Africa’s Owning the Spotlight

BEYONCE’S ALBUM “THE GIFT” HAS GOT THE WORLD VIBING TO THE SOUND OF AFRICA

Source: Waploaded

Source: Waploaded

Following a successful premier of the Lion King movie, star artiste Beyonce Knowles-Carter released a one of its kind album and it has got the world in some sort of “spirit” mode. The movie which would see the star artiste play the role of Nala (Simba’s love affair – in the movie) was originally released in 1994 as a cartoon produced by Walt Disney. I practically grew up watching that cartoon, I think I must have seen it nearly a thousand times, to the point I could recite the lines of each character word for word. To be honest, Scar was my best character – he had a goal and he was determined to get it no matter what – he was ambitious, although he was cunning, a sly guy, and a liar (characters I don’t approve of).

I am particularly excited that such an album was released in my time. I guess it’s just the right time for Africa to feel the limelight for a bit and an opportunity for us to get this sound that we love so much to eardrums beyond our shores on a larger scale. Beyonce Knowles-Carter said that this album is her to gift to Africa and as such she set out to work with the best of the best in the African entertainment industry. The album featured many of Africa’s finest musicians such as Wizkid, Yemi Alade, Burna Boy, Mr Eazi, Tiwa Savage, Tecno, Shatta Walle, and more. 

One of the most difficult things I encountered while listening to this album was picking a favourite song, the album is simply phenomenal and if you haven’t heard it yet, I TINK you should and if you already have, kindly leave your thoughts on any of the songs in the comment section below.

Shining light on Surulere, the Silent Entertainment Hub in Nigeria

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Surulere, one of the major areas in Lagos, Nigeria sits 18.1Km away from the State’s Capital Ikeja. Surulere translates to “Patience is Virtue” in Yoruba language, one of major languages spoken in the country. Beyond the existence of a lifestyle reflecting patience, hard work as a lifestyle is evident in this region. Surulere as a residential and commercial Local Government Area stands as one of the most vibrant areas in the Lagos mainland, mostly known for being a boiling point for the city’s Sports and athletic affairs. The region houses two international sport venues and this spirit is evident in its resident’s energetic display. Sports accounts for one of the Nigerian major source of entertainment and this has Surulere boiling over constantly with activities surrounding Sports. It’s easy to see culture reflected in the lives of the region’s residents, as most inhabitants of the area and its surroundings are wake early to jog, cycle or run along the road close to and around the National Stadium. Rich and overflowing with businesses, Surulere has a large number of the most prominent Clothing stores, Interior Design boutiques, car dealer shops and sports shops popular on the mainland area. Asides staying bubbly all day, there is no sleep in Surulere too; numerous bars, lounges, clubs and pubs, gives enormous life to the area’s effervescent night life.

Considering these realities, it’s no surprise that region today is giving birth to an increasing number of bright stars, covering sports, music and movies. One of these stars is the very iconic Afropop star, Wizkid aka Starboy. Wizkid the young artiste who is redefining Afropop across the world has paid homage to his humble roots, Ojuelegba in Surulere in a track titled “Ojuelegba”. On the single, he sang and recounted the huge influence his birth place played in shaping and forming him into the star he is today “Ni ojuelegba - in Ojuelegba / they know my story / From Mo'Dogg studio/ I be hustle to work…” Wizkid today might be named as the most successful and most iconic Afropop artiste in Contemporary Nigerian Music scene. The 27 year old is going places many before and after him can only dream of. With numerous enviable awards, international features, international tours and a number of world billboard charts tops tied to his name, this young star is putting not just Nigeria but Africa on the global map with his artistry like no other African Artiste of his time. Among his numerous endorsements is one with the international beverage giant, Pepsi reportedly worth 350,000 U.S dollars! Time and time again Wizkid has named his Surulere root as one of his biggest influence.

An interesting element of influence to Wizkid’s success story is the late, legendry Music producer and artiste OJB Jezreel. OJB, another Surulere born and bred icon played a key role in laying Wizkid’s career foundation. OJB was a strong pillar in building the bubbling Music industry both as a Producer and as an artiste. He released unforgettable singles like ‘Searching’ and ‘Pretete’ amongst others.  At the peak of his career, he worked with 2face Idibia, single handedly producing 'Face 2 Face' album; the album which had the singles “African Queen” and “Ole”. African Queen brought home to Nigeria for the first time the MTV Best African Act award (2005) and was used as an original soundtrack for the film Phat Girlz, an applaud worthy feat at the time. Beyond 2face, OJB worked with Bennie Man, Faze, Iyanya, D'banj, Durella, Wizkid, Yemi Alade, Jazzman Olofin, Weird MC, Paul Ik Dairo, Daddy Showkey, Sir Shina Peters, Olu Maintain to mention a few.

