We are calling it early, but Afropop is revolutionizing the sound of popular music

On the significance of Wizkid's feature on Metro Boomin's new mixtape, 'Not All Heroes Wear Capes'

The news of Metro Boomin’s ‘Not All Heroes Wear Capes’ release came along with several other notable projects from H.E.R, Vince Staples and Take Off. And as expected, the internet was in a bit of a flux as each fandom talked over each other for cultural dominance. One topic that couldn’t be avoided however is Wizkid’s feature on two tracks off the star-studded 13-track mixtape from Metro Boomin.

The Reggae-fueled vocals of Wizkid, over the soulful and ambient beat Metro produces for “Borrowed Love”, may not carry all of the sonic nuances we have come to attach with Afropop, but the effortless harmony he shares with Swae Lee on the track is a reminder that just a few months back, Swae Lee released his first solo album, ‘Swaecation’, with a very Afropop swing and bounce.

However, the Caribbean influenced beat that Metro Boomin produces for “Only You” allows for Wizkid to get into his elements, performing a sultry set to the percussion led beat with a distinctly high-life inspired guitar riff. Although the beach-side ambience of Wizkid provides a platform for the other featured artists —Offset and J Balvin— to coast on, the pacy scatting drum riff highlights the kinks that still exist in the fusion of Afropop and pop. But despite the little hold backs, the blends of wit with catchy songcraft and bold instrumentation, while also resolutely refusing to take itself seriously, is definitely something we could do more with.

To be fair, Afropop is itself undeniably inspired by the sound on American pop radio, but Afropop artists like Wizkid and Davido have mastered the ability to blend pop’s lightweight themes with the catchy and spontaneous sing-along inspiring flow of traditional African music. And seeing as Normani, Quavo, and now Metro Boomin have all released music with Afropop features over the last few weeks, Swae Lee’s side of Rae Sremmurd’s ‘SR3MM’ isn’t the first time an American pop star has tried to finesse Afropop for a hit as we all remember Drake did with “One Dance” in 2016.

Featured Image Credits: Instagram/metroboomin

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You are meeting Debola at a strange time in his life. He wandered into a dream and lost his way back. Tweet at him @debola_abimbolu

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