Since the drop of his hyper successful, supremely infectious international single: Drogba (Joanna) consumed radio airwaves back in 2018, Ross-Emmanuel Bayeto, more famously known as Afro B, has possessed an inimitable stronghold on the global landscape of Afrobeats music.
As the originator for what he has coined the “Afrowave” sound, which embodies a fine combination of Hip-Hop and Dancehall coupled with African rhythms, the U.K. DJ turned worldwide phenomenon prides himself on being a leading purveyor within today’s burgeoning world of Afrobeats.
With a stellar track record in curating authentic Afrobeats vibes and capturing the true essence of the genre with relative ease, Afro B is in the process of major ascension and verifying himself as a trusted source for lovers of the genre.
Starting off in Southern London with his musical roots grounded in DJing and playing the piano, Bayeto has leaned into and fully embraced his artistic metamorphosis. Over the last few years, Afro B has sought to illustrate that his talents aren’t myopic or bound to a single dimension.
While some might argue that he’s been MIA for a bit, his resume would certainly dictate otherwise. Over the last few years, he’s released a well-received trilogy of genre elevating records: Afrowave, Afrowave 2 and Afrowave 3. In conjunction with his last full-length projects, he has collaborated with a litany of prominent sonic heavy hitters across the African diaspora, some of which include T-Pain, Vybz Kartel, Busy Signal, WizKid, French Montana and much more.
In 2022, Afro B is resolute about continuing his reign as a prolific hitmaker. With two major singles already out this year: Shisha (ft.Niniola & Busiswa) and Beautiful Girl (Sohni Kuri) alongside fellow U.K. musician Bambi Bains, the rising legend is committed to pushing the culture forward and contributing to its rapidly increasing allure across the globe.
Fortunately enough, JaJuan Malachi of The Knockturnal was able to chop it up with the Afrobeats megastar. During the exchange, they spoke about his origins in London, how his life has changed since Drogba (Joanna), the Afrowave movement, his future aspirations, new music and more.
Here’s how things went:
JaJuan: For those who aren’t aware yet, tell us a little bit about your background and how you got your start in producing Afrobeat music?
Afro B: I was born and raised in London. When it comes to music intake, I would consider myself extremely eclectic. I enjoy all types of music and of course African music played a big part in my life as that is where I am from. My heritage is Ivory Coast. I began my musical journey playing piano in church. The church was francophone African, the music played in church had Ivorian and Congolese influences. I then went on to DJ in 2009/2010, I was an Afrobeats specialist DJ.
JaJuan: How’d you get your start with DJ’ing and Afrobeats?
Afro B: I had two friends who were already into DJ’ing — Kenny and Patrick. Both taught me how to DJ and I chose the lane of Afrobeats. It was a genre that didn’t have that much spotlight at the time, but I knew that there was a demand for it.
JaJuan: Since moving to New York, how has your life and career changed? Have you been able to spread the Afrowave a bit more in N.Y. versus being stationed in the U.K.?
Afro B: New York opened my eyes on how the genre can expand even more. It’s the first city to really embrace the genre. I’ve done multiple interviews and met key players in the music industry, they all showed great interest in contributing to the spread of the Afrowave.
JaJuan: After halting your DJ days to focus on producing music, have you missed the club scene at all? Or do you still dabble from time to time?
Afro B: Whether I am DJing or not, a lot of my time is spent in the club. I love the environment and seeing people react especially to when my music is playing.
JaJuan: Now that it’s been almost three years since the initial release of your international hit:“Drogba” (Joanna), how has your life changed? What have you been up to?
Afro B: Since Drogba, I’ve been able to explore the world and that’s one of my favorite things to do. I’ve always loved being in new environments and learning about different cultures. I also love introducing new people to my own African culture.
JaJuan: How would you describe the Afrowave movement? And who would say are some artists contributing to the genre lately?
Afro B: The Afrowave movement is to connect non-Africans and the African diaspora to the continent. I feel that everyone who is participating in the genre of music is a part of the movement. Once people enjoy and dance to the sound, they’re involving themselves with the movement and culture.
JaJuan: Talk to us about your latest single: Shisha? How’d your collaboration with Niniola & Busiswa come about? It’s such a vibe.
Afro B: Niniola and Busiswa have always had a relationship. It was only natural that we’d would link up and make magic. Both women are house music specialists in my opinion, I love their sound.
JaJuan: Now that Afrobeats has gained a massive surge in popularity over the years, what are your thoughts on the future of the genre? Do you think it could be as big as Hip-Hop one day?
Afro B: I believe that it’s already on its way to be as big as Hip-Hop, the genre is getting a co-sign from A-list Artists and you can’t avoid it on radio or at a club.
JaJuan: Since the pandemic shut down a lot of artist/fan engagement opportunities, how have you and your team combated this issue?
Afro B: We plan to continuously provide content for the fans to keep the engagement there. Every month we plan to give the people something new to talk about and listen to.
JaJuan: What does your creative process typically look like?
Afro B: My creative process is never the same and unpredictable, I can come up with choruses in 10 seconds, others can be 1 hour or a day. It varies depending on the vibe of the session. I always aim to keep the fun element of the creative process; I feel that’s how you get the best result.
JaJuan: For a lot of your music, I noticed that you team up with Team Salut on the production tip? What about them keeps you coming back?
Afro B: We have great chemistry and understanding. That is the main thing the artist and producer needs in my opinion. You both got to be on the same page.
JaJuan: Now that we’ve officially entered 2022 and more things are opening back up, what can we expect from Afro B, both personal and professional?
Afro B: Expect more music, I plan to release something new almost every month this year. Also expect a lot more international collabs, the dream is to be as Global as possible.
JaJuan: Before we wrap things up, is there anything else you’d like for us to know?
Afro B: I plan to build studios around Africa beginning with my home country Ivory Coast.
To keep up with Afro B, Check him out on Instagram