The Nigerian music industry is finally getting the recognition it rightfully deserves, no more than the recent Grammy award win by Burna Boy and Wizkid! Our beats and lyrics (with some howbeit in either pidgin or our local dialect) have now gained international recognition. A lot of our artists have gone ahead to do collaborations with A-list Artists abroad with the likes of Beyonce; Meek Mill; T-Pain; Akon; Rick Ross…etc
Whilst we can name and celebrate some of these Nigerian artists that are currently doing exceptionally well, with the likes of Wizkid; Davido; Burna Boy; 2Baba; Mi; Olamide…and a few new kids on the block like, FireBoy; JoeBoy; Oxlade; Tems; Bad Boy Timz; Bella Shmurda; Rema…the list is endless!, what about the no less talented artists that have showed up on the scene at one point but have now fizzled out? Does it require other things or qualities aside talent to “BLOW” in the Nigerian music industry?!
Burna Boy rose to prominence in the Nigerian music space in 2012 when he released “Like to party” and like wild fire, his music quickly spread both locally and internationally which has rightfully culminated in his Grammy award win. Some of these artists that have showed up and fizzled out can be said to be as equally talented as Burna; Wizkid; Wande Coal..etc that are doing well now. So, what happened? Why has the likes of Burna stayed longer in the game than these other folks?
Let’s use Tuface or 2Baba like he prefers to be called as a case study. 2Baba has been in the game for a very long time, from the his days in the group Plantation Boyz and he is still very much in the game right now. 2baba has six solo albums; one reloaded project and two group albums to his name and some of these albums were way before this massive opportunity to promote your album on social media. So, how come 2Baba have stayed relevant in our music industry for so long (talent aside) :
- MUSIC LABEL – The music label an artist is signed unto can make or mar his/her career. When 2Baba left Plantation Boyz and got signed to Kennis Music, the marketing machinery in place at that label gave his career a massive boost! Baba Keke and Dayo-D1 did an incredible job promoting 2baba’s craft! From his first album in 2004 (Face to Face), the publicity and marketing 2Baba got was unprecedented in the Nigerian music space! So, new and upcoming acts in the industry must be sure that the label they are about to sign unto can help PUSH their music career forward. They must ascertain that the label have the required resources to help them “BLOW” and not just think their talent is enough to give them the push they need. No matter how good your product is, you can’t sell it in the dark! The likes of Burna; Wizkid etc have got massive local and international labels and Ad Agencies helping to push their craft.
- CREATIVITY – 2Baba have definitely evolved over time. His sound; his lyrics and general Music direction have evolved over-time. A lot of the artists that have come and gone never evolved! They never improved on their sound and music direction. Afrobeats keeps evolving! That’s why even other cultures are beginning to accept Afrobeats. Wizkid; Davido; Wande Coal; Tiwa Savage…all these guys keep improving their sound and lyrics. There’s always something to look forward to every time they release a new album. The new kids on the block MUST learn this very quickly and know how to improve on their craft consistently if they don’t want to be just a flash in the pan. You can release a banging single this year and by next year no one remembers you! The Nigerian music industry can be that brutal!
- FANSHIP – Every artist must find a way to leverage his/her fanbase and know how to constantly reach out to them either directly or through other channels like the several social media platforms available. Even if you don’t have a single or an album in the works, find a way to constantly wet their appetite. 2Baba, thanks to the push his brand has received over time, is always in shows and concerts! He is always in our face and our ears! We have all grown to love him the more. 2Baba wasn’t the all when he was in Plantation Boyz? Faze and Black Face were equally good but the Kennis Music Marketing machinery gave his brand a massive push! The current crop of new acts in the industry must learn this and find a way to consistently stay in the face and ears of their fans. They must recognise that they are not just artist but are in a music BUSINESS! The time spent on social media should be INTENTIONAL! They should always remember to use it to promote their craft and engage their fans. Not trolling anyone.
In conclusion, Nigeria has got a massive and thriving entertainment industry and the music industry is a major part of that entity. The future is even brighter with the likes of Burna Boy and Wizkid winning us a global award! Now the world will pay more attention to our rythm. Afrobeats for life!!