Dance is an integral part of cities, like Lagos, which is in constant motion.
The way Lagosians move is already dance, even if unintentional. We amble, strut, and skedaddle about our daily activities and it is a kind of dance that pays homage to an inaudible music, call it music of the soul.
And now to audible music, 2018 has been regarded as a slow year compared to previous years in terms of great musical composition. There is, of course, a need to be wary of such brazen categorization.
2018 is as much a consequence, as it is a continuation of 2017. And as with creative outputs, looking at the grand picture of a continuum is more rewarding than, say, focusing on 12 months.
That said, even though 2018 is not the best year yet, it has had its moments.
The unveiling of Teni the Entertainer, an unlikely tomboy diva, who has been belting hit song after hit song strong on melody, soulfulness and exuberance is one. It does not matter that she is the younger half-sibling to Afro-House chanteuse, Niniola. Teni is taking on the world on her own terms with songs like “Askamaya” and the evolving hit “Case”.
The yang to Teni’s ascendance is Victor AD whose hustler’s anthem “Wetin We Gain” will take you to church and then back to the streets with resounding impact. He ticks several songwriting boxes: mellifluous voice and catchy harmonies. A peek into his growing body of work is definitely reassuring.
Chinko Ekun finally got his big hit. His exit from YBNL late last year did not deter him. This year, he kept belting out songs and freestyles with accompanying videos and enjoying collaborations with slapstick Instagram comedians like Baba Adan. “Able God” is a catchy song that comes with its own Zanku dance. A growing favourite amongst the internet scammers that it valorises, its irresistible and relatable thrust is what keeps you going. And there are blessings in there too for Lil Kesh, who has been foraging for a hit for at least one year.
Tekno’s reign as go-to factory for hit songs seems to be coming to an end. His notoriously tentative first album remains elusive but “Jogodo” is that decent placeholder. A remake of Danfo Drivers’ “Polongo”, Tekno flips the script with his incisive song-writing and makes the tribute to liquor into a soulful love song. He turns a difficult lyric from the original, Aromatic Schnapps, into a neologism that fits quite remarkably to the theme of intoxicating love.
Kizz Daniel’s unmistakable voice stands out on DJ Spinall’s “Baba” but in spite of his twenty-track sophomore effort unwittingly called “No Bad Songz”, his finest outing this year is on his tribute to the Tales by Moonlight theme song with “No Do” and his duet with Davido on the bluff-calling “One Ticket”.
Old Gee Tuface wins with his contemplative and not-so-showy “Amaka”, a hapless man’s love song about disappointment. Wande Coal’s low-tempo and deliberately hushed ear-candy “So-mi-so” takes the tonic sol-fa to the realm of female body worship and wins.
But Burna Boy is the lad nobody saw coming. He straddled both halves of the year with magisterial aplomb. His Outside album was a critical success and with hit songs like Ye, he had the first half of the year on lock. He has also released elegant singles like “Gbona” and “On The Low” stirring the airwaves as we speak.
Judging by the slow-burn hits Olamide had in 2017 it is difficult to believe it’s been a slow year for him.
2017 ended with an aloof response to his seventh solo album, Lagos Nawa. He bounced back with “Science Student”, consolidated with “Kana” the flaky hit with Wizkid, but found his comfort zone on the acoustic gem, “Motigbana.”
Davido and his DMW crew have had a good outing this year. Mayorkun released his debut album The Mayor of Lagos with good reviews. Singles like “Posh” and “Che Che” ensure he gets heavy rotation.
However, Davido’s amazing form last year dropped this year behind Wizkid’s tenacity. His recruitment of his chef girlfriend as video vixen on his mawkish hit “Assurance” was outdone by Tiwa Savage playing MILF on Wizkid’s “Fever”. Wizkid’s “Fake Love” sprung Duncan Mighty from the doldrums while Tiwa Savage’s “Lova Lova” completed his rehabilitation.
With Wizkid’s much touted album on Lagos as elusive as the bush babies of boarding house lore, he is not the best artiste of 2018.
Burna Boy is.