Explainer: Is Afro-Adura The Hottest Afrobeats Sub-genre Or A Fad?

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Not too long ago, we began to see the term Afro-Adura used to describe a new subgenre of afrobeats in Nigeria with some listeners even assigning the title of “pioneer” or “lead artiste” to some players in the space.

But what exactly does the term Afro-Adura mean, and who is responsible for coining and spearheading the whole movement?

What Afro-Adura means?

It is a bit obvious that “Afro” is used because the subgenre is adapted from Afrobeats while “Adura” is a Yoruba word meaning “prayer”. The combination of these two words essentially gives us what is known as “Afrobeats prayer” or “prayer on an Afrobeat instrumental.” At its core, Afro-Adura is a sub-genre of Afrobeats that is characterized by aspirational lyrics, preferably in Yoruba, sometimes layered on melancholic beats that could very well be referred to as “chants.” When you look at the Nigerian music industry very closely, you realize that prophesying, prayers, and hopeful connotations are an important part of the music culture, thanks to the African hustler spirit.

Who coined the term Afro-Adura?

It is almost impossible to trace the first real-life use of the term, but the earliest known use, online, can be dated back to December 14th 2022 when a Twitter user tweeted “These yahoo boys and afro-adura are like Bonny & Clyde.” It was also formerly known as afro-trenches by a number of people due to the nature and origin of the types of artists who took part in the growing sub genre. Most players in the space are people who have come from nothing (the trenches) and made a name for themselves in Nigeria’s burgeoning music industry.

Who pioneered the subgenre?

While this sub-genre has existed for a while and produced significant tangential hits like Burna Boy’s Dangote, it saw a renewed interest because of songs like TI Blaze’s Try and Sometimes, Asake’s Nzaza, and T DOLLAR’s Rise. There are a lot of people who find it funny that this is even being considered a real sub-genre of Afrobeats, while there are others who have found a sense of peace by attaching a name to a sound they’ve resonated with and been fans of for a very long time. Names that have been dropped when the conversation of who pioneered the Afro-Adura genre is had include; Tope Alabi, Oritse Femi, Dotman, Otega, Qdot, 9ice and Barry Jhay. There’s also the argument that passionate listeners are only trying to force something that already existed as Afro gospel and Street gospel, but for Afro-Adura enthusiasts, it’s more than just assigning a name to a sound; it’s about the culture and exclusivity when it comes to how accepted the genre is and was. 

With Seyi Vibez, Asake, Zlatan, Zinoleesky and more who’ve dabbled with Afro-Adura tunes getting their moments on the big stages, and with mainstream music listeners, older Afro-Adura fans feel the need to separate themselves from the newcomers and casual listeners.



Current key players in the Afro-Adura scene

Some of the current industry players championing the Afro-Adura movement and sound include Seyi Vibez, Barry Jhay, TI Blaze, T Dollar, Balloranking, Zinoleesky, Asake, Davolee, Diamond Jimma, Mohbad, Dotman and more. There are also artists like Reminisce, Olamide, Burna Boy, and Victor AD who might not make the cut when you think of what exactly makes one an Afro-Adura artist, but who have and will put out music really similar to Afro-Adura. It’s really similar to what is happening with Amapiano at the moment. There are a lot of artists making Amapiano songs right now like Wizkid, Mr Eazi, Asake and more, but that doesn’t make them Amapiano artists. That’s the beauty of music; you can experiment and try your hands at multiple sounds and genres and it doesn’t have to define your entire career as a musician.

Key Afro-Adura songs to get you started

For those of you who have never even listened to an Afro-Adura track before, here are some songs to get you started: Bella Shmurda and MohBad’s Adura, Burna Boy’s Dangote, Victor AD’s Wetin We Gain, Blackmagic and Oriste Femi’s Pass You By, Zlatan and Barry Jhay’s Adura Agba, Reminisce’s Hustle, Bella Shmurda’s Ase, Chinko Ekun’s Able God, Seyi Vibez’ Bullion Van and Chance (Na Ham), Diamond Jimma and Otega’s Aje, Oritse Femi and Protable’s Oro Aje, Qdot’s Iyanu, Bella Shmurda’s Vision 2020 Remix, and TI Blaze’s Sometimes.

The Future: Is Afro-Adura here to stay?

The truth is that in Nigeria, a country with a high level of religiousness and spiritism, with a large proportion of the population identifying as deists, a haze of prayer in the clouds is unavoidable. Music, in its most basic form, is a reflection of an artist’s experiences, realities, and thoughts. With our strong bond with religion and the vices in our environment, prayer becomes an option, and Afro-Adura becomes a gateway of expression and hope for these artists. More experiments with sound elements, language and melodies are possible, but the harmonious cry for help, goodness, success, and peace is likely to persist. Furthermore, many music fans in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, can relate to the lyrics and melodies of these sounds because they have shared similar experiences with these artists. This demonstrates the possibilities of a perfectly formed Afro-Adura track and why it is already a part of our music ecosystem.

The Afro-Adura community are a very passionate bunch and it is that passion and love for the sound that has led to this conversation being had. While genres and sub-genres do not just spring up out of thin air, Afro-Adura is leaning more towards being a subculture and movement rather than a whole new type of music. Nigerians are naturally hustlers and go-getters and it is no surprise that music that is inspired by that energy and mindset would gain a massive audience and following. Although Afro-Adura has not been recognized as the sub-genre its fans are constantly pushing for it to be, yet, it’s safe to say that the conversation has just begun and will continue to be had for years to come.

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