2018 has been a particularly slow year for Nigerian music lovers, especially of the mainstream persuasion.
The year has gone past its mid-point and good songs accompanying the year’s progression are few and far between. Take a glance at any current list of hits and you will be hard-pressed to find a column of really great songs.
The biggest song of the moment? The choice is somewhere between Tekno’s soulful re-make of Danfo Driver’s ‘Ponlogo’ called ‘Jogolo’ and Tuface Idibia’s ‘Amaka’. If you rifle through the year thus far, you may find a few songs with streaks of magic in them. The consensus of the most popular song of the year is the Shaku-Shaku compliant ‘Codeine Diet’ and this morally depraved song is problematic in itself for what it valorises.
2017 is remembered for the back-to-back hits of Davido and Wizkid’s incursion into the American market. 2016 is remembered for the metamorphosis of Kiss Daniel, as the best year yet for Tekno (he released Pana) and the successful unveiling of Adekunle Gold. To go back into 2015 will be to remember how Falz the Bahd Guy stamped his insignia into the rap pantheon with his sophomore album ‘Stories That Touch’.
2018 is half-done and we have only a clutch of albums to appraise. M.I’s Rendez-Vous is an experimental blitz through the sonic park, we are still expecting the punches of his Kanye-Westsque line-up of projects. Skales’s Mr Love is disappointing. Victoria Kimani’s Afropolitan EP was flat. Seyi Shay’s Electric Package was low wattage. Ice Prince’s Cold was sub-zero.
Those who vote for the alternative sound must agree that Adekunle Gold’s sophomore is many shades of underwhelming. Whilst Burna Boy’s ‘Outside’ is total magic, it has been conspicuously ignored. Simi showed some promise and flashes of brilliance. Instead the music scene anticipates Wizkid’s album tentatively called ‘Made in Lagos’ while rocking to his StarBoy powered collaborations ‘Soco’ and the Duncan Mighty-featured ‘Fake Love’. The truth about these collaborations is that they are tepid place-holders. Brymo’s ‘Oso’ is moving numbers quietly becoming his best-selling album of all time.
For now, Davido seems to have a better run with his individual Reality-TV inspired love-song ‘Assurance’ and his smooth collaborations with his compadres at the Davido Music Worldwide (DMW). Frankly, if these folks have put out an entire album instead of evenly timed singles, they may actually own the airwaves in manners reminiscent of the Mo’ Hits collaborative album, ‘Curriculum Vitae’.
Instead our popular music scene is burnt and Shaku-Shaku seems to play a part in this arson. Every single, in mastering or in ideas, must be Shaku-Shaku compliant. This dance is a joy to behold but its effect is somewhat inimical to creativity. The conclusion is that a better Shaku-Shaku song is a mirage, but our artistes continue the futile ultimate search.
This might have been a good time for the alternative music scene to shine, but there is not much in terms of songs with deliberate cross-over appeal that can court the mainstream. Every day, a bevy of singles is released on music platforms on the internet but they decay when they fail to stoke the listening ear or the dance floor.
But the year is not over. There could be a dramatic change. Kiss Daniel is placing a bet on himself with his daring sophomore album titled, ‘No Bad Songz’. Cynthia Morgan has rechristened herself Madrina, so perhaps that debut dancehall album in abeyance will finally see the light of day. There may be another Mr Real in the horizon with a magical one hit wonder in the offing. But let us agree at this point that all hypemen, including Slimcase, in our music industry should be cancelled.
Who hypemen don epp?