The emergence of streaming service has allowed African artistes to earn more visibility and introduce their songs to other parts of the world. Recognizing this development, Billboard has dedicated its latest special edition to Africa, celebrating the vibrant and rhythmic beats that the continent has produced. Davido, Tiwa Savage, and Mr. Eazi are the artistes who graced the cover page of the special issue.
The special edition gives credit to renowned collaborations with artists like Drake’s “One Dance” featuring Wizkid and albums like Beyoncé-curated ‘The Lion King: The Gift’ which featured numerous African artistes.
“The three major-label groups; Warner, Universal, and Sony; have all ramped up their investments in Africa in the past few years: opening offices, sending A&R scouts to major sub-hubs and forming joint ventures and partnerships,” the feature reads.
“[Africa] has also originated as a particular wellspring of talent, appreciation to celebrities like Davido, Tiwa Savage, and Mr. Eazi…[highlighting] just how many possibilities await African talent,” the feature added.
Speaking of the significance of African music, Davido shared with Billboard that the feeling listeners derived from the Afrobeat is remarkable, which has given the African music scene more prominence outside the continent.
“The music is awesome. The feeling you get from Afrobeats and African music is just exceptional,” he said. “When I was in school in America and I play African music, people would come to me, ‘Yo, what’s that? That shit’s hard.’”
“They didn’t understand the lyrics of the artist, but the feeling they got [from the music] was just mind-blowing. People have always enjoyed African music, but we didn’t have the right channels to go global. Then, you actually had to have an African friend or come to Africa to experience it,” he added.
African artistes continue to give Africa sound prominence with several international performances. The world is certainly taking notice now, even though there have been mainstream African artistes in the past like Angelique Kidjo and Fela Kuti.
The cover stars have played notable roles to put African music on the map. Davido’s “Fall” set a record in Billboard history as the longest-charting Nigerian pop, while Mr. Eazi, an independent artiste performed at Coachella Music and Arts Festival in 2019. On the other hand, Tiwa Savage won the “Best African Act” category at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards, becoming the first female winner at that.
Currently, people are still being misguided about Africa. And despite the positive side of the continent flooding the internet, they still choose to live on the negative side. All three artistes say they have experienced such cruelty one way or the other.
“It was a lot worse before when people thought we lived in a tree. That was a huge misconception,” Tiwa said.
“But it’s already changing as the world revolves and people see pictures via social media when they visit places like Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Nothing beats that experience when somebody actually set feet in Africa. Although, it depends where in Africa because it’s a continent and not a country.”