Afrobeats: The African Music Category

The Grammys are considering adding an Afrobeats category to recognize South African musicians, BBC News reports. Afrobeats is a genre of music that blends traditional South African music with contemporary Western music, and includes elements of hip hop and pop.

One problem is that all South African musicians are labeled “Africans” in the category that the Grammys created in 2003.

Afrobeats was founded in 2003 by three hip-hop music producers from Cape Town, Africa. They called the genre Afroseatia, which means “world music.” The genre was not widely accepted in the U.S. until 2010, when a pair of South Africa native producers (Moses Chin and DJ Dahi) started recording a song called “World Party” at the request of DJ Premier of American hip hop group The Roots, which released it worldwide in late 2010.

The genre grew on the back of the popularity of hip-hop, and has attracted thousands of South African artists from all walks of life.

The African American Music Association and the South African Music Association are behind the push for the Afrobeats category, and would like to see the category created by 2018. The two groups also are working with Grammy voters to change the name of the category.

The Grammy committee has had difficulty with the category for years because it is so broad and can’t be defined yet. It would take some time to define the category before it can be voted on.

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