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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Afrobeats: Nigeria’s Hope For The Grammy Awards

The 62nd edition of the Grammy awards was held on the January 26, 2020. Of Interest to majority of Africans and Music critics worldwide was the Best World Music Album Category with the nomination of Burna Boy again in 2021. For last year’s award (2020), that category featured two African artistes, Angelique Kidjo and Afrobeats star Burna Boy. Angelina Kidjo representing the older generation of artistes was nominated for her album “Celia” while Burna boy was nominated for his fourth album “African Giant”. This year (2021), Burna Boy is nominated again based on his “Twice As Tall” album.

Prior to the nomination of Burna Boy who happens to be the first contemporary Nigerian artiste to be nominated, Femi Kuti was nominated in 2003, 2010, 2012 and 2014 while Seun Kuti was nominated in 2019.

The Nomination of Burna Boy was especially met with wide acclaim and support being the first Contemporary and home based Nigerian artiste to ever be nominated for the award. The success of his third Album “Outside” served as a pointer to the exceptional talent of Burna Boy and the international break out plan of his management team especially after the font controversy which followed his Coachella 2018 performance where he vehemently opposed the use of small fonts to write his name in the event banner.

A lot of Nigerian Artistes have yearned and promised to bring home the Grammy Award to the West African Country. Pop Star, 9ice who won a MOBO in 2009 had promised to bring home the award in his hit single “Street Credibility” released in 2008. Other Nigerian Artistes and Afrobeats stars have also made similar promises.

The wide spread success of the Drake single “One Dance” featuring Kyla and Wizkid which influenced the global acceptance of contemporary Afrobeats made critics to submit that Ayodeji Balogun popularly known as Wizkid was Nigeria’s biggest chance at clinching the Grammy Award. Ever since the release of One Dance, a lot of Nigerian Artistes have been infiltrating the American market and the global scene. Artistes like Tekno and Tiwa Savage penned deals with Universal music, Burna Boy with Atlantic records and Wizkid and Davido with RCA.

Wizkid STFOS (Sounds from the Other Side) project featured artistes like Trey Songz, TyDolla Sign, Major Lazer and Chris brown. Davido’s A Good Time album had Chris Brown on Blow My Mind, Gunna , Summer Walker and A boogie with the hoodie while Burna Boy had songs with Future, YG, Jorja Smith, Jeremih and Damian Marley on African Giant.

These projects released within the last 3 years have projected the continued efforts of Nigerian Superstars to break into the American market through collaborations with American/International acts as well as exploring sounds like Reggaeton, Afrobeats, Carribean/Latina sounds and Trap while also staying original by dishing out distinct Afro beats Offerings.

The deals signed by these artistes to International labels have also helped in this pursuit as well as support from major International Stars and Media Houses who have done interviews as well as hosted live sessions of Davido, Burna boy and Wizkid. These Media houses include YouTube Music, Apple Music, Audio Mack , Vevo among others.

Several acts like Tyga, Alicia Keys, Drake, Future, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, R Kelly, Cardi B, Migos, Wale, Rick Ross, Dej Loaf, Jorja Smith, Beyonce, Rihanna and a host of other international acts have also shown love to these acts by vibing to their songs on Social media as Rihanna did with Burna’s Boy “Ye”. Some even go as far as doing covers and remixes for some top afro beats songs as seen in the case of covers made for Davido’s “Fall” by Cardi B, Busta Rhymes and Tory Lanes, Davido’s If by R Kelly and Wizkid’s Ojuelegba remix by Drake and Skepta.

Beyonce dropped a major Afrobeats themed album for the Lion King Movie titled “The Gift” in 2019 and the album featured a number of artistes including Mr Eazi, Yemi Alade, Tekno, Burna Boy and the smash hit single featuring Wizkid titled “Brown Skin Girl”.

Wizkid featured on Young Jeezy’s album alongside Trey songz. He also featured on Gold link, Skepta, Rkelly, Zara Larsson, Wale, Metro Boomin and Tinie Tempah albums. Burna Boy on the other hand featured on Dave’s album, Jorja Smith album, Stormzy, Major Lazer, Fall Out Boys, Jhus and Lily Allen ‘s albums too while Davido also scored major features on Quavo’s, Chris Brown, Russ, and A Boogie with the Hoodie albums. All these collaborations took place in the last four years.

Major international shows across the world have witnessed performances from these three artistes including the highly Rated Coachella as well as selling out of the 02 arena in Britain by Davido and Wizkid. From shows in Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, Malaysia, Sweden to shows in countries like Haiti, Portugal, Phillipines, Cyprus among others being sold out or almost sold out, these stars have showcased an amazing star power and gained global relevance and acceptance.

With over a 100 million views and streams and fans across the globe, these artistes represent the will power and enormous talents of the black man and with the right exposure and management, Afrobeats and African music will take over the world soonest.

Even though Burna Boy lost the Grammy awards to Angelique Kidjo, all eyes are on these mega stars and their next projects and collaborations. The Grammy nod shows indeed the world is listening and it’s only a matter of time and delivering of all round better content by these artistes bring the Grammy award home to Nigeria.

The 63rd Grammys Award will be held on the 14th of March 2021 and we look forward to Burna Boy clinching the first ever Grammy Award for a Nigerian Artiste as he is nominated in the Global Music Album Category.

Olaoluwa Idowu
Olaoluwa Idowu
Olaoluwa Idowu a.k.a Iamsynord is an entertainment lawyer, writer and music enthusiast. He enjoys anything relating to the entertainment industry and he is an advocate for the dissemination of intellectual property knowledge to creatives across Africa.

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