How good is Nigerian music ?
To answer that question, we must first ask ourselves if we can properly define what good music is. That question can and probably will be debated from now till the end of time. For peace to reign, we can all agree that “Good music” is relative. But even at that, there are certain songs you listen to and become instantly appalled or pleased; as the case may be.
People are different and their music preferences differ as well but that doesn’t mean that someone who predominantly listens to Afrobeats, won’t appreciate a good R & B song when he/she hears it.
Times have changed and so has the music. In a country that produced great musicians such as Fela Kuti, Ebenezer Obey, Sunny Okosun, Onyeka Onwenu, Osita Osadebe, Victor Uwaifo and a lot of other iconic musicians, it seems like we have now sunken into a wormhole full of musicians with no want to create timeless music. All they do is go with the trends of the day, be it the “pon pon” sound (which we allegedly stole from Ghana) or the wobe/shaku shaku sound.
These artists dominate the mainstream entertainment industry by no fault of theirs. They are able to stay relevant with their mediocre lyrics because the fans support them. These same fans occasionally lament about the poor quality of Nigerian music while being “stans” for these mediocre artists. I call them realistic sycophants.
The real problem is not that we have a lot of underwhelming musicians, it’s that there are a lot of promising acts who have refused to conform to the trends of the day but have chosen to be true to their art. These new age artists defy the things as they are by constantly creating music that has both great lyrical quality and resonates with whoever listens to it.
Some of these artists have been able to break into the mainstream scene and have developed a huge fan base who are in love with their music. The likes of Simi, Ycee, Adekunle Gold and Burna Boy are part of this select few. While most of the new school artists haven’t achieved the level of recognition as their mediocre counterparts, their music has created a kind of cult following for them and this has helped to separate them from the pack.
Unfortunately, the state of music in Nigeria is largely dependent on the level of support these new school artists get from the fans. It’s time for the fans to put aside their drive-by criticism of Nigerian music and fully embrace these new artists.
Some of these artists include Odunsi, Boj, Davina Oriakhi, Remy Baggins, Johnny Drille, LA, Milli, Lady Donli, Ajebutter22, Straffitti, Funbi, Efe Oraka, Aramide, Chyn, Fasina, Minz, Santi, Tomi Thomas, Terry Apala, Nonso Amadi, Bella Alubo, Dapo Tuburna, Joyce Olong, Tay Iwar, Sute, Jinmi Abduls, Tyor, Enzo, Boogey, Lindsey Abudei, Paybac, Dusten Truce, Blaqbones, Zirra and a lot of others.
Fortunately, there are veterans in the Nigerian music scene who have always stayed true to their art and have consistently released great music through the years. The likes of Brymo, Black Magic, Bez, Show Dem Camp, M.I Abaga, Mojeed, Jesse Jagz, Asa, Nneka and Vector fit into this category.
There is good music in Nigeria, if you don’t know that; you’re probably listening to the wrong people.
Words by: Excel Joab