From West Africa to the West Indies, the sounds that preserve the history of these regions remain an undeniable influence in pop music. Whether it’s Ed Sheeran’s “Shape Of You,” or most recently Drake’s “Signs,” pop artists continue to look to the rhythms sewn within Afrobeats and Dancehall to cook up that feel-good hit. With the summer season underway, the dance-floor ready vibes continue to pour from some of our favorite musicians, especially when those stateside link up with the rising pioneers of the aforementioned genres.
The pairing of North American artists and singers setting trends from Africa or the Caribbean makes for a pleasing clash of two different cultures as we’ve seen with Drake and Wizkid (“Come Closer”), Wale, DaVido and Olamide’s (“Fine Girl”), Kranium and Tory Lanez (“We Can”) and most recently, R. Kelly remixed DaVido’s smash hit “If” which is currently in the Top 50 on the Billboard charts. The vibrant song is accompanied by a captivating visual, one that continues to paint the picture of DaVido’s musically-influenced background.
Just as important as the artists who amplify these sounds are the instrumentalists who provide the beats that connect U.S. listeners to regions overseas. To commemorate Black Music Month, seven producers who’ve worked with Jason Derulo, Kranium, French Montana, Drake, Wizkid, Wale, and Omarion discuss how they promote the sounds of Afrobeats and Dancehall, and the genres’ future.