 

I can’t say for sure if it’s something in air or in the water at Surulere but another fast rising star has sprouted out from this same area and has mentioned her participation in Her local church Choir perhaps back in her Surulere place of birth as a strong foundation to the start of her career. Simi, the new Nigerian music sweetheart is stealing the heart of the country and the continent at a rate no one expected. In the highly competitive Nigerian Music industry, one notably ruthless to women, Simi stands out and has kept her success pace rising through the years. She’s set to release her second studio album titled after her, “Simisola”. Simi was born back in 1988 in Ojuelegba, Surulere just like Wizkid. Today she has a number of hit singles, features, quite a load of nominations and awards to her name in a rather short period of time.

 

The Surulere light shines beyond the music industry, into the local Movie industry so much so that it has been named by some the entertainment capital of Nigeria mostly for the role it played and still plays in producing fresh crop of Actors and Movie producers. Surulere has been recognised by many as the official birthplace of Nollywood. Though in recent times due to the high cost of production in Lagos, Film production has since moved to other cities down the South East, especially Asaba, an otherwise sleepy and calm town, Surulere still plays a role in housing many production houses and studios. Nollywood resonates across Africa into distant continents telling authentic Nigerian and African stories in the most Original ways. During the early stages of the industry back in Surulere, movies were popularized at first through video cassettes which traded locally and across Africa, today the industry has a number of channels on satellite and cable television channels, as well as on streaming services like iRokoTV. Though most Nollywood movies are delivered in English and local Nigerian languages, Francophone African countries now tune into the buzzing industry through, a satellite channel called Nollywood which offers viewers round-the-clock movies dubbed into French.

A number of active Nollywood actors like Ramsey Noah, Desmond Elliot, Damiola Adegbite, Linda Ejiofor amongst others have mentioned Surulere as their birthplace, root and center of influence into stardom.

EP Review: Sounds from the Other Side

EP Review: Sounds from the Other Side

The Sounds from the Other Side EP portrayed a completely versatile Wizkid, One conscious of his new status as the unofficial King of Afropop Home and Abroad. The EP featured all international artistes - Drake, Major Lazer, Chris Brown, TY Dolla Sign, Trey Song, Efya and Bucie. The Sounds from the Other Side is a 12 tracked project, lasting for a total play time of 40 minutes. On the Project Wizkid explored genres from Naija Afropop to Afro R&B, Dancehall, Afrohouse and Afrobeat. This is his first body of work under Sony/RCA Records.

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How Do We help Wizkid Stop these Leaks?

A NEW WIZKID SONG HAS SUFFERED ANOTHER LEAK, THIS BEING THE FOURTH IN A SERIES OF CONSECUTIVE LEAKS. THIS TREND REFLECTS A NEED FOR STRUCTURE AND PROFESSIONALISM IN THE INDUSTRY. FIND OUR THOUGHTS ON THE SUBJECT.

via thenet

via thenet

Another Wizkid Song Leaked? Someone needs to stop this leaking Pipe.  Clearly, Wizkid stands as the most wanted Nigerian artistes as far as Afropop is concerned today. Afropop which dominates the country’s mainstream music reflects a vibrant Nigerian lifestyle and culture. For many, the wait for a new Wizkid track even after a just recent release has been too suspense filled and feeding on this high anticipation, the artiste has suffered recently four unplanned leaks off his coming project. These leaks include “Come Closer”, “Fool for you”, “Jaiye Jaiye featuring Angel” (remix) and just recently “African Bad Girl” featuring Chris Brown.  Speculations are that the four tracks are to appear on his coming EP, “Sounds from the Other Side”. Each leak has forced the artiste to counter the spread with a quick release of the original and complete single.  If Wizkid was not an established artiste we would have thought this to be a stunt, testing the waters of acceptance, but clearly these leaks are real and testing strategy. Someone somewhere (perhaps within the artiste’s camp) is messing with the order of events and this is not just unfair. Following Wizkid’s performance of the track at the Chris Brown Concert in South Africa and other subsequent performances of the track alongside Chris Brown during his 2015 world tour, the world has been waiting for this track and to see all that hype messed up in a leak just ruins a good, strategic build up. The very much anticipated track which would had caused a possible bigger quake than “Come Closer” has found itself in an unfair leak.                                                                                                                        

