Nonny’S Afrobeat Report
Another month has been and gone, so it must mean only one thing: another dose of Afrobeats news and opinion coming live and direct from my pretty little cranium. Admittedly, this column is a week overdue, but the world of Afrobeats has been so active this month that I’ve had to increase my already ridiculous caffeine intake to keep up...
Last month saw DJ Abrantee respond to the backlash from his now infamous Guardian interview. Afrikan Boy and Dotstar took to their social networks to announce their forthcoming collaboration, 'Alhajis With Nairas'. Not ones to be left out in the cold, south London’s S.A.S. hooked up with a couple of fellow Nigerians, Ikechukwu and Antoine Stone, for 'London To Lagos'. Currently the golden boy of Nigerian rap, and one of my hot Afrobeats acts for 2012, Ice Prince (pictured above) flew into our great capital to perform to a jam-packed Indigo O2.
Less than a week later, Flavour N’abania and Davido also hit up the Indigo O2 ahead of Valentine’s Day for 'Nigerian Kings Of Comedy', before Davido and crew set off on a UK-wide tour. Besides getting the chance to catch up with both Ice Prince and Davido, I had a great in-depth chat with east London’s popular Afrobeats DJ, Neptizzle – which you’ll be able to read soon here on MTV’s The Wrap Up. All in all, the past month and a half has been another great testament to the rise of Afrobeats outside of the continent.
We all know, or are at least beginning to realise, that African music is not exclusively for Africans and forget that even many British-based Africans have struggled to get to grips with the music from back home, but that’s all changing now. The beats, the vocals, the style and performance travel beyond any perceived language barrier. Why? Because it’s simply good music. Consequently, the growing popularity of Afrobeats in the clubs, on the radio and most of all its acceptance in the UK urban mainstream has meant that I now find myself answering questions about the scene on a regular basis.
For all of you Afrobeats newbies out there, I have put together a survival guide for you. Read and learn:
1. Get familiar with the biggest artists in the game: You’ll need to know your D’Banj from your Sarkodie. Imagine professing your love for hip-hop and being oblivious to the existence of Jay-Z, Kanye West or even Rick Ross – it’s just not possible. Also, don’t forget to take a peep at the emerging acts, either.
2. Learn some vocab: Even though you don’t need to be fluent in an African language, it wouldn’t do any harm to add words like 'Oshe' and 'Chai' to your Afrobeats vocab – it’s kinda like what 'Brap' is to grime. They’re a starting point but, I promise, you’ll learn the rest along the way.
3. Dance! Dance! Dance! Stamina is key: If you’re planning on hitting the dancefloor, please remember that Afrobeats is as active as UK funky and bashment. So if you’re lazy or unfit, you might need to sit this one out.
4. Leave the two-step at home: Practice your 'Yahooze', 'Azonto', 'Oliver Twist' and the rest. YouTube has a host of how-to videos to get you started. Wall-hugging or the two-stepping are not permitted.
5. Keep up to date with what’s going on in the scene: Read this column regularly and you will be just fine! Ha!
Well, that’s it for another month. Try out the tips in the survival guide and keep your eyes peeled on the Afrobeats world. If you can’t wait until March, make sure you check me out on Twitter and Tumblr, where I natter on about this amazing scene.
Words: Nonny Orakwue (@MisssN)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)