The Emergence of Afro-Fusion Genres: An Omahlay Case Study
In recent years, the global music scene has witnessed a remarkable phenomenon. The boundaries between cultures have dissolved, leading to the birth of exciting new music genres. One such development is the emergence of Afro-Fusion genres, the essence of Afro-Fusion lying in its unique ability to blend traditional African elements with contemporary global styles.
Right now we have many musical genres that have taken root in Afrobeat. Artists have found a way to make danceable melodies while singing the saddest lyrics. I mean, we all want to dance, don’t we?
A classic case study to buttress this would be the ‘Afro-depression’ genre. It is often considered shameful to talk about mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety among young Nigerians. This is especially true in the Afrobeats and African music industries, where it’s all fun and good vibes. However, it’s not always love and light for artists that create the genre. Omah Lay, in particular, has gained immense popularity, deservedly for his amazing talent, but also for his role in creating the “Afro-depression” genre.
In 2022, Omah Lay’s Soso topped the charts in Nigeria, five months after release. Dance challenges were created to the upbeat tune but failed to explore the depth beneath the lyrics initially. In a recent interview with Steph TV, Omah Lay shared that it takes a real musician to make art from pain and there are not a lot of Afrobeats artists making such music.
While Omah Lay can be credited as the pioneer, or originator of the genre, if you will, other Afrobeat artists can be lumped into the same category.
One of Nigeria’s finest musical exports, Tems, released her single ‘Free Mind’ in 2020 to instant critical acclaim. The record’s longevity is displayed in countless vacation videos and soundtracks on Social Media, even three years later. However, beneath the chill vibe and soothing instrumental lies deep lyrics depicting a young woman trying to stay sane and get a hold of her mental health.
As Afrobeats evolve, it is collaborative, adaptable, and interconnected with other musical genres within Africa and its diaspora, thereby increasing exposure and providing great opportunities for its artists.