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It seems Nigerian music listeners and the media over the years have not been able to understand the clear distinction between the Hip hop and afro-pop genre. Basically, these two genres have different root and content. In order to understand the difference between these two genres, one has to be able to give its clear background, few Artistes and its content. The Afro pop is more of the Indigenous sound and it usually in simple and interesting beat in which most Africans can dance and relate with. One can’t really give the specific creator of Afro pop but this music has been sung and performed as far as the existence of African music and has turned into part of our culture. Some analysts believe that it evolved from Fela’s style of afro beat. For decades, it has been recognised as African Tradition music but top African Artiste looked for a better way of repackaging their sound and making it sound more understandable to the new Africa and even beyond the continent. The genre has evolved to an era where foreign languages are fused to African sound and beat. Drake and Wizkid has shown that in ‘’One dance’’ bringing in different sounds and making it a single product. It is so ironical how the African pop style has influenced genres like the Caribbean music in the years.
Hip hop made its own root among Young Black American boys who were using it as a powerful medium of protest against some irresponsible act by the government particularly the Police. Hip hop has been so interesting especially among Black folks that more creative actions were introduced into it like Rap, Break dance, Graffiti, Djing percussion and few honourable mentions. The act of Emceeing (also rapping) requires use of rhyme, rhythm, figurative expression in accompaniment with the beat in African-American way. One cannot over emphasize the element of African sound in Hip hop. Later on in the 90’s, fans still wanted more from the Hip hop sound and we witnessed style like Gangster Rap with the likes of the Tupaq, Ice Cube, Eazy E; the Emo rap(based on emotion), Trap and many more. The bottom line to all these is that every region of the world has its own rap style and uniqueness. Take for example, the kind of United Kingdom Hip hop sound is more of the grime/dub style influenced by Jamaican migrant. If you listen to guys the likes of Stormzy, Skepta, Giggs; they are Hip hop Artiste but is more of the grime sound. 

Basically, Nigerians don’t do the grime style at all but a recent Nigerian song that has the element of grime for better understanding is Dj consequence and Ycee ‘’In a Benz’’ single. Just in the case of Grime and Hip hop, the Afro popular has also adopted the Hip hop sound and generated itself into a world class music. Just like the slight overlap in RnB and Rap, there has also been the same situation in Afro pop and Hip hop. These two important sounds have different cultures and the difference which can be noticeable. While Hip hop deals with the cypher, the Breakdance, Graffiti; the Afro pop will deal with the indigenous dance, the drum beat and Cultural values in music videos sometimes. Even with all these, there has still been limited difference between these two genres in the ears of some Nigerian music lover. Over a decade, we have seen some Hip hop Artiste transcend into the Afro pop sound, making Hip hop sociable even for everyone on the Street and we have happily accepted such tracks like M.I’s ‘’Bullion Van’’, Olamide’s ‘’Durosoke’’,Phyno’s ‘’Abulo’’ and countless more.  In relation to what I stated at the early stage of the write-up that Hip hop, especially, Rap contains rhythm, rhyme, play of words, lyrical content and more importantly, a message. Hip hop does not give a precise format like if there should be a chorus or be a particular beat to follow, NO!!…..It specifically wants artiste to express their clear mind to listeners in words and the best way of doing that is by serving listeners with the style they want to listen to.


Nigerian Hip hop became mainstream during the early 2000’s and was used to treat satirical issues during this period in the country with few honourable mentions like Mode 9, Ruggedman, Shasha, Terry tha Rapman. It was believed that anything hit track released by any secular artiste during that period is Hip hop; funny right? It is just like seeing 2004 2face’s ‘’Face 2 Face’’ album and calling it Hip hop album even though he applies some slight Hip hop elements in his work. It has become so evident that Hip hop and Afro pop are genres that work together in the Nigerian music industry but listeners need to learn best on how to decipher between the genres. Afro pop is a culture, Hip hop is another culture; two different sound mix to make a united sound even in African music.

By Ogunleye Oluwakorede
About Me  
Ogunleye Oluwakorede writes majorly on entertainment, history and socio-economic matters. He has previously released works like album reviews and content information. He is also a music critic and analyst particularly on Nigerian music entertainment.
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Twitter: horluwakorex_
Whatsapp: 08144651530


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