So, Nigerian music has been on the roll now for years, and even more so, considering the duo of Wizkid and Davido exposing the “Afropop” brand of Nigerian/African music to new frontiers, especially to the North American countries, special emphasis to the United States of America.
However, before this lucky duo gained the worldwide acceptance that they enjoy now, I must acknowledge that some pioneers paved that way that slowly but steadily created the awareness of the African sound of music. In Nigeria particularly, feats achieved by D’banj, Tuface, Don Jazzy and many more cannot be overlooked.
So, although the three (3) that I just listed did not achieve as much popularity and acceptance and probably cash as Wizkid and Davido are currently doing, they surely contributed in showcasing our sound of music to a wider audience.
In my opinion, it all began with Tuface’s African Queen and the subsequent awards – the highlight, which was the coveted Mtv Awards that he later won. Subsequently, with the passage of some years, D’banj also achieved the Mtv Awards feat which put him in the international scene and gave him access to featuring international act such as Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, Jay – Z and a couple of others.
This is where I like to think that Nigerian Music began to take shape internationally to the extent that American acts became interested in working with their Nigerian counterparts. However, even in that era, international acts still had this pride and sense of superiority over Nigerian artistes, this era was between 2007 and 2011.
Fast-forward to 2014 up till date and the status quo has completely changed, especially with Davido and Wizkid blazing the trails and shutting down arenas both within and outside Africa. The duo, alongside other African artistes have created a unique sound and a pride of place for the African sound to the point that the ‘so called’ international stars chase our dear artistes to feature them. That is something to be proud of in my own estimation, considering the growth of Nigerian music from the era when every Nigerian hit song was a remake or plagiarism of popular American songs. An era when international songs were the talk of town, with very limited Nigerian songs.
These days, I can play Nigerian/African hit songs for a whole month back to back without a single ‘international’ song on my playlist. That is how much our sound and music has grown. And no, I didn’t forget the money that the Nigerian music industry has been spinning and making for these artistes.
But trust my Naija folks, we no dey like carry last nah. That’s almost the cause of our bandwagon mentality. These days, because of the fame and money everybody wants to do music- both the ones wey sabi and the ones wey no sabi, leading to a situation where some aspects of our indigenous music sound like a caricature of what music is supposed to be.
Here is where I will stop this week, to pick up exactly from here, where I’ll discuss some of the current trends and situation in our Nigerian music scene.