The Thin Line Between Afrobeat and Dancehall

You may wonder how could two music genres as Afrobeat and Dancehall which are from totally different backgrounds have similarities but a close look at this would reveal to you the line between two genres is so thin.

Afrobeat and Dancehall are two different music genres that originated from two different continents: Afrobeat was invented in Nigeria by late music icon, Fela Anikulapo Kuti in the late 1960s and according to some sources, was created out of a Nigerian music genre named Highlife, Jazz and Calypso. A number of artistes as the offspring of the Afrobeat legend, Femi Kuti, D’banj, Wizkid and Airboy still do this genre of music today. On the other hand, Dancehall is popularly believed to be a music genre with Reggae roots. It emanated from Jamaica and has been in existence since the 1970s. There are thousands of artistes who do the music genre nowadays but the pioneers include but not limited to Jaimacan dancahall legends, Shabba Ranks and Bennie Man.

As dissimilar as they may seem, in actuality, these two different music genres have two major similarities that make them sound alike. One similarity is the use of brass instruments as sax, trumpets and harmonica which are a set of instruments commonly played in the production process of Afrobeat and Dancehall records. The second similarity is the heavy bassline which is achieved by the use of drums and keyboards. These instruments give the two sounds a very groovy and banging feel with the drums creating an up-tempo beat.

While the belief that Dancehall is derived from Reggae may be true, I strongly believe Afrobeat, had some sort of influence on the Jamaican-born music genre because of the way they sound and the very similar qualities they share.


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