Internet outraged as American rapper Russ drops Afrobeats song without African artists
The Afrobeats community is abuzz with the conversation surrounding American rapper Russ and his recently-announced Afrobeats song without any African artists featured. The news shocked many fans, who worry about the potential cultural hijacking of the genre by Western artists. On the other hand, some believe that the global success of Afrobeats’ collaborations with Western musicians proves that the West cannot take credit for the genre.
Africans are understandably protective of their indigenous sound, and rightly so. They question why African artists have achieved international acclaim in the American Hip Hop and RnB scene, but the West is struggling to make the same strides with Afrobeats. Some have even compared Afrobeats to Jamaican Reggae Dancehall, which global audiences have long explored and enjoyed.
The Asian continent, specifically South Korea, has been making waves with Afrobeats songs, which Nigerians have celebrated. The continent spent the entire year of 2021 creating and recreating Afrobeats tracks, which has sparked much interest from fans worldwide. Love Nwantiti by Ckay put South Korea on lockdown, and Rema‘s Calm Down even reached #1 on the first MENA chart, a significant feat.
While some fans are concerned about the possibility of the West taking over Afrobeats, the real issue lies with African icons in the industry. How many Afrobeats festivals are there in Africa outside of Afrochella in Ghana? Why do Afrobeats festivals continue in European countries such as Portugal? African record labels must do more to promote the genre and document the number of tourists that come to Africa for Afrobeats events.
If these issues aren’t addressed, outsiders could easily exploit the genre at the expense of African slothfulness. The Afrobeats community must continue to protect and celebrate their culture and ensure that they control the narrative.
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