What is ALTÉ Music?

In the English dictionary, ‘ALTÉ’ is a Short form for ALTERNATIVE. But over time, in West Africa's music scene, it became something else.

What is ALTE Music?

Nigerian unconventional, free-thinkers & progressive creatives lead the unusual genre, including Cruel Santino, Odunsi the Engine, Lady Donli, and DRB Lasgidi.

This music revolution broke into the Nigerian mainstream in the late 2000s. However, it wasn't until the late 2010s the genre made a name for itself. But then, the genre came with its own culture. First, in fashion: Bucket hats, crop tops, baggy trousers, layered jewelry, dyed hair and dirty sneakers, if one might add. These were icons that made one stand out as an ALTE Guy or ALTE Babe. But the movement is more than that.

Last December, I was at an ALTE Fest in Ikeja, Lagos state. As I caught my cruise, sipping from my red cup. I took a minute to observe the high energy around me; then, I realized something about the genre that never clicked after two years of being part of its culture.

This Gen-Z fan base styled in their aesthetic looks hopped and jammed up to the ALTE Performers doing their thing on stage, which was the combination of various sounds in music; Silky R&B, mid-tempo Pop, & Afro Fusion — Coming together as one sound to make a simple statement, “Let us be.”.

What is ALTÉ music? It is that genre of music that isn’t meant to be understood but only felt. Projects such as ‘rare’ by Odunsi the engine, ‘Mandy & the jungle’ by Cruel Santino, ‘Enjoy your life’ by Lady Donli, ‘Pioneers’ by DRB Lasgidi, Listen to every verse, hum to every beat, feel every sound and now answer the question the headline of this article asks. What is ALTÉ Music? It is yours to discover.

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Israel Olorunnisola is a freelance creative. When he is not writing about Film, Music, TV or Pop culture he is telling stories on Wattpad.

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