Audio

Is Alicia Keys’ New Single Afrobeats?

A half-baked case for the 'afrobeats' influences in Alicia Keys' new single "In Common."

Alicia Keys recently came out with her new single “In Common” ahead of her performance on Saturday Night Live.


The track, produced by Illangelo, is a light composition built on shuffling rhythms and a bouncing bassline that has our whole office wondering if “In Common” is basically an ‘afrobeats’ song.

We already know Alicia Keys and husband Swizz Beatz have been listening to their fair share of Nigerian pop lately. Swizz recently collaborated with MC Galaxy and has posted tons of clips of himself and Alicia Keys getting down to Wizkid, Skales, and other Nigerian acts on his Instagram.

This song makes me happy??? #goodvibes @wizkidayo ????

A video posted by Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) on

They're definitely aware of the ‘afrobeats’ wave and that influence can be felt in the track’s syncopated beat work and some of Alicia Keys’ own vocal cadences.

Maybe it's the single's Toronto-based producer Illangelo, who’s worked with The Weeknd and Drake, who absorbed some of the vibes from “One Dance.”

Or maybe we can just chalk it up as another increasingly common instance of American pop stars taking cues from African and Caribbean rhythms (see: “Work,” "Hotline Bling").

For what it's worth, the press release that accompanied the song actually credits a "Latin inspired rhythm," but I mean, listen to that snare.

The only thing we know for sure is Snoop Dogg’s feeling it:

New @aliciakeys my OG @snoopdogg said this shit make me move in a different way cuz??????????????????????????

A video posted by therealswizzz (@therealswizzz) on

News Brief
Burna Boy performs at the Warner Music Group pre-Grammy party in Hollywood on January 2020. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Warner Music)

Burna Boy, Tinariwen, Michael Kiwanuka & More Nominated For 2021 Grammy Awards

The Nigerian star and Tuareg band are nominated in the newly named Best Global Music Album category.

The nominations for the 2021 Grammy Awards are in.

The awards show, which will be hosted by Trevor Noah, will see some of the world's biggest artists up for categories like Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist.

As we previously wrote about, the Grammys have renamed the international category of Best World Music Album to Best Global Music, in an effort to reportedly make it more modern and inclusive.

In that new Best Global Music Category, Nigerian afro-fusion star Burna Boy is nominated alongside Tuareg desert rock group Tinariwen, NYC afrobeat outfit Antibalas, Brazilian-American Bebel Gilberto and British-Indian sitar player Anoushka Shankar.

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