Some weeks back, Aliko Dangote clocked 60 years, with movers and shakers of the African continent’s political, economic and entertainment strata converging to be part of the merry making of not just one of the world’s outstanding entrepreneur but a colossus of the 21st century.
And owing to this, however belated I wish the richest man in Africa more of God’s speed and an increased self instinct in his conquering voyages.
Well, for the curious minds already grasp with the above paragraphs, so sorry, I’m not delving into the empire of Dangote as the richest black man in the world but the entertainment aspect that heralded his birthday celebrations and particularly the spectacular evolvement of the Nigerian musical space.
Many Nigerians heard about the Dangote’s 60th birthday, but the main party? And how it went down? I doubt. No thanks to the trending online video of the African billionaire digging to the live lyrics of Davido’s “If” alongside fellow billionaires and A-list showbiz moguls that made those of us not on the iPad guests list have a feel of what went down at the jive.
Watching the video which also had the King of juju music, Sunny Ade who was seen having a feel of Jimmy Jatt’s turntable and Psquare at the gig, one would definitely be amazed at the tremendous metamorphosis of the country’s music genres and the thrive for relevance.
To the crux of the matter, anyone birthed around 70s, 80s and early 90s must have grown with more of what present day parents called “reasonable and sensible music” as most homes are always in a competition to play the latest classics in town.
From Ebenezer Obey’s “miliki express” to the melodious tunes of King Sunny Ade. Anytime, anyday “fuji garbage” of Sikiru Ayinde “Barr.” is a dig to papas and mamas as well as Oliver d Coque’s “Mbiri ka Mbiri” and the strings of Dan Maraya – Jos is always a delight
Even among lovebirds, Onyeka Onwenu’s and Sunny Ade’s collaboration “Wait for me” back then truly depicts the popular saying among music lovers that if music is the food of love then let it play.
Each of the regions from North to South, East to West had its own unique and soul fulfilling musical variations. In the southwest, the likes of Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Sikiru Ayinde “Barr.”, Orlando Owoh, Kollington Ayinla…. as the proponents of Afro-Juju and Fuji, while in the southeast, Oliver de Coque, Osita Osadebe and Bright Chimezie institutionalised Highlife music, just as the northern Nigeria was bubbling with the functional and entertaining songs of the local Folk music genre. Bongos Ikwue, whose unique “folk-soul” style of music has enjoyed national and international acclaim, and Dan Maraya-Jos, one of northern Nigeria’s most popular folklorists whose career has taken him to many countries of the world.
Also, irrespective of the country’s geopolitical zones, religious and social strata, the satirical and pleasurable tunes of Fela Anikulapo – Kuti (Abami Eda), Sunny Okosun, Orits Williki, Christie Essien Igbokwe, Onyeka Onwenu…were a must have for every households
For many Nigerians, this period was an extremely fertile era for music in Nigeria, as the diverse cultures, each had its own unique music and in the process various variants and brands were created with most of them receiving worldwide acceptability.
In between this era which spilled into the early 90s was berthed the reggae fusion where Nigerians also had a feel of the undiluted Jamaican style courtesy, Ras Kimono, Majek Fashek, Alex Zitto, Orits Williki, Evi Edna Ogholi as well as The Mandatos who I had the privilege of staying with on the same street at Surulere as a young boy, all produced beautiful tunes that grasp the attention of the not so inclined “hip-hop hurray” of the society.
Even as a very young guy back in the days with other kids from the blocks whose interest lies in the emerging hip hop culture in Nigeria, aside its “Sunday Rendezvous” programme, NTA 2 Channel 5 was the station to watch jams of Blacky’s “Rosie”…”Can I have a dance, Rosie?”, Alex O’s “Celebrate”, Felix Liberty’s “Ifeoma”, Mike Okri’s “Omoge” and “Time Na Money” Weird MC with her “Allen Avenue Allen Avenue Allen What… ” bangers all rocking the station with radio DJs always pumping on the replay and the likes of Fada U Turn, Baba Fryo, Daddy Showkey, Daddy Fresh ruling the airwaves in the mid 90s. Part of the good old days you must be thinking.
Then the late 90s which ushered in the millennium entertainment “hybrids” was the hit. This’s the period I love to refer to as the grand entrance and the turning point in the Nigeria’s musical sphere where the real bucks and mouth watering endorsements rolled in with style. No thanks to resilience of The Remedies with the likes of Idris Abdulkareem, Eddy Montana , Tony Tetuila in the group and later Rugged Man who saved us from trio balderdash by checking their lyrical excesses couple with the solo entrance of Plantainshun Boyz who finally redirected our psyche from Western Hip-hop culture.
And since then I must say that Nigeria hip-hop style has continued to witness a surge, a furnace and a blazing trail as well as hits back to back that royals, clerics, entrepreneurs, politicians…. melodiously wiggle their waist to irrespective of the lyrics as far as the beat is hypnotic, then we are all good to go just as seen at the Dangote’s bash. Even in most comical cases, some music lovers particularly parents who have tagged it secular and worldly music with strict warnings to their wards not to join the bandwagon of the street music sometimes inadvertently forget their position and groove to the rhythm of the tune and even learn to master accompanying dance moves.
Hip – hop in the naija way is now the in thing across board, with Olamide, Davido, Wizkid….. from the southwest making waves beyond boarders, same for the eastern representatives in the like of Phyno, Flavour, Illbliss… and Ice prince Zamani, MI and co garnishing theirs with Hausa flavour.
Certainly, seeing that the train waits for no one, Afro Juju, Afro-Beat, Reggae, Juju, High-Life and Fuji maestros are infusing hip-hop swags into their thing through various “collabo” such that even the Apala genre is not left out and strictly seeking street credibility in their drive to sustain the tempo among the younger generation.
Who has listened to the latest remix of O. B. O’s “If” by one of the world’s greatest R and B star, R. Kelly? An American music legend doing justice to a Nigerian hip-hop music star song?
This means and says a lot.
In the present day Nigeria, when was the last time radio listeners requested for foreign songs… Even at night clubs? Also, compared to the past, how many foreign artistes are now being flown into the country in the name of a mega concert? Gone are those days when they took the shine with pride, even to the extent that we used to purchase lyrics booklet and memorizing its wordings.
The Nigerian Music Industry is youth driven, hence the cognizance by stakeholders at infusing indigenous wordings and contemporary slangs as wells as creative beats for the rhapsody and cloud nine ecstasy of music lovers with no need of studying any lyrical booklet because its ours and original.
For the Nigerian oldies? In all fairness, no doubt, they are still pretty much around, but in most cases they are reserved for special occasions or when the nostalgic feeling sets in, and that’s why quite a number of them have been code name “Evergreen” with the originator’s musically inclined offsprings dishing out remixes so as to appeal to the inner soul of hip-hoppers.
Wants to move along with time? Dynamism is the word, and this has been proven with the “street ti (has) take over” mantra.
Momoh is a Journalist, Writer and Blogger. Contact via firstname.lastname@example.org