If you have recently visited any given club setting and the dance floor suddenly dropped out from under you, it’s probably because Afro B’s “Drogba” (Joanna) was playing. The judicious employment of an occasional, subatomic kick drum lets everyone know exactly when things are happening. What goes on during the space in between is all up to you. Afrowave 2 is a full length project that featured Drogba and 8 more equally solid offerings. They hit just as hard while branching off in various sonic directions.
Just like the number of genres which can be classified as Electro Reggae, Afro Beats is a cluster of styles that defy categorization. Emerging as one of the preeminent voices of the movement is London based vocalist Afro B. While you might not be able to put a finger on what to call this music, the impact is undeniable. Afrowave 2 starts off strong with “One Time”, which teases a steel drum loop, before threatening to succumb entirely to the influence of Trap music. As soon as that reference is registered however, the poly-rhythmic arrangement carries Afro B’s nimble delivery and “all a de gyal dem” right back to the dance floor.
Features on Afrowave 2 also shine brightly. Veeiye (pronounced V.I.) adds a sultry, hypnotic flavor to “Hold Me”. She could easily be the voice behind a top ten hit within the next year. Tion Wayne’s U.K. Rudebwoy lyrics bring the rough edge to R&B-laden “They Know”, and Swift skillfully outlines the recurrent issues between members of law enforcement and people of color on “Police”. The project is released on MOVES Recordings. A glance at the MOVES catalogue shows that it’s becoming a vibrant sounding board for up and coming UK talent.
Afrowave 2 cannot be discussed without mentioning the project’s chief architects, production squad Team Salut. The cultural melting pot that is UK music seems to converge within their productions, breaking down societal barriers. Afro B’s Ivory Coast origins are well represented. Hip-Hop is well represented. Reggae and R&B seen to take the forefront, but the Afro Beats genre is none of these things. Afro Beats reaches back to something ancient which lies at the foundation of it all (Afro Beat = Acoustic / AfroBeats = Electronic). Delineations might be confusing, but you will always know just what to do when you hear it.