Some very sharp and intelligent people came together a long time ago I guess, and declared that ‘change is the only constant thing in life’. And truly, out of experience, it is obvious to most reasonable people (except of course the ones that are not mentally stable) that the saying is a fact.
It is with this wise saying that I welcome you to this week’s edition of this weekly publication which will be a continuation from where I stopped off last week where I discussed and analyzed some of the changes that have taken place in our dear Nigerian music industry especially in the last decade.
I must state categorically here that the analysis and discussions in this article are based on my experiences and observations from years of constantly following Nigerian music and also as an active disc jockey who constantly interacts with Nigerian music and understands the reaction that these musical materials create among the variety of audiences who listen to them. Also, as one who has interacted with Nigerian music materials, I am to a large extent able to determine songs that have high chances of getting widespread acceptance from listeners.
And as ACCEPTANCE is the general goal of most Nigerian musicians, it influences and dictates to a large extent the sound and genre of the kind of music that they produce.
In Nigeria, the term for the type of music that gets wide acclaim is the COMMERCIAL type of music. This trend of commercial music is usually up-beat and fast tempo songs that are specially created for dance purposes. Hence, for a very long time, until very recently, it was very difficult for artistes in the R&B, Soul or Alternative genres of music attain commercial success. However, with the advent of the artistes such as Simi, Bez, Adekunle Gold, Tjan and especially Mr. Eazi(ZAGA DAT), the sound and trend of music has again witnessed a change courtesy of the materials produced by the artistes mentioned above.
I remember that up until the last quarter of the year 2016, the songs that controlled the airwaves were mostly fast tempo, commercial songs and the songs that we played at clubs that got the night crawlers happy, used to be within the 120 and 127 BPM (Beat Per Minute). My disc jockey colleagues will understand this term. But for those that don’t, the BPM determines the tempo of the song- meaning that the lower the BPM, the slower the song, but the higher the BPM, the faster the tempo of the song. And I recall correctly that till the end of last year, Nigerians were still more prone to loving the fast songs and were just getting gradually introduced to slower paced songs, the likes of Tekno’s ‘Pana’ or ‘Rara’, MrEazi’s ‘Leg Over’, ‘Bankulize’, et cetera.
I can categorically opine (my thoughts though)that the watershed that led to this shift in the musical paradigm was the release of Tekno’sPana, which further led to the widespread acceptance of the musical efforts of almost all of MrEazi work. Thank his stars that he had and still has the right platform that further pushed his brand of music which came with a Ghanaian flavour that was different and new to the Nigerian music scene.
All of a sudden, with the acceptance of Mr. Eazi’s music and his collaborations with almost all of Nigeria’s A’ list artistes, his Ghanaian sound seemed to creep into the subconscious of both audience and musicians alike. Then Boom!!! Come 2017, musical tempos decreased, the Nigerian audience transitioned from loving fast tempo songs to completely digging this new trend of mid tempo songs and these days, you’ll realize that most of the songs that get widespread airplay and acceptance all sound like the first sets of songs Mr. Eazi released.
No wonder the reason behind Mr. Eazi’s brag about he changing the Nigerian music terrain and he claiming that every Nigerian artiste was/is sounding like him.
Let me know if you share this opinion or disagree totally with what I have said. Till next week.