Highsnobiety

From the pulsating beats of Afrobeats to the smooth, rhythmic flows of Amapiano, these sounds have taken the music industry by storm, have reshaped our listening habits, reshuffled our playlists and got us to add some much needed moves on the dance floors.

The music video platform Vevo reported that its entire catalog of music videos for Amapiano and Afrobeats saw nearly 4 Billion global views last year alone. 4 Billion, and these two genres are showing no signs of slowing down.

But what exactly is Afrobeats?

It all started off in the 1960s with Nigerian legend Fela Kuti and the birth of Afrobeat, a genre which fuses American jazz and funk with West African musical styles like Fuji, a Nigerian genre linked to Ramadan traditions, and Highlife, a Ghanaian genre known for its jazzy horns and multiple guitars.

Recently, Afrobeat evolved into Afrobeats, becoming the new sound of Africa.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Tiktok.

Artists like Rema, Wizkid, Burna Boy, and Davido are at the forefront, pushing boundaries and creating hits that resonate far beyond the African continent.

Take Rema’s “Calm Down” featuring Selena Gomez, for instance. This track alone has amassed a staggering 564 million views on YouTube. It’s a perfect example of how Afrobeats has crossed over into mainstream pop, attracting collaborations with global superstars.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Tiktok.

The genre's infectious rhythms and multicultural lyrics have proven to have a universal appeal, making it a must-have genre on playlists worldwide.

Piano Piano Amapiano

While Afrobeats has been establishing its legacy for years now and is mainly propelled by the thriving and well-established Nigerian music industry, Amapiano is the fresh, new sound making waves in the mainstream.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this YouTube video.

Originating from the townships of South Africa, this genre has become a way for young black South Africans to express their frustrations, create new narratives, and form their own identity thorugh music.

Amapiano blends house, jazz, and Afrobeats into a unique, laid-back groove. It features smooth piano melodies, high-pitched percussions, deep melodic basslines, and the thumping beats of techno. Despite having a sort of brooding atmospheres and gritty beats, the jazzy chord progressions and layered drum beats create anticipation, tension, and a soft release into dancing melodies that set the dancefloor into a frenzy but can also be perfect for more relaxed listening sessions.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Tiktok.

Amapiano borrows from the past but fiercely looks into the future. Artists like DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small, and Focalistic are leading the charge, creating tracks that are both innovative and deeply rooted in African musical traditions.

Insights from Vevo

To delve deeper into the explosive growth of these Amapiano and Afrobeats, we spoke with Vevo's Music & Talent Manager, Jodeci Chin Rampasard.

When asked why we are witnessing such growth in Afrobeats and Amapiano, she explained, "Afrobeats and Amapiano have been rising to the top for a while. A huge crossover moment happened when commercial and mainstream artists began collaborating with leading artists from those markets. Viral hits like Chris Brown and Davido’s ‘Blow My Mind’ and Ed Sheeran and Fireboy DML’s ‘Peru’ broke the charts, making a huge impact on the sound's global footprint."

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this YouTube video.

Jodeci also highlighted the role of social media in propelling these genres. "Social media has been instrumental in pushing out and curating global moments. On TikTok, we’ve seen genres like Amapiano driven by viral dance trends. Dance trends like Tyler ICU’s ‘Mnike’ and Tito M & Yuppe’s ‘Tshwala Bam’ are key examples. Users learn dance challenges and repost their versions, building a hub of new content around one track."

Artist Highlights and Cross-Genre Collaborations

Several artists are leading the way in bringing Afrobeats and Amapiano to a global audience. Rema, Kizz Daniel, Davido, and Tyla are just a few names making waves. For instance, Chris Brown’s “Sensational” featuring Davido and Lojay reached 38 million global views on YouTube, showcasing the value of cross-genre collaborations in connecting global audiences.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this YouTube video.

Cultural Impact and Global Recognition

The rise of Afrobeats and Amapiano is not just about numbers though but also, and most importantly, it’s about their cultural impact.

These music genres celebrate African identity, creativity, and resilience. They bring African stories, experiences, and perspectives to the forefront, challenging stereotypes and redefining narratives.

