Rotimi Claims To Be The First Musician To Introduce Afrobeats To America

Rotimi, a singer and actor of American and Nigerian descent, has discussed his contribution to the American Afrobeats scene. During his interview on the 85 South Show Podcast, Rotimi recounted his ascent and his role in the US Afrobeats scene’s climb to fame.

Before the “Afrobeats to the World” movement began to gain traction through international collaboration, Rotimi claims to have been the first artist to popularize Afrobeats-styled music in the United States. Rotimi, a musician who combines Afrobeats and R&B components, remembered how his song “Love Riddim” was met with criticism when it was played on radio stations in 2018 due to its Afrobeats influences.

Although many observers will contest Rotimi’s assertions that he introduced Afrobeats to America, he did play a significant role in the genre’s rise to prominence in the US, particularly in the early stages of its exporting.  In the interview, Rotimi—whose mother is Igbo and his father is Yoruba—explained that he was inspired to highlight his Nigerian heritage in his music by including Afrobeats.

Rotimi remembered talking to Wizkid about the potential of Afrobeats in the upcoming decade during their 2012 encounter. The actor from the television series “Power” revealed that although he produced R&B music that emulated the American music icon who impacted him, he didn’t choose to be himself until 2017, five years after speaking with Wizkid.

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