Afropop or Naija music: The copy & paste frenzy at home

The Plot Thickens with Plot Mhako

It’s no doubt that the West African comrades are grinding and they have been grinding for years since the days of Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat to date to create a unique urban sound deep rooted in their traditional music.

Today the Afropop sound is a global phenomenon propelling African music to new heights.

Back home sadly we are still struggling to find ourselves in many ways musical, from pop, gospel, contemporary and traditional.

I must say this clearly, all music borrows from one genre to the other. Acts of appropriation, interpolation, sampling and blatant copy & paste are universal but extremes often attract a repulsive response.

Interestingly in a lot of cases acceptance follows suit.

Coming back home! The likes of Thomas Mapfumo, James Chimombe, Tuku came from a background of Rock imitations but soon found their own footing and created unique music genres whose impact has lived for generations.

Fast forward to a post colonial Zimbabwe, Reggae, Rhumba, Kanindo, Soul, RnB & Gospel gradually filtered through influencing our tastes, preferences, AirPlay and ultimately what the artists produced.

Well this was not an overnight process. The process attracted a lot of rejection and stereotyping.

Yesteryear Dancehall, Hip Hop or RnB artists can attest to this. However through consistent push often times down our throats by the media we started warming up to artists imitating these music genres.

The same pattern is unfolding now with Afropop music. Our artists who often show cravings for anything popping on the mainstream are never slow to pick up have started copying West African sounds, accent and at times the songs but changing text, language and tempo.

Is this wrong? Well it’s not for me to answer now lest I get a bashing. Hell hath no fury like a copycat and I can bear testimony.

I keep asking myself, “are they lazy?” I always want to give SA as an example of a story of success. Both Hip Hop and House music. They adapted it elsewhere but made it their own by creating unique melodies and a vibe that has strong SA traditional influence and going international with it.

I could go on and on but do artists listen or they are deliberately ignorant or like Zimdancehall the audience will finally accept Afropop from home.

Well #theplotthickens

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