12 Things We Learnt from the 12 Episodes of “Afrobeats: The Backstory”

July 4, 2022

After spending almost 12 hours of my life watching Netflix’s new documentary, Afrobeats: The Backstory, I feel like a walking history textbook and no one can tell me otherwise. Looking to share my wealth of knowledge, here’s some of the hot gist you should know about Afrobeats and the major players behind its success. 

Boy bands are the foundation of Afrobeats 

Three gbosa for Nigerian boy bands! A major takeaway from Afrobeats: The Backstory is how instrumental early boy bands were in creating the sound we know as Afrobeats today. Bands like The Remedies (Eedris Abdulkareem, Eddy Remedy and Tony Tetuila), Plantashun Boiz (Tuface, Blackface and Faze) and The Trybesmen (Eldee, Kaboom and Freestyle). 

Banky W’s Ebute Metta was inspired by 50 Cent, not Rihanna 

Even though Banky’s Ebute Metta was sung over the beat of Rihanna’s 2007 song, Umbrella, Mr Etomi revealed it was 50 Cent who actually inspired the song. Taking a page from the American rapper known for using popular beats to hype his upcoming projects, Banky made a lot of songs that way to hype his Mr. Capable album. But Ebute Metta blew up so much, he shelved the rest. 

Da Trybe’s Oya was the first Nigerian music video to be banned… here’s why

In 2001, ten rappers decided to hop on a track, spitting bars for 30 seconds each. This track ended up being Da Trybe’s hit song, Oya, with verses from Eldee, Sasha, Kaboom, Freestyle, Dr Sid etc. Even though the music video was a game-changer (the first to be shot with a crane), it was banned because the backup dancers were twerking

The people who banned it would probably have a heart attack watching music videos today. 

RECOMMENDED: Gen Zs, Here are the Biggest Nigerian Songs From the Year You Were Born

KC’s Limpopo was initially supposed to feature these American artistes

2012 was the year we couldn’t escape Limpopo no matter how much we tried. Although the song marked a significant turning point in KC’s career, he explained in the documentary that he originally created it with a Chris Brown or Trey Songz feature in mind. I’m so glad that didn’t happen. 

What do Dr Sid and Kaffy have in common?

Before giving us Over the Moon, Pop Champagne and Surulere, Dr Sid was a part of Da Trybe (an upgraded version of The Trybesmen). And before that, he was Da Trybe’s official choreographer and backup dancer. 

He’s not the only one who switched, though. Dj Jimmy Jatt was originally a rapper, and Daddy Showkey used to be a, wait for it, military officer. 

Banky helped Wizkid blow, but he didn’t discover him 

There’s no denying Banky W’s role in creating the star we’ve come to know as Wizkid, or Big Wiz, if you’re nasty. But the late OJB Jezreel was the one Wizkid’s mum handed the young singer to for mentorship. Check out this hilarious story of Wizkid being a good boy, as told by OJB’s wife. 

D1 and Keke Ogungbe were influencers before your IG faves

Before your favourite Instagram influencers started influencing fashion, Dayo “D1” Adeneye and Kenny “Keke” Ogungbe were helping brands like Phat Farm and FUBU sell out their baggy clothes just by wearing them on their show, AIT Jamz. All of this was before they even set up Kennis Music which kicked off the careers of Tony Tetuila, 2face and Eedris Abdulkareem. That’s some boss shit right there. 

Fela himself cleared Weird MC’s Allen Avenue 

While most people today know Weird MC for 2006’s Ijoya, her first album, Simply Weird, came out in 1997. The album’s lead single, Allen Avenue, was inspired by Fela Kuti, whose song, Look and Laugh is sampled on the rap track. The song was ahead of its time, but Fela saw the vision when he cleared her to use his song. How many people can say Fela approved of their music? 

The real OGs of Yoruba and Igbo rap are not who you think they are

For the longest time, Dagrin has been credited as the first Yoruba rap artist who passed on the baton to Olamide. The same thing can be said of Big Lo handing over to Ill Bliss and Phyno. But the documentary shows that before Dagrin, there was Lord of Ajasa, and before Big Lo, Nigga Raw was killing things with Obodo. This is what we should be learning in History class. 

