A figurehead of a trending sound sweeping the UK, London artist Afro B is aware of the fascination behind his genre, a unique combination of dancehall and hip-hop, with further influences taken from reggae and R&B. With musicians in the mould of Skepta, Stormzy, Sampha, Dizzee Rascal, Tinie Tempah and Lethal B representing the tip of a much deeper iceberg when it comes to the music of the UK’s diaspora, the award-winning sounds stretch back a full 47 years to the 1970 London soul scene.
Taking influences from Africa as well as the United States, traditional Afrobeat heritage and the Caribbean to continue to shape a new generation of UK musicians, with Afro B acting as one of the earliest promoters of the Afrobeats sound. A pioneer born in London to Ivorian parents, Afro B started out as a DJ before making the transition to recording artist.
“I started at a club called NW10, that’s where I built my fanbase,” he recalls. “At that time no one was really pushing the African sound. It was all Bashment, and Hip-Hop, but that’s what separated me from the other DJs.”
It was around 2012/13 that the sound for UK Afrobeats began a revival, with Afro B beginning to release his own music. His first release was a song with Tribal Man and Omo Frenchie entitled ‘Oh My’ which was followed by ‘Sweet Coco.’ “I don’t like following fashion,” he adds. “So I released a tune for French speaking people. Most artists are either Ghanaian or Nigerian so I that’s when I did a tune called ‘Decalè’. It’s a well known dance in the Ivory Coast. It is like a genre - proper upbeat.”
By consistently running and promoting his own events across the country at University Unions, Bayeto harnessed the interest of students outside of London and began to introduce them to the genre gearing up to be the next big thing. “I had to keep on releasing tracks to prove what I was doing made sense, and I’m actually good at what I’m doing. And that came with time, I think people respect the hustle.”
With artists like J Hus, N2theA, Jae5, G.A. and Kojo Funds helping to promote the genre further, he feels that Afrobeats music speaks to a new generation. The release of his ‘AfroWave’ mixtape continues to silence critics, whilst his release ‘Juice and Power’ featuring Yxng Bane was labelled as one of the sounds of summer 2017.
“With Afrobeats, an artist can be sing rapping about the rawest topic but you can’t help but to move your feet because of the vibe of the song,” he adds.
Fresh off the back of high profile work with Emeli Sandé, 67, Geko, and Tion Wayne, Afro B is ready to elevate the Afrobeats genre to the next level, marking an exciting new chapter in his illustrious career so far. His new single ‘Pull Up’ is out now on Marathon Artists.