THE RISE OF AFRO-SWING AND ITS INFLUENCE ON NIGERIA’S MUSIC
BY EMMANUEL CHIDERA AMOKE
Afro-swing, as coined by London newcomer Kojo Funds, is a relatively new music genre that originated in the UK in the 2010s. It combines elements of Afrobeats, British electronic music, UK rap, and Jamaican Dancehall, resulting in a unique sound that is instantly recognizable. Often slower in tempo than traditional Afrobeats, Afro-swing has a laid-back vibe that’s perfect for chilling out.
Afro-swing emerged from the UK underground music as a sound that is both radio-friendly and appealing to a diverse range of listeners. The infectious catchiness of Afro-swing can be found in its rap hooks, which flow easily over a versatile interlace of the Caribbean and Afrobeats. Its melodic nature appeals to an audience who, for example, may find the aggressive delivery and syncopation of Grime too overwhelming and prefer something more rhythmic than traditional bars.
The lyrics in Afro-swing songs cover a wide range of topics, from relationships to party culture and personal experiences. There’s a strong emphasis on storytelling and wordplay.
In the Nigerian music scene, Afro-swing is stamping its presence, taking the grit of the London streets and the cultural sounds from Africa and Jamaica elevating it to new heights.
Prominent Nigerian artists have experimented this genre, including your favorites Davido, Wizkid and Burna Boy, particularly in their collaborations with UK rappers. Notable tracks in this category include “Real Life” by Burna Boy featuring Stormzy, “Naija Man” by Loski featuring Davido, and “Longtime” by Wizkid featuring Skepta. What sets these tracks apart, aside from its fusion of genres, is its incorporation of slangs, punchy lyrics, and gritty storytelling elements. It features melodic sing-song rap flows, catchy hooks, and memorable choruses.
Other mainstream Nigerian songs in this genre are “Afro Highlife” by Fireboy, “This Year” by Jaywon, “Good Woman,” “My Sweetie,” and “Doings” by Flavour, “Selense” and “Osondu” by Cavemen, “Family Issues” by Tekno, and more.
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