The Nigerian music industry has always been forefront in entertainment across Africa, especially in the area of music. Despite the interesting competition in the industry, there is still enough room and love to go round. It is also remarkable that despite the nation’s bad economy which can be summed up as comatose, the music sector has continued to thrive.
The rapid growth experienced in the industry within the past few years has been monumental to say the least. Music is no longer a lazy man’s hustle, it now serves in different interesting capacities. Most popularly as the quickest springboard to fame and a goldmine among many others.
Nigerian Music Industry
Without proper documentation, our music culture which recently began to gain international recognition has evolved at a very fast pace but. The advent of the internet and social media revolutionized the global scene. It has also brought entertainers closer to their audience. And it is proving to be much more useful in Nigeria; as a digital library in the cause of documentation and viral marketing/promotion.
In the days of CDs and USBs, launching an effective promotion required production of hundreds of promo copies. You had to buy TV time to reach out. Now music promotion is easy by the internet and social media. It is practically controlling every aspect of the media including TV.
Armed with an array of talent (artistes, sound engineers, writers and instrumentalists), wealthy sponsors, professional managers, top PR teams and reputable showcase platforms such as awards and music festivals, the Nigerian music industry is fully geared for global conquest. But without the proper documentation of our progress, we are bound to lose touch with our genesis.
Soon we will forget the road-map that led us to our music El Dorado. Now apart from being the #1 entertainment destination in Africa; celebrities can now compared to internationally renowned superstars.
And with the globally exploits of our artistes, it is just a matter of time before the subject of our music origins falls under global scrutiny. It is a only a matter of time before foreign pundits begin to give varying verdicts and narratives about our art. Maybe then we would wake up and realize the importance of this phase.
A short walk down memory lane
The major turning points in mainstream music within the last 10 years include the entry of late indigenous rapper, DaGrin. He made indigenous rap fit into mainstream music. Most notably, the defunct Mo hits crew who featured Snoop Dogg in the billboard hit “Mr. Endowed”; a collaboration that improved the international relations and perspective of our music industry.
Ever since, others who have dared to veer international have always set the bar way ahead. Asa stormed the industry with her unique out of this world sounds. While Banky W went on to popularize the concept of “cover” with his Ebutte Metta rendition of Rihanna’s Umbrella. Terry G made crazy look cooler than Charly Boy, Mode 9 gave rap a footing in Nigeria and left MI with the burden of keeping it undiluted.
Wizkid’s entry is definitely a major turning point in music from Africa. The unseen rivalry between himself and fellow entrants, Olamide and Skales kept Wizkid on his toes. And with Olamide moving on to build his own empire and movement, the appearance of Davido appeared to be the deal breaker for everyone.
With his status showoff and extravagant spending, Davido rattled and became the new driving force in the industry. The Nigerian music industry has evolved from a mediocre affair to a war zone. A closer look at the current entertainment industry gives the illusion of an unscripted movie, with roles available for every Nigerian entertainer.
Unknown to most, especially the fast rising and next rated acts, in order to stay relevant, everybody plays a role, the goal is to find a role, build it and work with it or the tougher option, find a way to expunge the character you’d like to play.
Wizkid is the crowd’s favorite, Olamide is the king of the streets, Runtown has claimed the title of sound god, Don Jazzy is the industry mentor/ OG. D Banj is the stylish OG/business man. Tiwa Savage is the queen of pop while Simi is the Queen of vocals. Patoranking is the reggae king and Davido is money man. Falz, by channeling his reservoir of knowledge and IQ into music ultimately became the king of wordplay.
With the current “trending” family constantly dropping tracks and remaining relevant, it would seem they are sending a “buckle up” message to the next generation of artistes.
About the author
Deji Obasa is a hip hop writer, a follower of rap culture and an intellectual who is interested in research and artistic writing. He was inducted into HipHopHead as a contributor in October 2017.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of HipHopHead.