Afro Beets is the hottest new musical genre on the planet.
Just kidding, Afro Beets is not a genre. And neither is Afro Beats, the rather silly name coined by some UK radio dj to hype his show that seems to have stuck. What we really have here is Electronic Pop and Dance music from West Africa, specifically Hiplife and modern Highlife from Ghana, and Naija Jams from Nigeria (with a touch of Coupe Decale from the Ivory Coast and South African House for good measure).
The term “Afro Beats” has the most tenuous of links to its reference – Ice Prince has not much to do, musically, thematically, anything-cally, with Fela Kuti. About the only link between “Afro Beats” and the Afro-Funk/Soul/Rock of the 1970s, what is known as Afro Beat, is the same place of origin. While the differences are many: 70s Afro Beat was of course Funk and Blues based, while these new styles use beats related to Afro-House and Reggaeton, bass-lines from Highlife and Rumba, vocals a mix of local styles and Jamaican Dancehall and American R’n’B/Rap, with healthy doses of techno-rave energy. While 1970s Afrobeat often spread conscious political messages which passionately spoke of social realities and the struggle against oppression, these new forms of pop music deliver an entirely hedonistic message which passionately speak about glamour, escape, sex, and money.
Purist of both the musical and political variety, please let go of your seriousness and get with the serious boogie. To the “Drum Machines Have No Soul” type i say don’t forget that the 70s musicians you worship all embraced the latest technologies and sounds of their day. To people who take issue with the materialism this music espouses, from a dj thoroughly dedicated to anti-capitalism: dance music, with its anarchic celebration of pleasure and wanton disregard for the law, is always in essence, if not on the surface, anti-authoritarian; and partying, even in these bleak times, can still be an insurrectionary activity, disruptive of hum-drum consumerist routine.
But whatever. Love it or leave it. And whatever we call it, if it even is an “it”, the sweet grooves and irresistible hooks of this action packed music is not only the perfect summer party soundtrack, but simply the most uninhibited fun your money can buy, anywhere.
Though of course this download is free
P.S. Track 21, called Azonto Decale, is by the Focus Allstars, a pan-African musical force which grew out of the Focus Organization. If you are in London they do proper events (next one tomorrow Friday 21 of June): ymlp.com/ziZL7k
01 Artquake – Alanta Instrumental Intro
02 P-Square – Trowey!
03 J Martins ft. Fally Ipupa – Jupa Global Remix
04 Nhyiraba Kojo ft. Sammy – Baba God
05 Ghana Blast – Odwa (Raggao)
06 Obour ft. Morris She & Batman – Konkonti Baa
07 Unknown – Unknown
08 FBS ft. Tinny – Oldman Boogey Remix
09 Bradez & Ephraim – Ego Bee
10 X-Pensive Nframa – Aunty Adoley
11 Baby Jet – African Woman
12 Side 1 – One By One
13 Ruff n Smooth ft. S.K. Blinks – Azingele
14 Bigiano – Eyin’ Temi
15 Ephraim – Follow Follow
16 Stay J – Shashee Wowo (Kaxtro Remix)
17 D’banj – Oliver Twist
18 D’banj – Oliver Twist (Uhuru Remix)
19 Edem – Over Again
20 Joey B, Gary, and E.L. – Ice Cream Girl
21 Focus Allstars – Azonto Decale
22 P-Square – Danger
23 AQ – Wahala Dey
24 Sarkodie ft. E.L. – U Go Kill Me
25 Obumpa Rek, Austine B. Agaspa – U Go Kill Me Version
26 Olamide – First of All
27 Dr. Slim ft. Double – Seke (prod. by Eyoh Soundboy)
28 E.L. – Obuu Mo
29 Blaka – Tozo
30 E.L. ft. Appietus & Geelex – Bend Ya Body
31 Guru ft. Edja – Lapas Toyota
32 Guantoa – Asore Party
33 Double – Walai Talai
34 Unknown – K
35 Double 5.5 – Uhm Ahh
36 Dee Moneey – Kpokpo O Body
37 T.I.V. – Beremole
38 Lil Shaker – Pressure Sorrr
39 Kojo Antwi – Osebo