HomeEntertainmentMusicRotimi speaks on his role of bringing Afrobeats to the United States

    Rotimi speaks on his role of bringing Afrobeats to the United States

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    American-Nigerian singer and actor Rotimi speaks on his role in bringing Afrobeats to the United States.

    While appearing on the 85 South Show Podcast, Rotimi spoke on his rise and how he contributed to the popularity of Afrobeats in the United States.

    According to Rotimi, he was the first artist to popularize Afrobeats-styled music in the United States before theAfrobeats to the World movement started gaining momentum through international collaboration.

    Rotimi who blends RnB elements with Afrobeats recalled bringing his single ‘Love Riddim’ to the radio stations in 2018 and it was not well received because of its Afrobeats influences.

    “I remember bringing ‘Love Riddim’ to the radio stations in 2018 and the program director was like ‘This is not good’. They didn’t even understand it and this was before Wiz (Wizkid) got the record with Drake,” Rotimi narrates. “I can comfortably say I brought Afrobeats to America,” he added.

    While Rotimi contributed to the popularity of Afrobeats in the US, especially in the early days of its exportation, many observers will disagree with his claims that he brought Afrobeats to America.

    In 2015, Nigerian-American singer Ayo Jay scored a hit single with the Afrobeats record ‘Your Number’ which is the first Afrobeats song to appear on the Billboard R&B/Airplay chart without a collaboration. The single produced by Melvitto is also the first Afrobeats song to receive an RIAA gold certification.

    Similarly, Drake‘s ‘One Dance’ on which he featured Wizkid was released in 2016 and predated Rotimi’s ‘Love Riddim’. Also, Wizkid‘s ‘Come Closer’ featuring Drake was released in 2017 two years before Rotimi released ‘Love Riddim’.

    Even Davido‘s 2017 hit singles ‘If’ and ‘Fall’ both enjoyed some success in the United States. Afrobeats superstars 2Baba, P-Square, and D’banj all featured American artists such as T Pain, Rick Ross, T.I, Snoop Dogg, and Kanye West which contributed to the early exportation of Nigerian mainstream music to the United States and the United Kingdom.

    During the interview, Rotimi whose father is Yoruba and mother is Igbo shared that he was motivated to infuse Afrobeats into his music to showcase his Nigerian roots.

    Rotimi claims he’s the first artist to bring Afrobeats to the United States (nypost/Brian Zak)

    Rotimi recalled meeting Wizkid in 2012 and having a conversation about the potential of Afrobeats in the next decade. The actor who starred in the American hit TV series ‘Ghost’ shared that while he made RnB music that mirrored the music of the American music star that influenced him, it wasn’t until 2017, 5 years after the conversation with Wizkid that he decided to be himself.

    “It really took me 5 years to really find out what Rotimi was and remember the conversation I had with Wiz in 2012. In 2017, it hit me that I was the definition of African and American. So be the bred of Afrobeats and RnB all in one and that’s when the hit records started happening.”

    Since breaking into the mainstream, Rotimi has continued to explore Afrobeats with his latest effort being ‘Maria’ featuring Mayorkun and South African rapper Nasty C.

    You can watch Rotimi’s full interview on the 85 South Show Podcast below.

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