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The Decade In Afrobeats: Top Artists Share the Moment They Knew African Pop Music Would Take Over the World

In this retrospective, we asked Davido, Efya, Sarkodie, Falz, Lady Donli and many more to share their memories of Afrobeats music from 2009 to 2019 and what comes next.

The year was 2009, and the DJ had just gone through a spectacular run of some of the biggest Nigerian songs of the era: 9ice's "Gongo Aso," "Lori Le" by X-Poject and P-Square's "Do Me," to name a few. I was at a family friend's engagement party, and I had to sit down afterwards because my feet were starting to hurt after giving it my all on the dance floor while in heels.

It was a moment. Before then, the only music I had heard and fully accepted as "Nigerian" were the classic "oldies" from King Sunny Adé, Ebenezer Obey, Sonny Okosun or Fela—the staples my mom would play in the car on the way to school and all the other juju, fuji and highlife tracks that seemed to be mainstays at the "African hall parties" we'd frequent. These songs were familiar but they always felt like the music of a different time, of an older generation—especially to a first-generation Nigerian-American teenager like myself. If my friends and I wanted to hear something we felt we could dance to at these parties, we had to wait for the cursory run of "This Is How We Do It," and the "Cha Cha Slide"—if that ever even came.

Around a decade ago, though, this began to change, and in between the typical party anthems, there'd be this newer sound (not yet commonly referred to as Afrobeats) that marked the "young people's" time to hit the dance floor. It was a fairly new experience for most of us, hitting the "yahooze" and being able to enjoy music that felt like it was both wholly Nigerian and wholly for us at the same time. The parents didn't seem to mind it either.

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Watch Burna Boy Perform 'Anybody' and 'Collateral Damage' on 'The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon'

The 'African Giant' delivers another memorable late night appearance.

Grammy-nominated artist Burna Boy, appeared as the musical guest on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon yesterday, marking another standout late night appearance from the artist, following The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live from earlier this year.

Burna Boy performed a medley of his songs "Collateral Damage" and "Anybody" from his latest album African Giant. Opening with 'Collateral Damage," the artist asked audience members to raise their fists, describing the song as "protest music." After that he headed into an energetic rendition of 'Anybody," delivering the zanku and several "gbeses" during the performance.

Burna Boy has won several awards throughout the year, including "Best International Act" at the BET Awards and "Best African Act" at the MTV Europe Awards. Most recently he's been nominated for a Grammy in the "Best World Music" category for African Giant alongside Angelique Kidjo and more.

He's also collaborated with several artists, including fellow Nigerian artist Zlatan on the dance banger "Gbeku" and Stormzy on his latest track "Own It" also featuring Ed Sheeran.

Check out Burna Boy's performance on The Tonight Show down below.

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