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J Hus performs onstage during day 1 of Lovebox 2019 at Gunnersbury Park on July 12, 2019 in London, England.

Afrobeats Gets Its Own Official Chart In the UK

J Hus sits at the top of the new music chart, which is meant to celebrate the rise of Afrobeats in the UK and acknowledge its global influence.

A new top 20 chart, dedicated to Afrobeats music has launched in the UK.

The Official UK Afrobeats Chart is a Top 20 rundown of the biggest songs in afropop music, based on streaming data and sales. While defining what constitutes 'Afrobeats' is a topic of debate, the launch of the list is a testament to the influence of contemporary music of African origin in the country, and includes artists from various sub-genres that have seen unique success in the UK.

A list of the top artists over the last 12 months was released on Tuesday, and the chart will officially launch with a special event on BBC Radio 1Xtra this Sunday, July 26 with a range of hosts and special guests.


READ: The Rise of Stan Culture In Afrobeats

Currently at the top of the list of acts is the Gambian-British rapper J Hus with his hit song "Must Be", followed closely by Nigeria's Burna Boy for his 2018 anthem "Ye." While the Hackney-based group NSG landed in third place overall. Yung T & Bugsey's "Don't Rush" which earned viral fame after being used in the popular #DontRushChallenge earlier this year, was named the "top Afrobeats track of the year."

Popular Nigerian acts Wizkid, Rema, Tekno, Naira Marley and more also appear in the male-dominated top 20 list. The French-Malian singer Aya Nakamura is one of the only women to appear on the list.

"For too long, Afrobeats artists have had to work tirelessly to get their voices heard and now African music/Afrobeats is finally being seen as a leading sound that global superstars turn to on a regular basis," Kofi 'Funkz' Kyei of MOVES Recordings, who was part of the team who created the list told NME.

"The Official UK Afrobeats Chart will help open up the culture to new audiences, giving emerging artists the opportunity to be heard whilst celebrating the sound of a continent that has gone global. Its importance can't be measured and I look forward to celebrating the biggest and best tracks each and every week!"

The rise of the genre has also become apparent through sold out arena shows, recent sound clashes, growing stan culture and much more, but perhaps the official list will makes this success more quantifiable. You can check out the full top 20 list ahead of the official launch via Officialcharts.com, and listen to a playlist of the top 20 tracks down below.


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Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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