African artists are dominating the global music scene due to high demand for genres like Afrobeats and amapiano, with many racking up millions of views on YouTube and taking centre stage in global pop.
As part of this success story, Nigerian musician Rema has set a new record on YouTube with his hit song ‘Calm Down’, which is now the most-viewed Afrobeats video on the platform.
The song recently surpassed 355 million views, beating the previous record held by fellow Nigerian act CKay’s ‘Love Nwantiti Remix’, which has now also amassed more than 355 million views.
Rema’s accomplishment has been driven by the song’s ubiquitous acceptance around the world and a Selena Gomez-assisted remix, which is now sitting on 263 million YouTube views. ‘Calm Down’ was also certified diamond in France and gold in the US. It became the first track to lead the newly established singles chart of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) for the Middle East and North Africa.
‘Calm Down’ was released on Mavin Global/Jonzing World and is off Rema’s debut album Rave & Roses, which arrived in March 2022. It was co-produced by Andre Vibez and Michael ‘London’ Hunter, and powered Rema to more than 1 billion streams on Spotify across all credits, and 100 million streams on Africa-facing digital service provider Boomplay.
Rema joins an elite rank of African acts who have achieved pioneering success on the platform. South African DJ and producer Master KG’s ‘Jerusalema’ (2019) holds the record as the most viewed African music video on YouTube with 543 million views, while Ivorian band Magic System is in second with ‘Magic in the Air’ (2014), which boasts 408 million views. ‘On the Low’ (2018) by Nigerian Afro-fusion star Burna Boy has more than 315 million views on the platform.
Rema, who rose to fame with his debut EP Iron Man in 2019, took to social media to acknowledge his record-breaking achievement. “Most viewed song in the history of Afrobeats. Thanks, guys,” he posted.
His popular song corroborates the growing popularity of Nigerian music and Afrobeats’ reputation as the fastest-growing genre globally, thanks to the success of leading artists like Burna Boy, Wizkid, CKay Davido and Tems. It also positions him and his style – which fuses hip hop, R&B, reggae and dancehall – as the new voice of the predominantly West African sound.