Image: graphic photography
DJ and singer-songwriter Afro B is a leading figure in the UK's exploding Afrowave scene. Drawing on a variety of genres such as acrobats, hip-hop, R&B and more, the star has been instrumental in shaping an infectious new genre that invites you to dance.
He has proven himself to be very versatile and is able to write both humming love songs and throbbing club hits. His most famous hit, "Drogba (Joanna)" (a nod to Ivory Coast football legend Didier Drogba, the country Afro B's parents came from) hit the top 30 on the US Billboard R&B / Hip-Hop airplay charts.
This song proved so popular that it even led to the Drogba Challenge becoming a huge viral dance trend around the world. It received an unofficial remix from Busta Rhymes, a great respect for Afro B.
With collaborations with French Montana, DJ Snake, T-Pain and Wiz Kid, Afro B makes Afrowave really big.
We met Afro B as part of our popular Get To Know series to find out more about his life and music.
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How did your stage name come about?
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My stage name came about about 11 years ago. I was the main Afrobeats DJ in my age group in the UK and at the time there were hardly any DJs promoting African music. I saw the potential and noticed the lack of representation for culture and music.
This gave me the drive to begin my DJ path. My friend Rick Allstar, who was in the same entertainment group as me, told me to call myself a DJ Afro B. for this reason. I then grew Afro Hair that made people associate my name with it rather than the genre itself.
Eight years ago I decided to pick up the microphone and record music. I haven't looked back since then. I took the DJ out of my name and became Afro B..
How would you describe your music to your grandma?
Catchy melodies, vibe, easy to digest, electric, groovy, memorable & positive.
Tell us about some of your tracks; their title and what is it about?
"Drogba (Joanna)" – my biggest hit so far. This song honors the African ICON "Drogba" who played soccer. He's also from the same country as me, Ivory Coast. The song is also about a beautiful woman named Joanna who plays hard to get, but I know she likes me too.
"Condo" – This song is about telling the person you love or want to get into your condo. It's special to me because I had the chance to work with one of my favorite artists of all time, T-Pain.
"Fine Wine and Hennessy" – this song expresses my love for a woman and makes endless compliments. Almost all of my songs are not planned in advance, I just vibe and create with the producers in the studio during the day. The end product is always unpredictable, and that's the beauty of it because you never know until you've finished it.
What do you love about your hometown?
London (born and raised) – I love multiculturalism, you get a taste and a feel for each culture and that plays a role in my music. Ivory Coast – there is no place like home! The feeling of returning home is indescribable and priceless. I feel complete and happy to be surrounded by people who share the same culture, understanding and values.
Previous career highlight?
To be able to travel the world. I love to experience different cultures as well as spread mine to them.
Favorite hobby without music?
Boxing and watching football. Spend time with friends.
What does your dream driver say?
To be able to travel the world.
Dream Music Collaboration?
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself as a global African icon who opens doors to culture around the world, someone who is constantly giving something back to my hometown. Next generation signing. African ambassador. To leave a legacy!
What's your favorite karaoke song?
Tupac – "Dear Mama"
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
Tomorrow is not promised.
What obsession do you have that no one would guess after listening to your music?
I like walking in areas I don't know just to see where the music has taken me.