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Swizz Beatz Gets Checked for Claims to Afrobeats Success in America

Swizz Beatz Gets Checked for Claims to Afrobeats Success in America
Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Pictured: American record producer Swizz Beatz

The American musician made the bold statement during a conversation on Prime Music's Hip-Hop focused "Rotation Roundtable" show.

In a move sure to make Christopher Columbus proud, American record producer Swizz Beatz is making bombastic claims to have introduced Nigerian musicians Wizkid and Burna Boy to America -- and social media is having none of it.


In conversation with Amazon Prime Music's 'Rotation Roundtable' hosts, the musician said, "I introduced Wizkid to America. I was the first person to play his song. Me and my wife were on a trip and we danced to his song," the rapper said, referencing a 2015 video posted by him and his wife, global superstar Alicia Keys, dancing to Wizkid's "Ojuelegba". He then further claimed, "(I was the) first person to bring Burna Boy to the States. I introduced him on the stage." While Beatz's claim to be the source behind Afrobeats's success in the US is aggravating and wrong, he most likely did expose some of his Hip-Hop community to African music for the first time. "When I was playing Fela Kuti," he continued, "People thought I was being too African, that's how ignorant the energy was at that time."

Afrobeats enthusiasts were quick to put Beatz in his place, however. If anyone can claim an early interest in Wizkid, it's American singer-songwriter-abuser Chris Brown. The pair first met in 2012, and the relationship blossomed into performing together by 2013. Wizkid had already entered the American music scene, with collaborations with Senegalese-American star Akon, by the time Beatz shared the video of his wife dancing. But, even in that circumstance: What is the American obsession with claiming rights to things that don't belong to you?

AsGodwin Tom, Managing Director of Sony Music Nigeria put it, "We are doing this thing again where we are allowing others to create a narrative for us, and that's dangerous... very soon, it will be America that introduced Afrobeats to the rest of the world. We must differentiate appreciating a sound from actually being a part of the team introducing the music." This desire to be the founding father of all things African does nothing but center American perspectives -- contradicting the entire point of Afrobeats being by Africans for Africans. It further discredits the work that Africans in the diaspora put in to stay close to their roots and build spaces for their own communities. While Swizz Beatz has always done a great job of hyping up music and talent from the continent, this business of being the person who made it possible for African music to flourish on a global scale is getting old.


Social media users had a lot to say about the latest American to claim rights to the global success of Afrobeats




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