Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

From Fela Kuti to Tiwa Savage: get acquainted with Afro-pop with these 5 essential albums

As Dubai Afro-pop artist MKO launches his debut album, here are some of the genre's best albums available

P Square perform at the Mawazine music festival in Morocco. AFP
P Square perform at the Mawazine music festival in Morocco. AFP

Afro-pop’s key characteristic is the blending of indigenous African styles with modern western pop sounds. While the genre is meant to encompass artists and musical styles from across the continent, its historical and modern roots remain in Nigeria. Here are five essential albums to kick-start your collection ...

The Best of Black President by Fela Kuti (1999)

Afro-pop is essentially the offshoot of the Afrobeats genre, which Nigerian legend Kuti pioneered from the 1960s to the 1990s. This compilation is the perfect introduction to the artist’s work, whose passion and soul has yet to be rivalled.

Immigrés by Youssou N'Dour (1988)

This is the Senegalese singer at his rawest. The album is an exhilarating collection of songs that finds N’Dour and his tight band, Super Etoile de Dakar, marrying the Senegalese dance style of mbalax with rock riffs and soulful horns.

Game Over by P-Square (2007)

By the time their third album came out, Nigerian pop duo P-Square were comfortable in their own skin. This is the finest distillation of their work, which marries Nigerian melodies and rhythms with western hip-hop and RnB.

Superstar by Wizkid (2011)

The Nigerian singer has achieved what the title of his debut album promised. Superstar contains a fistful of club-bangers such as Tease Me / Bad Guys and Slow Whine (featuring Banky W), which incorporates western RnB with dancehall and reggae.

Sugar Cane by Tiwa Savage (2017)

Sugar Cane is a seven-song primer into Afro-pop’s next star, Tiwa Savage. An accomplished singer and great songwriter, she has penned songs for Babyface and Kat De Luna, for example. This album is an impressive and tight collection of funk, pop and house music tracks that meditate on the various aspects of love.

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Updated: October 7, 2019 04:09 AM

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