous rapper, comfortable in rapping in his ‘lingua franca’ and that has helped his acclaim as the ‘Voice of the Streets’. His music is also infused with a lot of local Yoruba music, including highlife, juju, and also ‘Afrobeat’.

This ‘Afrobeat’ allusion is not entirely the reviewer’s fault. Nigerian acts do really need to define what they do and stick to it. The Nigerian media as well, does need to also help define this. Picture grime and you picture London. It is hard to picture ‘Afrobeats’ and Nigeria together. It is more London than Lagos.


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