The Rise of Afrobeats

Over the last few years, no other style of music has emerged out of Africa quite like Afrobeats has, gaining global recognition and infiltrating Western charts with almighty force.

Drawing from a huge range of sounds including hip-hop, reggae, soca and dancehall, Afrobeats influence is growing stronger and stronger with some of last year’s biggest hits borrowing from the genre.

The name Afrobeats is said to have been originally coined by DJ Abrantee in 2011, and the movement has been building up steam ever since. Back in 2016, the One Africa Music Fest in Brooklyn featured the likes of Jidenna, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage and Don Jazzy amongst others, selling out a 15,000 seat arena.

Not only was it remarkable for having an all-African bill with an all-African team of promoters, the success meant that organiser Paul Okoyes was able to turn this into a brand in its own right with huge shows in Houston, London, New York and Dubai.

Afrobeat vs Afrobeats

What a difference an ‘s’ makes. Whilst Afrobeats is taking over the charts and clubs, there’s an undercurrent of musicologists and music journalists who are taking exception to the use of the name, in that’s too similar in name to the original Afrobeat genre without sharing many of the same hallmarks.

Pioneered by Fela Kuti from the late 1960s in order to stand out from American soul music, Afrobeat took hold of Western funk and jazz influences and combined them with complex rhythm sections and chanted vocals to create a brand new sound that took Nigeria by storm.

Kuti’s interests in politics and social justice in the early 70s came across in his music, and as a result, a lot of Afrobeat recordings can be considered to be confrontational and controversial in style.

A typical Afrobeat band could include anything from 10 to 30 musicians, including vocalists, guitars and brass but with an extensive percussion section. Pounding drums underpin Afrobeat’s four-to-the-floor feel while traditional percussion instruments such as congas, claves and Gbedu drums add intersecting rhythms and groove.

While Afrobeat’s wider influence was only hampered by geography, with record distribution and touring limiting further exposure, it still managed to break into the mainstream thanks to the likes of Brian Eno and David Byrne, with Talking Heads taking on influences on their Remain In Light album.

The Modern Day Sound

Fast forward to the 21st century and Afrobeats is the hot new sound emerging out of Nigeria and Ghana, following in the footsteps of Afrobeat but with a very different sound and message.

Driving drums still form the foundations of Afrobeats, but the congas and djembes heard in Fela Kuti’s are more likely to be replaced with electric drum kits, drum machines or 808s, showing how modern technology is essential to this new style.

Whilst Afrobeat would focus more on the need for change against political corruption, Afrobeats’ message is driven towards positivity and pride in modern African culture. Fuse ODG, one of the most prominent faces of the Afrobeats scene, captures this in his T.I.N.A. movement, standing for This Is New Africa.

This promotion of a more positive view of Africa has helped to fuel Afrobeats’ growth, as has the ease at which young fans can access new music.

Worldwide Explosion

The barriers and borders which once limited artists from hitting new audiences have been broken down thanks to social media and digital platforms such as Spotify, SoundCloud and even YouTube allowing new young African artists to find fans.

What was once a niche genre restricted by geography has exploded onto the worldwide scene, with new producers and singers able to catch the attention of major labels and work their way into the usually closed-off world of Western radio stations. Once the major labels caught wind of the sound they were quick to jump on board. Artists such as Dua Lipa, Rihanna and Drake have been incorporating the hallmark rhythms and melodies of Afrobeats into their own music.

Afrobeats Samples from Prime Loops

Producing your own Afrobeats music has never been easier with Prime Loops. We’ve a whole heap of new Afrobeats sample packs for you to play around with and make some awesome tracks.

SHEESH: Kolo Afrobeats

With over 380MB of fresh Afrobeats-infused melodies and rhythms, SHEESH will help bring the sunshine to your production. With over 230 loops and one-shots, including basslines, chord loops, percussion and uplifting vocal parts you don’t want to miss.

Listen Here

BOOCH: Deep Afro Beats

Floating Tropical synth melodies and atmospheric chord stabs meet with Afrobeat percussion and deep Basslines to create genre-defying sounds tied together with a modern, Future-style production aesthetic that gels everything together and keeps everything right up-to-date! Over 400mb of killer loops and samples.

Listen Here


Listen Here

This fresh Afrobeats sample pack fuses trap-tinted Pop with afro-inspired Chords, Melodies and Rhythms, including ultra-melodic Marimba patterns, topped-up with pitched vocal loops and so much more! With sounds inspired by Wizkid, David, J Hus, D’Banj and more…

Related Articles

  • The Legend of Technics 1200’s

    The Legend of Technics 1200’s

    Way back in October, 1972, The Matsushita Electric Company, better known as Panasonic, launched the SL1200 turntable under their Technics brand. This was the second in their new range; the first being

    Read More 2
  • The Legend Of The Amen Break

    The Legend Of The Amen Break

    It’s a spring day in 1969, a band named ‘The Winstons’ are tirelessly working away in a studio in Atlanta, Georgia. They’ve just cut their new single ‘Color Him Father’ and are struggling

    Read More 2
  • Gear Love: Akai MPC

    Gear Love: Akai MPC

    Introduced by AKAI in 1988, the MPC series delivered a pioneering and intuitive piece of digital equipment that would go on to revolutionize electronic music, and, in particular, Hip Hop. Developi

    Read More 2
  • How To Go Lo-Fi With Tape

    How To Go Lo-Fi With Tape

    In the age of Lo-Fi Hip Hops’ burgeoning popularity, it has become de-rigeur in modern day production, in multiple genres, to achieve a sound that has a more real-world, gritty aesthetic as a direct

    Read More 2
  • Gear Love: The Beardytron 5000 MKII

    Gear Love: The Beardytron 5000 MKII

    The Beardytron 5000 MKII is the brainchild of multi-vocalist, musician and beatboxer Darren Alexander Foreman, aka Beardyman. Having started out his live performances in cafes using guitar looping ped

    Read More 2
  • The Legend of Mini Moog

    The Legend of Mini Moog

    Created by Moog Music and released in 1970, the Minimoog was one of the first portable synthesizers to hit the market, became an instant classic and has gone on to change music forever! The Birth

    Read More 2
  • Bizarre: Circuit Bending

    Bizarre: Circuit Bending

    This week we’re looking into the creative world of Circuit-Bending, an experimental and innovative world involving the customisation of the circuits within electronic devices to create new musical o

    Read More 2
  • The Legend of Prophet-5

    The Legend of Prophet-5

    The Prophet-5 is up there with the Minimoog as one of the all-time timeless synths... Released in 1978 after being developed by Dave Smith and John Bowen at Sequential Circuits, the Prophet-5 was

    Read More 2
  • Bizarre: The Octobass

    Bizarre: The Octobass

    We’re back again with our foray into the world of lesser-known, undiscovered and sometimes bizarre instruments that we’ve scoured the archives for. We hope that these brief glances into the more u

    Read More 2
  • 5 Production Tips to Boost Creativity

    5 Production Tips to Boost Creativity

    It’s all too easy to get caught in a routine when being creative; going through the motions that you’ve ingrained into your process can suck the creativity from your session fast. Drawing for the

    Read More 2