For so long, African artists have struggled to penetrate the global music market even after heavy collaborations with american artists as the land of the free has for many years been atop the music food chain.
But in recent years, African music has had a tremendous breakthrough in it’s international musical exploits as Afro has risen to the summit of global music consumption with 2019 proving to be the year of Africa with the likes of Burna Boy and Davido taking the whole world by storm as they have enjoyed global success and South African artists like Nasty C, Kwesta, Shane Eagle and AKA have also penetrated the American music market with their rare breed of music which seems to appeal to the American audience.
Having witnessed African music progress in recent times, i had to dig deep and find out exactly why Africa has climbed to the top of the music mountain now and not in the previous years. The solid conclusion was “Global mass consumption of sad music.”
It is no secret that this is a depressed generation and as a music journalist/analyst, i have observed that due to this fact, there has been an increased consumption of “Sad Music” in an effort to cope with the depression. Now, one would say this is not true but when you look closely at how people listen to the likes of Adele, Taylor Swift, Phora, Witt Lowrey, J. Cole, 6lack just to mention a few, you will realize that this might just be true. Even music that doesn’t have sad lyrics has a sad tone or sad delivery, for example “Mumble Rap.”
Unlike the rest of the world, African music brings in a happy vibe that makes you wanna grove and forget your problems. One might argue that most South African artists that have penetrated the global market don’t have such a vibe. Yes they don’t, they have something else the rest of the world has forgotten about and that’s lyrical content. South African hip hop artists still rock punchlines and the mainstream music audience doesn’t have that anymore, so its only right that they tap into the rainbow nation for what they are missing from their own artists, and that’s what has catapulted us to the global market.
By Kelvin ‘Repro’ Mtambo