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Afrobeats gets official chart in the UK

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From Marlians to Wizkid FC, Afrobeats fandoms are contributing to the globalisation of the sound, even if some might consider them overly obsessive. Hence, to celebrate the rise of the genre in the UK and acknowledge its global influence, a new top 20 Chart named Official UK Afrobeats Chart was launched.

The Official UK Afrobeats Chart is a top 20 rundown of the biggest songs in afro-pop music, based on streaming data and sales. Topping the chart is a British rapper, singer, and songwriter with Gambian heritage, Momodou Lamin Jallow, better known professionally as J Hus, with his hit song Must Be.

He is followed closely by Africa Giant crooner, Burna Boy with his 2018 anthem Ye, while the Hackney-based group, NSG are in third place overall. Yung T & Bugsey’s Don’t Rush, which earned viral fame after being used in the popular #DontRushChallenge earlier this year, was named the ‘top Afrobeats track of the year’.

A list of the top artistes over the last 12 months was released on Tuesday, July 21, and the chart will officially launch with a special event on BBC Radio 1Xtra tomorrow, with a range of hosts and special guests.

Popular Nigerian acts on the male-dominated top 20 lists include Wizkid, Rema, Tekno, and Naira Marley among others. French-Malian singer, Aya Nakamura, is one of the women to appear on the list.

Commenting on the development, Kofi ‘Funkz’ Kyei of MOVES Recordings, who was part of the team that created the list told NME, “For too long, Afrobeats artistes have had to work tirelessly to get their voices heard and now African music/Afrobeats is finally being seen as a leading sound that global superstars turn to on a regular basis.

“The Official UK Afrobeats Chart will help open up the culture to new audiences, giving emerging artistes the opportunity to be heard whilst celebrating the sound of a continent that has gone global. Its importance can’t be measured and I look forward to celebrating the biggest and best tracks each and every week,” he added.

Funkz explained that the rise of the genre has also become apparent through sold out arena shows, recent sound clashes, an extension of fandom and much more. He added that the official list would make the culture’s success more quantifiable.

He noted that the launch of the list is a testament to the influence of contemporary music of African origin in the country, and includes artistes from various sub-genres that have seen unique success in the UK.

Last month, over half a million people from 99 countries tuned to No Signal’s livestream for the clash between Wizkid and Vybz Kartel. The clash was the most legendary one that the No Signal team had hosted since they started their DJ clashes in April.

Afrobeats and dancehall lovers were excited to watch the competition – choosing country affiliations in lighthearted fun. Though people had expected fierce competition, as both artistes are megastars with chart topping hits in their own lanes, no one had expected results like the polls reflected. There was an average of 72,000 votes per round and Wizkid won every round defeating Vybz 10 to nil.

Speaking about how stan culture presents itself differently in Afrobeats, A&R manager, Bizzle Osikoya, said: “the fans are there but Afrobeats artistes have struggled to activate a cult following in these fans. Only person right now with a crazy fan base is Wizkid FC. You know Wizkid fans will die for him.”


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