If you consider yourself a purist of any genre, you detest the idea of deviating from the origin of the original source. It’s not that purists are against evolution, rather, they hold the pillars of a genre in high regard. As of late, we have seen the emergence of Emo Afro-Beat as a genuine subgenre and when one thinks of Afro-Beat, the term ’emotional’ doesn’t come to mind. The current wave of Afro Beat artists have carved a niche in the landscape that allows for heavily emotional subject matters to be explored in music. Amongst the current crop of artists that are spearheading the subgenre is CKay.
Ckay’s “love nwantiti (ah ah ah)” exploded on TikTok and catapulted him to global stardom. The single comes off of Ckay’s 2019 CKay The First EP. This is where we first got a glimpse into the explorative and emotional side of CKay.
CKay The First is more than just “love nwantiti (ah ah ah)”. The EP is a sonically diverse offering filled with emotive basslines… but perhaps CKay’s defining moment in the subgenre comes via his 2021 Boyfriend album. Whereas you could argue that CKay The First was a ‘flash in the pan moment’ where CKay happneed to string together a few lines about heartbreak, Boyfriend is an undeniably emotional interpretation of Afro Beat. Songs like “Felony” and “Isabella” see him explore love and heartbreak over latin inspired production and the downtempo “Skoin Skoin” (Ft. Bianca Costa) offers a heart-jerking moment on the album and the “Mezebu” serves as the emotional crescendo on Boyfriend. CKay’s emotional vulnerability and audacity to go against the grain are what make him the undoubted leader of the subgenre.