The UK scene greatly influenced today’s Afrobeats 

If there’s one thing Afrobeats: The Backstory showed us, it’s the influence of IJGBs on music culture in Nigeria. While Nigeria-based artists created the sounds, Nigerians returning from the diaspora helped organise and package it. Some of these Nigerians include Obi Asika of Storm Records, Keke and D1 of Kennis Music and even the documentary’s creator/director, Ayo Shonaiya, who managed artists like The Trybesmen and Kwam1. 

Burna Boy rarely refers to his music as “Afrobeats”

Burna Boy’s Ye opened new doors for Afrobeats — all facts, no cap. However, it’s interesting to know that Odogwu calls his music Afro-Fusion, not Afrobeats. Why? According to A&R legend Bizzle Osikoya, Burna Boy believes anything Afrobeat (with or without the “s”) is for the Kuti family. While Fela Kuti is considered the grandfather of Afrobeats, Burna wants to start a legacy of his own with Afro-Fusion.

Shizzi was Wizkid’s producer before he created magic with Davido 

We were introduced to Shizzi when Davido shouted his name on Dami Duro. While they both went on to create an iconic producer-artist relationship with songs like Ekuro, Overseas, Gobe and Skelewu, Davido met Shizzi when he was working on Wizkid’s debut album, Superstar. If you didn’t know, Shizzi is also the brilliant mind behind Wizkid’s show-stopping, Love My Baby

ALSO READ: Shakespeare Has Nothing on Davido and We Have Receipts to Prove It

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

August 4, 2021

Parties are fun and lit right, but there is no way a party is ever complete without taking amazing pictures – and this what TECNO helped the housemates achieve at the first Saturday night party in the Shine Ya Eyes mansion. Housemates after taking out time to look their best on the dance floor, gave […]

February 7, 2020

“Congratulations, you got the job.” comes with its own brand of anxiety. That’s when imposter syndrome from your village people comes out to visit, asking questions like: “can you perform? how long before they discover that you are a fraud?” There are also other problems more work-related with a new 9-5, especially in Nigeria. So, […]

Hollywood conference
July 2, 2022

The 12th edition of ZUFF, Nollywood’s major film festival, raised the question of whether the world’s second-largest film market by the number of films can tap the continent’s huge film-making potential and leverage changing economic and technological realities.

January 6, 2020

2019 saw a lot of defining Nigerian songs — from Rema’s breakout hit, “Dumebi”, to Burna Boy’s Obama-approved “Anybody” — but there were still a lot of great tracks that got overlooked. So, we decided to spotlight 10 songs that deserved to be so much bigger. In no particular order, here they are: 1. Ladipoe’s […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

Recommended Quizzes

how tall are you
March 11, 2020

Did your parents give you enough beans when you were growing up? If they did, then you’re probably around 6’0″ and above. Either way, we created a quiz that can guess your current height (pretty accurately, if we do say so ourselves). Take to see if we nailed it:

November 20, 2019

Last month, we thoughtfully made a quiz telling you guys exactly when you’ll marry, but some of you claimed that your spouse was nowhere to be found. Well, now we’ve created one that’ll tell you exactly who you’ll be dragging down that aisle. Take and start planning that wedding: 11 Quizzes For Nigerians Who Are […]

April 14, 2020

Every friend group consists of very different and specific characters — from the parent to the fun one — and it can be a little tough figuring out where you fall. So, we’ve created a quiz that lets you know exactly what kind of friend you are. Take to find out:

October 29, 2019

We are going to be attempting to guess when you’ll marry based on your favourite Nigerian foods. What does your fave swallow have to do with when you’ll tie the knot? Please, don’t ask complicated questions. This quiz is rigorous and accurate (don’t quote us), so just take it already. QUIZ: Why Do You Have […]

What are you like in a relationship?
February 7, 2020

Your taste in music can say a lot about you, and this time, it’s going to reveal what you are like in a relationship. So, pick a few of your favourite Nigerian love songs, and we’ll let you know if you’re typically a distant, passionate or unbothered partner. Here you go:

More from Pop

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X