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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.


Interview
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Interview: How Stogie T’s ‘Freestyle Friday’ Became a TV Show

Freestyle Friday started as lockdown content but is now a fully-fledged TV show on Channel O. In this interview, Stogie T breaks down why the show is revolutionary and talks about venturing into media.

When South Africa was put under a hard lockdown in 2020, Stogie T started Freestyle Friday to "make SA rap again." Freestyle Friday, hosted on Instagram, saw a different cohort of rappers each rap over the same beat picked by the veteran rapper. From niche and emerging rappers to some of the most notable names in South African hip-hop—the likes of AKA, Focalistic, Ginger Trill and several others all participated.

In the last few weeks, however, Freestyle Friday has found its way to cable TV. The show airs every Friday on Channel O, one of the continent's longest-running music TV channels. Freestyle Friday as a TV programme isn't just about freestyles, it's about the art of rapping and the music business, particularly SA hip-hop. Guests range from lyricists to record executives and other personalities aligned with the scene—Ninel Musson and Ms Cosmo for instance.

But Freestyle Friday is only the first media product Stogie T is working on as he is in the process of starting a podcast network, a venture in which he is collaborating with Culture Capital. In the Q&A below, Stogie T breaks down the relationship with Culture Capital, how the show moved from the internet to TV, why it's a revolutionary idea, touches on his venture into media and his future plans.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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