November 5, 2015
liufadmin (615 articles)
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Case study – Nigerian Music Industry & Freestyle

My definition of the Nigerian music industry is an industry run rampant by a lot of noisemakers and few actual musicians;an industry where great music died at the turn of the century with a minute number trying to show that songs with good lyrical content can come out of Nigeria; a place where those who freestyle seem to be climbing a slippery wall to the top, are yet to be recognised but appear to keep falling after barely making a feet up and wondering why they are still at ground level; a place where those who have been doing everything right before deciding to freestyleare like sky diving head first without a parachute and wondering where it all went wrong.

When you listen to the likes of Fela and Lagbaja back then, you get a feel of what I mean. It is as if they are wasting beats (instrumentals);we hear a line of lyrics about every 7 seconds and they allow the beats play on; they speak to you for a while again and the beats play out again. You find out that every line they sing, every word has a meaning, a deep meaning that the feeble minds of this generation who make noise on beats and those who enjoy listening to them cannot even understand.

Consider Wande Coal, his song Ololufe under Mo’Hits is still a great song;he decided to join the ranks of freestylers but only for him to fall terribly down the pecking order. Timaya’s first album was bliss, it spoke of the true pain and story behind Bayelsa and the struggles embedded with it; he was rewarded with instant fame. He moved and now it’s from one stereotypical song to the next. Another terrible surprise is Faze, then Terry G; truly the list is endless.

With the emergence of Darey, Cobhams, Banky W, Asa, Timi Dakolo, Bez, Praiz, Niyola, Waje, Nikki Laoye amongst others we have hope again. I truly believe that they can restore the lost glory of good lyrics to the music industry, I daresay that now the buzz created from the news of a new Terry G track wouldn’t be anything compared to the ones created then. People wonder why artistes like Tuface, Asa, Banky W, Darey are always recognised. There is a growing population of people who want to hear good music and cannot wait for these to bring out new tracks.
These artistes seem to do it effortlessly; even if they simply release a track to ‘play and tease’ like Darey’s ‘Ba niki di’ people still get down to it and jam it constantly.

Yeah, the noisemakers still have purpose, we still need songs to dance and grind to at the club and parties, but the real question any Nigerian musician should ask is, “if fans couldn’t get your albums free online, how many of them would actually pay on music platforms like iTunes, Spotify, etc. to get your albums/songs?”
“…I will never play you like pele, say I would never do you wrong, I’ll always do you right, you know, say baby stop stop, yeyeye, mo ti so fun e peteletele, I will never play you like pele, say I would never do you RIGHT I’ll always do you WRONG you know….” Zombie freestyle by Wizkid
(Watch out for more case studies coming up)

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