Kenyan DJ based in the US, DJ Fully Focus is pushing for the Africa continent to have one unifying sound instead of each country pushing its genres in order to dominate music globally.
Focus, who is also the creator of Atlanta’s first multi-cultural music festival Passport Experience (PXP Fest) that showcases the best of different genres such as Afrobeat, Soca, Dancehall, Hip Hop, Reggaeton, EDM, revived an old conversation he had on social media several years urging Africans to form one umbrella sound to help market the continent’s music.
In 2017, the popular DJ, together with Kenyanvibe and video director Michael Wanguhu, first spoke about the idea of merging all the sub-genres into one sound to avoid constant rebranding in the content.
“Should African Artists do away with their sub-genres and brand themselves under one umbrella name to help them grow globally?” we asked during the festival.
Focus argues that only Africa has different sounds not bracketed into one a reason why marketing the artists and music internationally can be tormenting.
“African music has made great progress over the last decade but it still needs an umbrella term so as to benefit from new opportunities (own Billboard chart, Grammy category etc). This will move it past “World” category & create room for other artists & sounds from EVERYWHERE,” he said.
“Just like Hip Hop is to Trap, Gangsta Rap, Conscious, Boom Bap, Krunk etc or EDM is to Techno, Trance, Dubstep, Deep House etc. The umbrella term helps everyone in that culture, regardless of where in the continent they’re from, benefit from the work the previous sub-genre laid.”
The DJ went on to say that a simple way to move towards forming the umbrella sound is by avoiding categorizing our music by regions.
“It’s time we move past location w/ due respects to contributions made by each region & reposition ourselves for the advancement of pushing the entire Culture forward. Whether by democratizing current terms or creating new ones for ALL Africans to benefit from,” he said.
DJ Fully Focus isn’t the only DJ who has come to this conclusion.
DJ Edu, another popular Kenyan DJ currently working for BBC 1Xtra in London also believes a unifying sound that doesn’t necessarily tag a region is a sure way out.
“Africans have now created superstars and people have started to love their own,” says Edu who has a weekly show dubbed Destination Africa which promotes African music.
“We relate to these stars better than anyone else and it’s time for them to be shown globally.”