The UK’s first ever official Afrobeats chart launched on July 21. A special launch show for the new chart will be held on BBC Radio 1Xtra. The launch will be held on this coming Sunday (July 26). The official chart will then be revealed on every Sunday at 2pm.
The UK’s official Top 20 Afrobeats artists of the past 12 months has been shared to launch the new chart. The chart featured Africa’s finest like Burna Boy, D’banj, J Hus, Young T & Bugsey, Tiwa Savage, Wizkid and many more.
It must be noted that the ‘s’ in the word ‘Afrobeats’ is crucial. The Afrobeat genre was spearheaded back in the late 1960s by the Nigerian artist Fela Kuti.
But ‘Afrobeats’ was a result of the 2010s musical movement out of Nigeria with a completely different sound. Afrobeats’ highest peak was when Drake featured Wizkid on his 2016’s song ‘One Dance’. Although the song was more dancehall and UK funky house themed, it shone a light on Wizkid’s music. This also meant a spotlight on the music genre he thrives on.
”The chart was much-needed and long overdue” said Mark Strippel, 1Xtra’s head of programmes.
As the genere is dominated by male artists, Manchester-born Ezi Emela is one of several female singers marking their territory. She said “I can see Afrobeats becoming the world’s biggest musical genre soon.” She also added saying that her sounds have grown so much since moved back to Africa.
Folabi Ogonkoya, who runs CocoCure – a venue dedicated to the genre, has been putting on Afrobeats nights in the UK for 13 years. He believes London is the home of Afrobeats outside of Africa.
More and more Europe based artists are coming back to Africa to refine their techniques. Fuse ODG who is from London is another artist who got his musical identity after returning to Ghana. They say that coming back to Africa makes them reconnect with the Afrobeats culture.