Rotimi claims he was the first to bring Afrobeats to America, do you agree?

Afrobeats in America: Separating Fact from Rotimi's Self-Proclaimed Legacy

By Stermy 2 Min Read

Rotimi, a Nigerian-American singer and actor, asserts in a recent podcast that he was the first to introduce Afrobeats to the United States.

During an interview on the 85 South Show Podcast, he discussed his journey in the music scene and claimed his role in popularizing the Afrobeats genre in the US.

He recounted his experience of facing resistance when he brought his single ‘Love Riddim’ to radio stations in 2018 due to its Afrobeats influence. Rotimi asserted his contribution to bringing Afrobeats to America before the international surge of the ‘Afrobeats to the World’ movement.

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“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. I can comfortably say I brought Afrobeats to America.” He said.

However, despite Rotimi’s claims, some disagreed with his assertions on social media.

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They pointed out previous instances of Afrobeats gaining traction in the US, such as Ayo Jay’s 2015 hit single ‘Your Number’ and Drake’s collaboration with Wizkid on ‘One Dance’ in 2016.

Additionally, Wizkid’s ‘Come Closer’ featuring Drake was released in 2017, preceding Rotimi’s ‘Love Riddim.’

Moreover, artists like Davido had success with their Afrobeats singles in the US before Rotimi’s emergence. Davido’s hits ‘If’ and ‘Fall’ garnered attention, with ‘Fall’ even receiving RIAA gold and platinum certifications.

The early pioneers of Afrobeats, including 2Baba, P-Square, and D’banj, also collaborated with American artists, contributing to the genre’s exposure in the US. D’banj’s signing to Kanye West’s Good Music after the success of ‘Oliver Twist’ in 2012 further facilitated the exportation of Nigerian mainstream music to the United States.

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