How Afrobeats has become an unstoppable musical force The rise of “Uptown Funk” and other songs that have made Afrobeats the biggest crossover act in rap
The rise of “Uptown Funk” and other songs that have made Afrobeats the biggest crossover act in rap
In 2013, Jamaican Rapper Sean Paul was on the hot seat after being found guilty of assault after footage emerged of a police raid on his home. The footage showed Paul punching a man, and throwing him to the ground. While the man was in an ambulance, Sean Paul took the video with him, which he later showed the judge.
While Sean Paul was on bail, the video was the first thing people heard about the case.
“People would be like ‘Ugh, what are the charges?’” Sean Paul said to the Star. “Then I would get into the music and then people would know.”
The case prompted “Uptown Funk,” a single by Sean Paul and the then-up-and-coming Afrobeat artist Mavado that went viral in 2014. The song became an anthem thanks to the video clip, which has since been featured on MTV’s The Real, BET’s 106 & Park, and in countless other outlets.
“The first reaction to ‘Uptown Funk’ was, like, ‘What the fuck is going on?’” Sean Paul said to Vibe. “Everyone thought, ‘Oh, the singer’s a rapper.’ It definitely was the case with ‘Uptown Funk’ the video and with the album.”
“Uptown Funk” and other Afrobeats songs like “Ruffneck” and “Super Freak” have been a major source of the label’s rise and success in the UK, leading to the label being given a Grammy award in August.
Sean Paul told Rolling Stone that the song “kind of got lost in the shuffle, but after the video came out, it just took off. It was very difficult for any label with no connection to the artist to promote an artist like that.”
“Everyone wanted to promote them because after all, it’