Azonto Keeps The Beats Bangin

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(GIF via Art Becomes You)

Got some more Iswayski for ya! Today’s focus is Azonto beats.

The Ghana dance that’s been wildly popular for the past few years continues to result in a lot of good music. The beat that’s generally associated with it is a super dancey and effective pop formula blended with traditional Ga drumming. Who made the first beat is up for debate, but E.L‘s “U Go Kill Me” is what brought it to the masses.

I’m still surprised I don’t hear more of this in US club sets outside of African nights. It’s impossible not to move your body to, has high production standards, and a lot of the lyrics are even in English. Maybe it’s because so few Western artists are producing it? The UK has Fuse ODG bringing it to the Grime crowds and the whole Afrobeats thing is probably helping to spread it over there. But there’s not much of an American counterpart to any of that. Not that any of this matters as a symbol of the sound’s success, I just personally fuck with it and would like to hear more of it.

So let’s go over a few recent tracks that are doing pretty well that I like a lot:

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Nigeria’s P-Square rake in tens of millions of Youtube plays, have worked with Rick Ross and Akon, and make some wikkid music. This new song is really hard to deny. It’s a little on the soft side and it’s got some saxophones (which some of us over here dread) but you can’t front on its deeply satisfying melodies and that gripping but subtle beat. The sax was probably Lagbaja‘s work.

Despite their skills and success (or possibly because of that) they’ve recently become embroiled in a controversy for their song, “Alingo.” Some say they’re trying to repurpose the Azonto dance as Alingo and in turn take the global phenomenon from Ghana. Samini even made a dis track spoofing it. But others think P’s success is good for African music as a whole.

This tune is ridiculous, but I can’t really tell you much about Arbofour. They seem to have just popped up on the interwebs with this track. Tuff though. The Flowking Stone from Bradez, on the other hand, is all over the place. The Ghana MC is featured on a lot of other great tracks you should also check out.

This one is actually a local remix of a popular Nigerian song. Brooklyn’s Yung Image takes over “Kukere,” a hit from last year by Iyana. The Grenadian vocalist says he was just feeling the riddim, so wanted to do his own version and shout out his fellow Africans. The lyrics are on some soca drunk vibes, using the rum to avoid stress. He teams up with fellow BK resident Mr. Legs on this. If you want more Iyana, he just dropped an album called Desire, although the reviews are not exactly glowing.

Some more new goodness: Veecko Kyngz – “Kedu Ncha Bu Omo feat Phyno”; Spaceman – “Commando”; and Bitta Swit – “Jouer (Prod. by Gafacci)”.


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