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Afrobeats Music Growth and the Gate-Keeping Debate

Afrobeats music has been taking the world by storm in recent years, and one of the most exciting developments has been the rise of collaborations between Afrobeats musicians and their foreign counterparts. We’re talking big names like Drake, Beyoncé, and Justin Bieber getting in on the action!

One of the earlier Afrobeats collaborations is Wizkid’s smash hit “Come Closer” featuring Drake, which set the stage for an explosion of exciting cross-cultural collaborations. Afrobeats fans around the world were buzzing with excitement and anticipation, hoping that these collaborations would help spread the genre even further across the globe.

afrobeats music tems
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 26: Tems poses in the press room during the 2022 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images For BET)

Afrobeats has become a global phenomenon, and it’s no surprise that artists like Tems, Burna boy, and Wizkid are taking the music world by storm. Their incredible talent has captured the attention of music lovers worldwide, but not everyone is celebrating their success.

Some Nigerians are worried that their beloved Afrobeats music may be hijacked by outsiders who may not understand the essence of the genre. The influx of foreign musicians into the Afrobeats scene has sparked a lively debate in Nigeria, with some embracing the diversity, while others are wary of cultural appropriation.

On the one hand, many Nigerians view the trend as a sign of progress, believing that it is a reflection of the growing global appeal of their culture and music. On the other hand, there is also a fear that the culture will be co-opted and that Nigerian musicians will be pushed out of the spotlight.

On Monday, February 20, 2023, American Singer/Rapper Russ dropped a sneak peek of his upcoming Afro-beats single, and it’s causing a stir! Some fans are worried that Russ, who doesn’t have Nigerian heritage, might appropriate the genre if he doesn’t incorporate the essential features of Afrobeats or collaborate with Nigerian artists.

@joeyakan on Twitter

In response to this concern, Nigerian music lovers are firing back, arguing that many Nigerian artists, such as MI and Olamide, have been successful in Hip-hop/Rap without being accused of cultural appropriation or being forced out of the genre.

The Afrobeats industry is on the brink of a major shift that could either elevate it to new heights or lead to its downfall. As the doors open wider to outside influence, there’s a chance that many people will flock to the genre in search of a piece of the lucrative pie.

This could create a “gold rush” mentality where opportunistic individuals exploit the genre for personal gain, only to discard it when it’s no longer profitable. A perfect case in point would be the dancehall and reggae genres, which were once wildly popular but have now been left behind in the race for music supremacy.

The stakes are high, and the fate of Afrobeats rests on whether it can withstand the onslaught of greedy exploiters or continue to thrive as a genre that’s true to its roots. It’s a controversial topic that has the music world buzzing, but one thing’s for sure, Afrobeats is an irresistible sound that continues to captivate audiences worldwide.

We cannot gate-keep Afrobeats. This genre has become so big that it’s now popular worldwide. In fact, most Afrobeats artists who’ve transcended the Nigerian market are signed to foreign record labels. Burna Boy with Atlantic and Tems with RCA Records are just a few examples.

It’s crucial that we focus on building a robust infrastructure in Nigeria to support our artists and bring them to a global audience, rather than allowing foreign Labels to take advantage of its potential while dominating the genre. By doing so, Afrobeats can finally achieve its full potential and shine on its own terms, without being overshadowed by outside exploitation.

Thank you for reading our blog on Afrobeats music and the gate-keeping debate. We hope this article has provided you with valuable insights and information on this debate by Afrobeats music lovers!

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