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FunTimes Magazine

King of Afrobeats? Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa Music Tussle

Dec 28, 2023 10:00AM ● By Oluwadamilola Akindolire, Additional reporting by Burns Johnson

In the vast and evolving terrain of African music, Afrobeats has emerged as the heavyweight champion and firmly entrenched itself in the hearts of music enthusiasts globally. Nigeria being the birthplace of Afrobeats has showcased stars like RemaBurna BoyWizkidDavidoAsake, Ayra Starr, Tems, and other artists who have proven over time that Afrobeats is one music genre that has a solid leading stand. This has proven Afrobeats’ dominance amongst other African music genres like Makossa, Amapiano, Ethio-jazz, Congolese Rumba, Bongo Flava, Bantu Music and many more.

Billboard released its top 10 Afrobeats Artists of 2023 and Nigerian artists took nine spots leaving only one spot for Libianca, a Cameroonian and American singer, these artists also claimed the top 10 Afrobeats songs of 2023 with songs like Calm Down, Rush, Amapiano, Unavailable, People and City Boy. Afrobeats is giving world domination in 2024 but there is quite a bit of music tussle amongst some African countries especially on Amapiano and Afrobeats origin. 

Ghana, through the Ministry of Information in a stakeholder meeting with top music executives, has called for the cancellation of foreign music being played in TV and radio stations, clubs, lounges, hotels, and other public places to foster and promote their songs. This development is primarily targeted at reducing or canceling Afrobeats, which is Nigeria's genre. Earlier this month, Spotify and Apple Music released the ten most streamed songs in Ghana, and they were all Afrobeats songs from Nigerian musicians. These charts by these music streaming platforms have caused a stir or small "vawulence" on X and TikTok among music lovers and fans of both countries (Ghana and Nigeria) defending their favorites. 


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Amapiano isn’t left out in the tussle as it has been under stress lately over the new ownership of this music genre. As you all know, it is always Nigeria versus... This time, it is Nigeria vs. South Africa. South Africans are accusing Nigerians of invading their music space and claiming Amapiano as a Nigerian music genre. In the crossfire of this banter, concerned Nigerians are saying that Amapiano is made up of 95% instrumentals and 5% vocals, but the Nigerian version of Amapiano or Afrobeat-Amapiano has a balance of vocals and instrumentals. What broke the camel's back was when Nigerians said they had made Amapiano sound better than it used to. Nigerians believe they should receive the accolades because the Amapiano music genre wasn’t given the global recognition it deserved until they infused it into their songs while South Africans believe since it’s from them they deserve the accolades.

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Beyond the music tussle, catchy tunes, and danceable beats, Afrobeats is a cultural force. It serves as a memoir of the African experience, reflecting the resilience, joy, and diversity of Africa as a continent. These music genres have paved the way for various dance challenges on TikTok between Black people and other races. Afrobeats artists have had the opportunity to perform in important global events like the World Cup (Davido), King Charles Coronation (Tiwa Savage), and Ballon d’Or Awards (Rema). Artists like Burna Boy, Wizkid, Rema, Davido, Sarkodie, Olamide, Asake, Adekunle Gold, Tiwa Savage, Ayra Starr, Tems have headlined shows and sold out arenas and stadiums in places like the Netherlands, New York, Sweden, Paris, Dallas, Miami, Portugal, London, Denmark, Montreal and a host of other places. 

African artists are giving the continent the recognition it deserves with not only the 2024 Grammy Nominations but also a new award category for “Best African Music Performance”. Burna Boy (Nigeria), Davido (Nigeria), Tyla (South Africa), Olamide (Nigeria), Asake (Nigeria), Ayra Starr (Nigeria), Rayvanny (Tanzania), S2kizzy (Tanzania), Fireboy (Nigeria), Ckay (Nigeria), Vik Sohonie (Somalia), and Tems (Nigeria) have all earned their Grammy Nominations. These nominations aren’t just a reward for their talent and hard work but also a showcase of Africa to the world.

In the spirit of friendly competition, the music tussle is not about determining a winner but enjoying the unique contributions of each country. Whoever turns out to win the King of Afrobeats or Amapiano tussle is sure to put Africa more on the map globally.

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