By Gabriel Myers Hansen | Music Africa
Nigerian singer CKay is leading the Billboard US Afrobeats Songs chart, which debuted on 29 March. The chart was launched through a partnership between Afrobeats festival brand Afro Nation and music and entertainment magazine Billboard. Afro Nation was also responsible for initiating the weekly Official Afrobeats Chart on BBC Radio 1Xtra in 2020.
The Billboard US Afrobeats Songs chart, which was fuelled by the genre’s growing global demand, ranks the top 50 Afrobeats songs in the US based on official streaming data from leading audio and video music services, as well as download sales from top music retailers.
The chart aggregates data from both subscription and ad-supported tiers on digital service providers.
CKay occupies the No 1 spot of the chart with his global hit ‘Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah)’. Originally released in 2019, the track has been a TikTok staple since its revival last year. It amassed 4.7 million streams in the US during the 18-24 March tracking week, according to data and analytics company Luminate.
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CKay’s ‘Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah)’ is followed by fellow Nigerian Fireboy DML’s Ed Sheeran-assisted ‘Peru’, Wizkid’s ‘Essence’ featuring Tems, Omah Lay’s ‘Attention’ featuring Justin Bieber, and Tems’ ‘Free Mind’, which make up the top five on the chart.
Like the top five, the rest of the chart is occupied almost entirely by Nigerians, backing their repute as the collective face of the genre, which also enjoys prominence in other West African countries such as Ghana. Tems’ name appears eight times on the chart, while Wizkid and Burna Boy follow with six and five inclusions respectively.
US-based Ghanaian music producer Nektunez’s amapiano remix of E.R.A’s ‘Ameno’ featuring Nigeria’s Goya Menor holds the No 7 spot, while Ghana’s Kelvyn Boy made his debut at No 20 with ‘Down Flat’.
Announcing the chart last week, Billboard senior vice-president of charts and development Silvio Pietroluongo said: “As with much of the world, Afrobeats has grown tremendously as a genre in America and we are proud to showcase the top songs and artists with this new weekly ranking.”
Afro Nation founder, co-head of UTA London and Event Horizon founder Obi Asika noted the genre’s global explosion over the past 10 years, adding that “there is still so much more potential within the scene and the community that has grown around it and I believe it is vital that with Billboard we now have a US chart that reflects this growth and provides a platform for emerging artists from every continent to showcase their talent to new audiences.”