Considering the fact that the Nigerian Music streaming and distribution industry is rather still at its formative stages, what really may be the motivation behind these repeating leaks has remained confusing. It is important to note that these leaks are detrimental to ‘Sounds from the Other Side’s release thereby affecting the artiste’s profit. Due to the increase in frequency of these leaks, the coming project can lose required anticipation which should build up to reflect on purchase and overall profit. If his fans get to download these leaks on free blogs would they bother with purchase when the projects gets released?  Wizkid and his team needs to work out property protection and security. Hopefully this also teaches other artistes to be more careful with sharing and project protecting. The Nigerian Music is fast growing into an international phenomenon and basic issues like professionalism security, piracy and property protection must be worked out fast to ensure progress.  In case you know better, please tell us how do you think we can help Wizkid stop these Leaks?

Come Closer: Nigeria to the World!

THE VIDEO TO THE LONG AWAITED "COME CLOSER" SINGLE IS OUT AND IT IS A CELEBRATION OF EVERYTHING AFRICA, WE THINK THIS MEANS MUCH FOR THE FUTURE OF NIGERIAN MUSIC AND HERE IS WHY

Photo via africanentertainment

Photo via africanentertainment

Wizkid last year shook Africa and the rest of world in the Drake feature “One Dance”, though we cannot for sure say there is any evident bromance between the two, we sure are certain the two enjoy working with each other, from Drake’s Covering “Ojuelegba” to Drake featuring Wizkid on “One dance” and now Wizkid featuring Drake on his newest single “Come closer”, the Sony/RCA act and the OVO Sound artist are back with a banger!

Photo via NotJustOk

Photo via NotJustOk

Audio:

The Single which was produced by the Sarz served a laid back Jamaican Islandish tune. Wizkid brought summer close into April with this new tune. With a fresh delivery of Afropop laced in Jamacian Patwa, Wizkid sang every line in his usual style. The track which first leaked into the internet earlier in the year got released officially last week and since then has gathered millions of streams on streaming platforms across the global. From iTunes to Spotfiy, “Come Closer” in just one week is gaining massive streaming counts.

Video:

Nigerian Born Director, Daps who lives in UK proved himself iconic in this video. The former NCAA athlete turn Director who has directed and co-directed visuals for big international names such as Iggy Azalea, Kendrick Lamar, Jordin Sparks, and 2 Chainz directed the “Come closer” Visual.

The studio shot video was it clean union of two continents in joyful matrimony. Africa married the west in a seamless mix. A vibrant culture banquet you can’t watch just once! The video projected a new side of a grown Wizkid; happier, freer and bolder. The opening shot showed a new Wizkid in dyed hair, as brown as animal fur vibing to the beat, Daps switched up quick yet engaging shots one scene after another keeping us glued the video from start to end. With fast monochrome zigzag markings flashing across the screen, the video was a celebration of everything Africa! Wizkid being conscious of this voiced in the single “African-born, me rep my ting, yo, Me come clean like me come inna me video”. Colourful African beads, head wraps and bangles met Adidas sneakers, Denims married Ankara prints and African Stomp united with western steps.

Projecting black African women, the visual showed black models with face painting and body markings as is popular in many African cultures, dancing together and with Wizkid. There were references and expressions pointing to the rich biodiversity of Africa, from fur jackets to the presence of a real life tropical Zebra in the studio! The video did justice to the laid back mood of the song.

In all this, there was an absence of Drake in the Visuals, though we cannot for sure say why, the excellence of the video kept us excited all through and we really cannot care much.

What does this mean for Nigerian Music?

Nigerian Music popularly known as Afropop, clearly has grown into one huge export for the country. Across Africa and through the West, Nigerian Music stands out for its unique upbeat pop sound. Currently celebrated across the globe for disrupting the usual world music genre, AfroPop is standing out and is gaining strong recognition in international music markets. With the record breaking strides “One dance” came with, one can only expect even more expansion for Nigerian Music with this Drake featured single; more international recognition, more international signings and newer deals. This possibly may spread into other wings of the entertainment company and we are so hopeful about this. Simply put, this means further globalization of African Music.

See video below: