Chart host celebrates genre’s ‘beautiful year’
If you needed proof that Afrobeats has firmly established itself in Western pop culture, Eddie Kadi thinks he has it.
“I saw Burna Boy having a conversation with Elton John recently,” he says.
Once upon a time, it might have been surprising to see the star of the West African genre chatting with British pop royalty.
But Eddie, who hosts the UK’s first Offical Afrobeats Chart Show for 12 months, isn’t so shocked.
“It’s been a really big year for Afrobeats,” he says. “The growth, the sound that has penetrated the whole world.”
The genre – a mix of African and Western influences – has seen a massive increase in popularity over the past few years, with songs steadily moving into the mainstream.
Burna Boy and Wizkid, two of Nigeria’s biggest stars, have headlined some of the world’s biggest music festivals and both won Grammys in 2021.
And some of the biggest names in music, like Beyonce and Drake, have featured Afrobeats artists on their albums, too.
Burna Boy, who has dominated the Afrobeats charts since its launch, is the star child.
His recent hit Last Last spent 13 consecutive weeks at number one – the longest time allowed before a track fell from the top spot.
He has also worked with big names like Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, Jorja Smith and rapper Dave.
“Everyone has seen Burna’s rise transcend the Nigerian West African sound to the British sound,” says Eddie.
“And more importantly, he got to go around the world waving the Afrobeats flag.”
Last Last is among 11 tracks to enter the Top 100 and Top 40 on the Official UK Singles Chart, both peaking in the top 5.
It was boosted to No. 1 overall by Fireboy DML’s Peru with Ed Sheeran, the top performing track based on UK streams and sales.
“Whether it’s new or established artists breaking new barriers around the world, selling venues, stadiums, collaborating with other artists, it’s just wonderful to see the growth,” says Eddie.
“Especially here in the UK where we also have at least four Afrobeats songs on the official charts.”
Eddie prepares to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Official Afrobeats Chart Show later on BBC Radio 1Xtra.
And he hopes that the second year will be even more exciting.
“Collaborations for me are going to get crazier and crazier,” Eddie says, thinking back to Burna Boy’s conversation with Elton John.
“Wouldn’t we like to see that kind of collaboration too?”
“I see it getting bigger and bigger and a new generation taking it over.
“I always thought music was going to happen here – it was about people being privileged to catch up with this music.”
You can catch the official UK Afrobeats chart show and anniversary special at 3.00pm BST on Sunday 25th September on BBC Radio 1Xtra or listen after on BBC Sounds.
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