Recently, the global music landscape has witnessed a remarkable phenomenon that has united people all around the world — Afrobeat TikTok hits. With their accompanying dance choreographies, these infectious tunes have broken cultural barriers, fostering a sense of unity while celebrating African music. Read on as we explore the rise of Afrobeat music on TikTok, highlighting its impact in transcending borders and becoming a powerful force in pop culture.
The Afrobeat Revolution
Afrobeat originated in Nigeria in the late 1960s through the experimentation of legendary Fela Kuti and drummer Tony Allen. Influenced by genres such as highlife, fuji, and jùjú, as well as Yoruba vocal traditions and instruments, Afrobeat was born at the intersection of these elements with Kuti’s exposure to jazz during his studies in London.
Kuti’s later U.S. encounter with Sandra Smith, a vocalist, former Black Panther and activist, had a significant impact on the development of his music and worldview. Their exchange of knowledge led Kuti to reevaluate his sound and message, prompting a shift towards African music, plus a new band name — “Africa ’70.” The Afrika Shrine, a club Kuti established, became a breeding ground for the Afrobeat movement, attracting Nigerian youth.
Afrobeat’s essence lies in incorporating native Nigerian harmonies, rhythms, and social criticism to foster political change. While initially confined to African countries, Afrobeat’s influence spread across the continent, with various bands embracing this African popular music. Fast-forward to today, Afrobeat is internationally adored for its infectious rhythms, powerful horn sections, and socially conscious lyrics.
Popular Afrobeat Songs on TikTok
TikTok has given rise to countless viral dance challenges, with Afrobeat tracks taking center stage. Songs like Burna Boy‘s “Ye,” Davido‘s “Fall,” and Wizkid‘s “Essence” have gained tremendous popularity through their viral TikTok dances. These tracks have transcended borders and connected people from diverse backgrounds, as individuals from different countries learn and participate in these dances, creating a global community of Afrobeat enthusiasts.
“Jerusalema” by Master KG
One of the most notable Afrobeat TikTok hits is 2019’s “Jerusalema” by Master KG, featuring Nomcebo Zikode. The song, with its addictive chorus and vibrant dance routine — initially attributed to a group of Angolan friends showing their moves in a candid video — became an instant global phenomenon. Users from all corners of the world, regardless of their cultural background, joined the #JerusalemaChallenge, showcasing their dance moves and spreading joy. It became a symbol of unity and resilience during challenging times, transcending borders and bringing people together in celebration of African music and culture.
“Drogba (Joanna)” by Afro B
Afrobeat TikTok hit “Drogba (Joanna)” by Afro B became a viral sensation due to its irresistible rhythm and catchy lyrics. The song pays homage to Ivorian footballer Didier Drogba and quickly gained popularity on TikTok, inspiring users to create their own dance routines and share them with the world.
“Ye” by Burna Boy
Nigerian artist Burna Boy‘s infectious energy and unique blend of Afrobeat, reggae, and dancehall have captivated audiences worldwide and turned “Ye” into a go-to song for TikTok users. Reaching widespread fame due to coincidentally sharing a name with Kanye West’s 2018 album Ye, the song quickly gained millions of streams in the United States once discovered. Fun fact: apparently, it took producer Phantom only two hours to craft the beat for this extremely catchy song.
The Power of Dance
One of the reasons Afrobeat music has resonated so strongly on TikTok is its inherent connection to dance. African music and dance have always been intertwined, with movement serving as a means of expression and celebration. TikTok’s platform, which emphasizes visual engagement, perfectly complements Afrobeat music’s vibrant and energetic nature. With Afro dances like the Kupe, Pilolo and Ena, plus countless Afrobeat classes now offered around the world, people of all ages and backgrounds have found a common language to connect and celebrate together.
Fostering Cultural Exchange
Beyond the catchy tunes and dance moves, Afrobeat TikTok hits have fostered a remarkable sense of cultural exchange. Artists like Drake, Beyoncé, and GoldLink have been featuring Afrobeat elements in their music, and TikTok users from around the world, regardless of their background, are embracing African popular music and exploring its rich heritage. This exchange of cultures promotes understanding, appreciation, and respect for African traditions, ultimately breaking down barriers and promoting unity.
Driving Discoverability and Streaming
The impact of Afrobeat TikTok hits extends beyond the realm of social media, propelling many artists to new heights of global recognition. Master KG gained over a million followers just after the breakthrough of his “Jerusalema” hit, which also saw countless covers performed around the world with various instruments and in a multitude of languages, each attracting their own popularity on YouTube and TikTok.
Wizkid’s “Essence” featuring Tems, CKay‘s “Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah)” and Fireboy DML‘s “Peru,” were other TikTok Afrobeat songs that yielded serious success stories for their artists. Streaming platforms like Deezer have also experienced a surge in the popularity of Afrobeat music, with users actively seeking out Afrobeat playlists, exploring the depths of African popular music, and discovering new artists to add to their playlists.
Afrobeat TikTok hits have undeniably broken cultural barriers and brought people from different parts of the world together. TikTok’s viral nature has provided a global platform for Afrobeat artists, propelling their music to new heights and enabling cultural exchange on an unprecedented scale. We suggest you grab your phone, put on a TikTok Afro Hits playlist, and let the rhythms take you on a journey of celebration and unity that knows no borders!
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