By now music lovers everywhere know what afrobeats is, what it sounds like and what it represents. Afrobeats stars like Davido and WizKid have signed global record deals, rap stars are adding afrobeats vibes on their tracks, even Ed Sheeran has collaborated with afrobeats stars and says his latest album was inspired by the genre.
Afrobeats is generating major buzz and seems poised for an international breakthrough, with artists as diverse as Rihanna, Drake, Alicia Keys, Jidenna, Chris Brown, Sean Paul and Tory Lanez embracing the style. Afrobeats –not to be confused with the “Afrobeat” of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti – is a high-octane mash-up of Jamaican dancehall, soca, Hip-Hop and African rhythms, the latest fruit of a century of musical dialogue and exchange between Africa, The Caribbean and America.
The result is a kind of pan-African EDM that is filling dance-floors and influencing artists worldwide. Drake’s “One Dance,” probably the #1 summer anthem of 2016 features an Afrobeats groove with Afrobeats star WizKid on the track. Alicia Keys’ “In Common” single bites the style and had an Afrobeats re-mix (her husband Swizz Beatz is reportedly a fan of the style).
Wizkid’s new single “African Bad Gyal” features Chris Brown. Go to a trendy Caribbean party in New York or Miami and chances are Afrobeats will be in the mix.
Next week also see’s a compilation called AFROBEATS HOT HITS: NEW URBAN DANCE GROOVES FROM AFRICA, the first U.S. released compilation of Afrobeats, with tracks by such major stars as Davido, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Timaya, Yemi Alade, Tekno, Wande Coal and other as well as up-and-coming hit-makers Rayce, Falz and Seyi Shay; most Afrobeats stars are from Nigeria or Ghana but American and Caribbean artists are getting in the act.
America has often looked to the UK for musical inspiration and currently the young millennial generation in Britain is one that have been brought up on Hip-Hop, dancehall, jungle, grime and more thanks to the Internet. Afrobeats energy and vibe is not just taking over charts and influencing the new sounds worldwide, it’s also making African youth across Europe staunchly proud of their heritage.
In the UK, the big name on everyone’s lips is a young 22 year old man who goes by the name J HUS.
J Hus image – Olivia Rose.
It’s hard to label him a rap, grime, afrobeats star, as his music sound is totally unique, and encompasses his various cultural influences, and really represents what British youth are into right now. East London-born musician J Hus’ story and music personifies what it is to grow up as a young person in a British city in 2017.
Born Momodou Jallow and brought up by his single parent mother, J Hus is one of the hottest propositions in British music today.
An ambitious and impatient young man, Hus – the J after his surname, the Hus short for Hustler – was born into a Gambian family where his ears were filled with everything from Fela Kuti and Youssou N’Dour to 50 Cent, Wiley and Jay Z.
Known for his brilliant blend of African instrumentation and dancehall melodies, teamed with rough and rugged raps and sweet singsong choruses, he is in the running for the annual Mercury Music Prize this month and his single Did You See has just gone platinum. Check the video already surpassing 36million views! Also check out the French Montana remix of the same song.
A nomination for Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards 2015 and his inclusion on the prestigious long-list for the 2016 BBC Sound Poll are both prime examples of the recognition Hus has received from fans and media alike.
J Hus – Image Olivia Rose.
His music truly reflects how big African sounds, combined with other UK cultural influences, have unequivocally become the sound and experiences of British millennials today.
With a chequered past, including a spell in prison, and once being stabbed five times with a knife incident, turned all the more notorious after he posted a photo of himself making gang signs from his hospital bed – that post was quickly deleted but not before he was demonised in the tabloid press.
Now he is on the verge of international recognition as one of the music stars of 2017.
Hear what he had to say to me on Channel 4 News about his debut album ‘’Common Sense’’, being influenced by big American music names, embracing African pop culture, his past experiences with knife crime, rap music being held responsible for violence and his story here.