2024 marked a significant milestone with the introduction of the Best African Music Performance award at the Grammys for example. This recognition is a testament to the global influence and importance of these genres in the music industry.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this YouTube video.

"I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface on how Afrobeats and Amapiano can grow. While we’ve already seen incredible growth in viewership, nearly 4 billion global views in 2023 alone, there are still so many different avenues and directions that haven’t been explored yet," Jodeci tells us.

The rise of Afrobeats and Amapiano marks a pivotal moment in the global music scene. These genres have not only introduced us to new rhythms and sounds but have also enriched our cultural and linguistic landscape.

We are all witness to an exhilarating musical revolution unfold.

New Amapiano & Afrobeats Artists to listen to this summer

As these genres continue to rise, here are ten up-and-coming Afrobeats and Amapiano artists you need to listen to this summer:

Bloody Civilian

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this YouTube video.

Hailing from Abuja, Nigeria, Emoseh Khamofu aka Bloody Civilian is a singer signed to 0207 Def Jam, a UK arm of Def Jam Records. Known for her raw lyrics and dynamic performances, from her debut single How To Kill A Man to her soundtracking of Wake Up for Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Bloody Civilian's lyric, composition and track are written and produced by her with the overarching intention of paying homage to her homeland.

Shallipopi

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this YouTube video.

From viral tiktok songs, to gaining a mainstream breakthrough with the release of his debut single "Elon Musk" in January 2023, to creating his own record label Plutomania Records, Shallipopi's energetic stage presence and UK-inspired Afrobeats and Amapiano sounds will have him in our summer playlists for years to come.

Zinoleesky

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this YouTube video.

Blending Afrobeats with street vibes, Zinoleesky is quickly becoming a favorite among fans all over the world. A guranteed ear-worm in any playlist this summer.

Uncle Waffles

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this YouTube video.

The "princess of Amapiano", Uncle Waffles is another viral sensation in this list.

In just two years, from 2021 to 2023 the DJ known as Uncle Waffles has transformed her life. She started behind the turntables while learing how to play during the Covid lockdown, she then shared a video of her dancing to Young Stunna’s song “Adiwele” and went viral after Drake shared it on Instagram, catapulting her into stardom.

A dream-like situation for any aspiring artist, but don't mistake this quick virality for just being lucky. Uncle Waffles has incredible shows, and is one of the most talented artists in the world of Amapiano today. The future is bright for her.

Musa Keys

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this YouTube video.

His smooth melodies and innovative beats make Musa Keys a standout in Amapiano and afropop. With just 3 years under his belt as artist, and with over half a million listeners on Spotify, Musa Keys' future is bright and he is already a mainstay in our summer playlists.

DBN Gogo

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this YouTube video.

A powerhouse in Amapiano, DBN Gogo’s tracks are just simply perfect for any summer playlist.

Check out this set and you'll understand why.

Want to keep browsing? Head to Highsnobiety Culture for the latest on cultural news, or check out our guide on summer airport outfits. Download the Highsnobiety app to stay up to date on the go.

We Recommend
  • Forget Rap Beef — Who Wears the Style Crown, Drake or Kendrick Lamar?
    • Style
  • TikTok Songs We Can't Get Out Of Our Heads
    • Culture
  • Kendrick Lamar's Discography Can't Be Touched
    • Culture
  • The 15 Best J. Cole Songs To Celebrate Hip-Hop
    • Culture
  • 29 of Beyoncé's Best Songs for Any Given Day
    • Culture
What To Read Next
  • Fashion's Game of Musical Chairs Heats Up
    • Style
  • Nike's Olympic Basketball Sneaker Is an Instant Collector's Item
    • Sneakers
  • PUMA’s Gloriously Fuzzy Sneaker Is a Work of Art (Literally)
    • Sneakers
  • Kith and Team USA Are The True Dream Team
    • Style
  • Luxury Jewelry’s New Big Three: David Yurman Taps NBA Style Savants For Its Latest Campaign
    • Style
    • sponsored
  • Mizuno's Hand-Dyed Sneaker Is a Feat of Japanese Craftsmanship
    • Sneakers

Web Accessibility Statement

Titel Media GmbH (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titel Media GmbH strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titel Media GmbH tests, remediates and maintains the Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Disclaimer

Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.