Charity, they say, begins at home. It has therefore become quite important for
us to highlight the rapidly dwindling appreciation for the cultural
impact of our music on our immediate society.
Gone are the days when the artists who are truly able to hold their own on the soil
of this country back to back survived the harsh breakthrough system that
the industry is bedevilled with as a whole.
For a little over five years now, very few artists have been able to keep up their career with hits that are certified both locally and internationally.
The best we’ve seen is a sizeable majority of artists sacrificing their local core fans for the joy and remuneration involved in chasing international glory.
Kudos to artists like Wizkid & Burna Boy who’d all staked their career to ensure
that Africa cracked the Billboard Hot 100,
the plain truth is that it would still have been done regardless of whether these
specific artists were the headliners involved or not.
In the past year, our two biggest artists have consistently failed to dominate the local charts despite continuous release of material they calculated would sit down well with the audience following the success of their latest projects outside the shores of Africa.
This occurrence shows the rising irrelevance of the core audience while these artists are making music, if at the end of the day it doesn’t resonate with them and fails to perform well on the home front.
The only Nigerian artists who have been able to maintain their career success by continuously maintaining their dominance of the local charts and pipelines are Davido and Olamide.
Although acts like Wiz and Burna have found a way to secure global acceptance, Davido and Olamide however have continued to ensure that their hold on the core audience has not diminished in any way.
In 2021, without any personal track, Davido dominated both local Nigerian charts, and topped most African music charts still retaining his hold as the Nigerian with the largest number of subscribers on YouTube without a “successful crossover album”. It is apparent that with Davido’s local and African influence, he’s still able to go head to head with Grammy Awards winners and hold his own when it comes to impact and even numbers.
Olamide’s Carpe Diem & UY Scuti projects have been two of the most celebrated Afrobeats projects in the past five years, not only because of Olamide’s personal commitment to artistic reinvention, but also his ability to continually retain the originality of his sound no matter how far it is stretched to accommodate other elements.
The core of Olamide & Davido’s music has remained the same over the years, ensuring that their fans who’ve been a part of their different individual journeys from the beginning can still lay a claim to their recent projects.
If truth be told, Wizkid had to resort to crafting an entire “Alté-based” album in order to reach a new peak in his career, a feat that Olamide has done over and over again in the course of his 10 year album stretch without having to alienate his audience. At the moment, it is hard for an act like Wizkid to recreate encompassing hit songs like before, because unlike in the past his hits can no longer resonate with his core audience.
As for Burna Boy, it is high time Nigerians accept that there may be nothing exceptional about his talent aside from his ability to recreate the best of Fela’s old hits. All his attempts at dropping a post-album single that can rival his last certified hot single Ye has proven abortive with tracks like question performing way below the bar.
Even a feature with Polo G did nothing to his career locally, neither did his presence on Justin Bieber’s album or his feature with Sam Smith. As much as they increased his listener base tremendously and contributed to his successful arena concerts all over Europe and the United States, within Africa the impact of these global features and chart hopping can mostly be heard in Africa not actually felt.
It is an eyesore that despite Burna Boy being the only Nigerian artist with over 200M streams on Boomplay, these streams do not convert into actual impact within the Nigerian music space.
Acts like Olamide, Davido, however, have remained true to the local game since they made their industry appearance and continue to keep the fans at the heart of their music, making sure that with every release, their hold on their core fans and audience gets even more strengthened.
There is only one conclusion here, the best artists are those who are able to maintain a stronger foothold here at home than outside the country. What makes Ye any different from Oliver Twist if it’s this hard for Burnaboy to deliver another hit song that will make an impact both here and in the western world.
Written by AfrobeatsMerije.
Bisi-Taiwo Chukwumerije is a blood-bound Nigerian writer & Music Executive.
Tweet your favourite, random, mind-boggling songs, EPs, LPs, Albums, & music projects to him; @AfrobeatsMerije.
Filed Under: News / 4 months ago