Saturday, 17 August 2013

Wizkid, Olamide, Nigerian Music and Matters Arising [By Osarumwense Osayiwu]


I was having a conversation with a colleague of mine when a Wizkid song came on. Now, this colleague is an avid music lover, and also works in the music industry. So imagine my surprise when he asked me the name of the song playing. I replied him and what he said next to me stuck; “Wizkid stays dropping new stuff. I can’t keep up.”



That statement is understandable when you consider the fact that in June & July this year alone, nine songs with Wiz’s name on each one have been released on the Internet.

Another artiste tapping into the ‘music dropping fever’ right now is Olamide. Probably seeing how well Wizkid’s strategy is working for him, Olamide has also been releasing music like it’s going out of fashion. Olamide’s ‘YBNL’ album was released November 2012. The self proclaimed ‘Badoo’ could have milked hit singles “First of All” & “Stupid Love” for all they were worth and no one would fault him for it. But two months after YBNL, “Rayban Abacha” was already pumping in speakers on the streets. “Durosoke” followed in May 2013 and is already one of the biggest songs this year.


Word on the streets is Olamide’s presently working on his third album, also slated for a 2013 release! If he pulls that off, he’d be the first Nigerian rapper to drop two albums in consecutive years. That’s grinding; hard work personified. He wasn’t joking when he said on his “Confession Aiye” track, “I fell off after my first album, now I’m back again/but I no go let them give me first attack again.”

Now, all artistes may not share the same game plan as Wizkid and Olamide. I’ll bore you recounting the success stories of the biggest names in Nigerian music, each unique and peculiar in its own. Releasing music every week also is not a guarantee that an artiste will ‘blow.’


Beazy released a song every week for 52 weeks in 2011. Despite the obvious amount of work he put in – and pressure he was under –Beazy still didn’t achieve significant mainstream success. What he did achieve however was recognition and better workmanship. On the second round of his ‘Beazy Music Mondays’, everyone noticed his musical growth. With a wider listening audience and more people willing to work with him, it would be fair to say Beazy’s hard work is gradually paying off.


The reality is that only a few artistes can afford to go off the scene for long periods, come back and still expect to make a splash; except you’re an Eminem or Sade Adu. Eminem came back after a four-year drug induced sabbatical to release ‘Relapse’. The album got him two Grammy Awards. Sade’s ‘Soldier in Love’ was the band’s first release in ten years. Fans showed how much the band had been missed when the record moved 502, 000 copies in the United States alone, all in the first week of its release.


As far as our industry is concerned, I believe the only artiste that can take that risk is 2Face who has already attained legendary status. If you doubt that, just ask Wande Coal what a four-year absence can do to an artiste’s career. This is probably one of the reasons why a Wizkid stays on his grind, hitting the studio ever so often, steady dropping new music.


Writers want to write but never actually challenge themselves to say I’ll write one article or story every single day or week. Artistes want to have the next big hit, but never actually hit the studio every single day to record. Granted, all the song won’t be classics, but you will get better at making music, simply because ‘you get better at anything, the more you practice it’. But some artistes would rather wait for the record label to say “It’s time to drop the single. Oya enter the studio”. 

Hard-work however isn’t the only ingredient in the formula for long term, sustainable success. There are other important elements like focus, discipline, having the right team and timing. But at the very core of all these elements is hard-work. There’s no short-cut around it; and it doesn’t matter your field or area of expertise. Just be on your grind.

Culled from HIP HOP WORLD


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