Culture Music

The Rise of Afrobeats/AfroSwing in the UK

Hey guys, my name is John-Paul. I’m an 18 year old Pharmacy student and I’m a blogger too. This is my first post with Sicka Vision – I hope you like it.

I’m going to discuss how the Afrobeats/Afroswing music genres have become increasingly popular over the last few years. I will talk about 2 artists, discuss new dance crazes and then finally give you guys two of my favourite songs in each genre. Let’s get to it!

Afrobeats and Afroswing music genres have risen very very quickly. One of the mainstream songs that first blew was ‘Ldn City’ by Timbo. I don’t know if you guys remember it but it definitely banged. That “Ayyylelelele” was an iconic phrase that everyone sang. Someone screamed that out in assembly back in my secondary school then got in trouble and caused the year to miss break – Ahh the good days.

Ever since then, Afroswing has continued to grow. We had songs like ‘Fine Wine’ by Yxng Bane and ‘Dem Boy Paigon’ by J hus reach high in the UK charts. These songs are iconic and were at the start of the journey for the Afroswing genre in the UK.

I think one of the sudden bangers that took the country by storm was Vianni’s cover of ‘Recognise’ by PartyNextDoor. Vianni put a whole new twist on the otherwise calm track, which appealed to a completely different audience. In my opinion, this was definitely one of the watershed events in this music trend. More recently we’ve had artists like ZieZie come with his songs ‘Fine Girl’ and ‘Mingle’ with AdeSTP, DaBeatFreaks with ‘Take Over’ ft. Mr Eazi , Seyi Shay and Shakka. This then leads me into the Afrobeats trend…

Songs such as ‘Don’t Dull’, ‘Pakuromo’ and ‘Caro’ by WizKid definitely paved the way for the entry of Afrobeats in the UK. Followed by Davido with ‘Skelewu’ and ‘Aye’, not forgetting Tiwa Savage with ‘Kele Kele’ and ‘Love Me, Love Me, Love Me’. I urge you to listen to these songs then compare them to their recent releases to see if you can hear a difference? Davido’s new songs like ‘If’, ’Fia’ and ’Bum Bum’ and Wizkids ‘Soco’ and ‘Kana’ still have that same African twang. The general trend of Afrobeat sounds hasn’t changed, yet for some reason it has become so much more popular in this country.  The artists are adding European and American sounds to appeal to a wider country BUT are still sticking to their roots which I think is amazing!

I first discovered Burna Boy in 2016 (very late) and it was his song ‘Soke’ that got me interested in his music. Burna Boy is Nigerian and Yoruba so I think maybe the Yoruba aspect (I’m Yoruba too) is what attracted me to his music. ‘Soke’ came out in 2015 so even I discovered it very VERY late. After that, I looked for more albums and songs and just started listening to him. His albums ‘Redemption’ and ‘On a Spaceship’ were the first albums I dived into. Songs like ‘Fa So La Ti Do’, ‘Jealousy’ and ‘Plenty Song’ will always be amongst my favourites. Again, Burna has always had that European twang to some of songs. He is very diverse and is able to branch out whilst bringing out the sound of Nigeria to his music. 

Fast forward to 2018, his album ‘Outside’ is released. The song ‘Ye’ is being played everywhere. ‘Gbona’ and ‘On the Low’ are becoming more popular. Now we have ‘Killin Dem’ and ‘Zangote’ doing bits. I’m just proud of Burna because he’s risen to the top so quickly and has become so successful. He’s made a good name for himself and his music. I’m excited to see what else he has to release this year.

The legendary WizKid is the next artist that I want to talk about. My friends and I were speaking a few months back and we came to the conclusion that WizKid paved the way for Afrobeats in this country. His music changed the whole scene. At least one song from his album ‘Superstar’ was played at every party and all my Yoruba people know that when the songs come on, it’s time to scream the lyrics. I’ve already mentioned one of the old WizKid songs and how they’ve made a big name for themselves so I’m just gonna jump into the recent songs that have done well and my thoughts. WizKid is different. Back in 2016 when he was in ‘One Dance’ with Drake and Kyla, people didn’t even notice when he started singing. However, what I want you guys to take away from this is the fact that WizKid pairing up with Drake opened doors for him. I’m so sure that people that listened to that song in the US, UK and wherever must have liked the section and went to listen to WizKids songs. Then if we fast forward to ‘Come Closer’ (which I didn’t like at first) in which he just consolidated his compatibility with Drake. WizKid is just putting himself out there constantly and not staying in his comfort zone. Same thing with ‘Mamacita’ with Tinie Tempah. Accolades. Another song that WizKid made better was Joanna by AfroB. The remix was even better than the original and the original already banged differently. I expect more songs from him this year. 2019 summer will be the best. 

What I like about Afrobeats as whole is that it accommodates dancers from all around Africa. It brings us closer together. Shaku, Gwara-Gwara, Zanku and many more. Do you guys remember when Alkayida and Azonto were the top two dances? The culture has been here for ages. Personally I wish I could dance but I guess I just have to learn and practice.

This concludes the end of post. I hope you guys enjoyed my views and hopefully you’ve been reminded of some old time bangers. Now as promised I’m going to give you two of my favourite songs in each genre.

Afroswing‘My 9ine‘ – Kojo Funds & ‘Take Over‘ by Seyi Shay, Shakka and Mr Eazi with DaBeatFreaks.

Afrobeats – ‘Pour Me Water‘ by Mr Eazi & Ginger by Sona

Enjoy your week guys & stay blessed 🙏🏿 Let us know your thoughts on twitter @sickavision.

Feature Photo credit: Burna Boy Instagram.

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