From Fela to Burna Boy: A Brief History of Afrobeat and Its Evolution Over Time

In recent years, Afrobeat music has experienced a surge in global popularity, with artists like Burna Boy, WizKid, and Davido cementing their positions in the international music scene. However, the genre’s roots can be traced back to the Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, who pioneered the sound in the 1970s. In this essay, we will delve into the history of Afrobeat, from its origins to its evolution over time.


Origins of Afrobeat

  • Fela Kuti: the father of Afrobeat
  • Born in Abeokuta, Nigeria in 1938
  • Studied music in London and returned to Nigeria in the 1960s to start his music career
  • Blended traditional Nigerian music with jazz and funk influences
  • The birth of Afrobeat
  • Fela’s formation of his band, Africa ’70
  • Hit song “Jeun Ko Ku” (Eat and Die) criticized the Nigerian government and established Fela as a political activist and icon
  • Musical elements of Afrobeat: big band sound, complex polyrhythms, call-and-response vocals, and sociopolitical lyrics

Evolution of Afrobeat

  • Influence on global music
  • Fela’s music and activism inspired artists worldwide
  • Musicians like Paul McCartney and Brian Eno collaborated with Fela
  • International tours and exposure increased Afrobeat’s global influence
  • Second generation of Afrobeat
  • Fela’s sons Femi and Seun Kuti continued their father’s legacy and developed their own styles of Afrobeat
  • Introduction of electronic instruments and modern production techniques
  • Contemporary Afrobeat
  • Artists like Burna Boy, WizKid, and Davido brought Afrobeat into the mainstream
  • Fusion with other genres like hip hop, R&B, and dancehall
  • Increased global visibility through collaborations with international artists

From its beginnings with Fela Kuti to its current global popularity, Afrobeat has undergone significant evolution over time. Nevertheless, the genre’s social and political roots remain at its core, as modern Afrobeat artists continue to address issues of African identity, globalization, and government corruption through their music.

Influencer/Artist/Dancer: Poco Lee

Discover the Perfect Talent for Your Next Project with

Step Back in Time: Book 90’s Hit Makers for Your Event with MyVIPModels!