Heavy, percussive club beats with irresistible hooks and street-wise raps in Yoruba, Igbo or pidgin English—Nigerian pop music, increasingly known by the much-debated term Afrobeats, is the sound that moves Lagos and the sound of Lagos that moves the world. But it wasn’t always this way! Starting in the early 1990s, a new musical movement was born in Nigeria. Ten years into a series of military dictatorships that almost completely destroyed the Nigerian music industry, artists including Junior & Pretty, the Remedies and Plantashun Boiz brought a new, youth-centric style drawing heavily on r&b, hip-hop and reggae, with plenty of local style. Twenty years later, this music has exploded from the margins to the Nigerian mainstream and grown into an international pop music phenomenon, spreading across the African continent and influencing U.S. and U.K. tastes. Musical, political, cultural, technological and economic developments have turned the sound of Lagos pop music into a massive industry of artists, labels, radio and television stations, video directors, PR firms and more. We’ll hear the story of the birth and development of this scene straight from the influential and foundational figures who lived it, including 2Face Idibia (2 Baba), DJ Jimmy Jatt, Sound Sultan, Eedris Abdulkareem, and Kenny Ogungbe of the legendary Kennis Music label and Ray Power FM. We will also hear from current stars including Iyanya, Yemi Alade, Adekunle Gold and Flavour, visit Clarence Peter’s music video studio, and hear from the producers who define the sound, including Young John, Ikon and Cobhams Asuquo.
Produced by Morgan Greenstreet. Hosted by Siji Awoyinka.