Africa: How the 'Beats Conquered the Year of the Plague - and the World


It's the unforgettable year of Covid-19, but 2020 is also when the genre of Afrobeats deepened its global imprint.

First, it acquired its own official chart in the UK.

Second, Afrobeats stars Rema and Fireboy DML and Mr Eazi garnered more international accolades, the first two earning the distinction of featuring on the EA Sports FIFA 21 soundtrack and the latter winning a Latin Grammy alongside Colombian superstar J Balvin.

Third, many Afrobeats megastars - Burna Boy, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Davido, Flavour, Fireboy DML, Mr Eazi, Niniola, Rema, Omah Lay and several more - dropped a flurry of albums, singles and often stunning videos. It is difficult to imagine the logistical hurdles they had to clear to keep productive during a global health crisis. Olamide and Tekno also released impressive bodies of work. Omah Lay arrived on the scene as a refreshing revelation, an unlikely amalgam of blemished youth, de-fanged lust and limpid craving, his voice delicate and vulnerable but wholly convincing.

Naira Marley continued to consolidate his reputation as a veritable lord of the streets, and a master of the sleazy bon mot and double entendre, dishing out a steady stream of risqué hits without missing a beat while...

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