Nigerian music has come a long way. While we may have stuttered along the way, we seem to have found solutions to some of the problems facing our music. This is not saying we are now perfect, on the contrary we still have a lot to do. But I know our sound can only get better from this point onwards. 2015 had its ups and downs for Nigerian musicians. While some of them came out on top, others did not fare so well. Read on to see how our music fared in 2015.
The rise of alternative music
2015 was the year Nigerian alternative music came to the forefront. The likes of The Collectiv3 (who in my opinion had the best album of 2015), Omotayo, Aramide, Bez, NayoSoul, Simi, Adekunle Gold and Brymo all put out exceptional songs that helped give the alternative sound a larger audience in Nigeria.
We saw our accts collaborate with more international acts in 2015. But 2 artistes stand out in this regard, Wizkid and Davido. Wizzy had collabos with Drake, Skepta, TY Dolla Sign, Chris Brown (Allegedly) and R. Kelly. While Davido featured Meek Mill and Trey Songz. Other acts who featured int’l stars include Runtown (DJ Khaled, Walshy Fire) Praiz (Diana King) amongst others.
DJ’s put out more works
Our disc jockeys were not left out too. DJ Spinall and DJ Xclusive even put out full albums. DJ Neptune, DJ Kaywise, DJ Shabsy, DJ TTB, DJ Lambo, and the legendary DJ Jimmy Jatt were some of the DJs that put out their own songs this year.
A lot of concerts
Event organisers trying to leverage on the growing audience our music now has, organized countless shows.there was hardly any week where there wasn’t one show or the other. There was just one winner from all this, The Nigerian artist.
Olamide’s work ethic
As I was writing this post, the news broke that Olamide had released 2 brand new videos. This just confirms what we already knew. Baddo is the most consistent musician in Nigeria presently. The YBNL boss has put out 5 albums in 5 years in addition to featuring in over 100 songs! One is forced to wonder how he does it. Let’s wait and see what Olamide will give us in 2016. In the meantime, Oya Shakitibobo!
Desperate PR stunts (Skiibii, Cynthia Morgan)
In an age where even the most talented musicians have to struggle to get our attention, one can understand why some resort to ‘outrageous ways’ to promote their songs. 2 musicians come to mind. Skiibii and female act Cynthia Morgan. Skiibii reportedly faked his death while it was the cover pic for Cynthia’s single ‘Baby Mama’ that earned her infamy. I know both acts must have learnt their lessons.
Few standout new artists
My colleague over at Pulse Joey Akan wrote an article about how we had a less number of new acts who stood out this year. Hear him: “2015 has been a drought year for the country’s upcoming acts. Last year was an anomaly. We had Runtown, Patoranking, Cynthia Morgan, Di’ja, Reekado Banks, Korede Bello, Lil Kesh, and Simi embrace stardom. In 2013, only Sean Tizzle (‘Shoo Le’), and Kcee (‘Limpopo’) walked down the aisle, and got wedded into pop bliss. This year, only Kiss Daniel stands out.” Will upcoming acts fare better in 2016? Only time would tell.
Telco endorsement deals galore
The list of celebrities who got endorsement deals this year is quite long. While some were well deserved, others are questionable. Airtel and Etisalats flexed their muscles too by signing a few cwlwbs too. Wizkid’s move from MTN to GLO was a game changer and how Don Jazzy managed to get every artiste on MAVIN records an endorsement deal still astounds me. This brings me to my next point.
The Mavin dominance
Mavin records under the helm of Don Jazzy has emerged as unarguably Nigeria’s top record label. Apart from the reason stated above, the label is responsible for one of the most popular songs of the year, Korede Bello’s ‘Godwin.’ Even though its first lady Tiwa Savage took some time off, Di’Ja filled the vacuum nicely. Don Jazzy also emerged from his producer shell to claim his place as a top vocalist. We can’t wait to see what they have in store for 2016.
Pasuma dropped a hip hop album
Fuji star Wasiu Alabi Pasuma surprised all when he revealed his plans to release a hip hop album before the end of the year. When he released the first single and video, most still did not believe that ‘Oga Nla’ was serious until he released the album ‘My World’. Truth be told, i was impressed with some of the tracks on the album.
Missing in action: Omawumi and Tiwa savage
This year 2 superb female musicians Omawumi and Tiwa Savage were missing in action. Omawumi as a result of her pregnancy, the same reason why Tiwa was also absent. While they were away, the likes of Seyi Shay and Yemi Alade worked tirelessly to grow their own respective fan base. However, both Tiwa and Omawumi have since given birth and hit the ground running. Tiwa has released her sophomore album RED and Oma-wonder is putting finishing touches to hers.
Election largesse: APC vs. PDP
This year also saw our musicians take sides during the general elections which is natural. Things turned ugly when it was time to share the money politicians gave to them. Allegations and counter allegations filled the air at this point. Also the likes of Muma Gee, 9ice and Tony Tetuila threw in their hat in the election ring. But sadly none of them emerged victorious. Better luck next time.
MI becoming Nigeria’s ‘Jay z’
Chocolate City’s long time CEO Audu Maikori quit his role as President to take up the position of Chairman of the Choc City group appointing Jude ‘M.I Abaga’ in his place. He also appointed Ice Prince as a vice president. So when M.I rapped that he was Africa’s Jay Z in the making, he wasn’t wrong.
PSquare vs. Soundcity
When an inquisitive fan asked why P Square’s videos were not aired on TV station Soundcity, little did we know that this innocent question would lead to a ‘storm’ on social media with the Okoye brothers (all three of them) and Soundcity’s Olamide Adedeji as participants.
Basketmouth vs. Sean Tizzle
Comedian Basketmouth was also in the news for a lot of reasons. But his rift with musician Sean Tizzle comes to mind. While we are still not clear on what happened, Sean Tizzle is still banned from performing at any of his shows.
Olamide accused of intellectual theft
Baddo was accused by DeeVee a producer under D’banj’s DB records of intellectual theft. According to him, the idea for some songs on Olamide’s recent Eyan Mayweather album were stolen from DB records. While D’banj has come out to say he doesn’t feel Olamide’s action is stealing, we hope this matter is settled as quickly as possible.
D’banj’s debt mess
D’banj is a lot of things. Legendary musician, world class entertainer and agro business investor. But did you ever think the tag ‘Serial debtor’ would be attached to his name? Well it was. The koko master was alleged to be indebted to at least 3 people to the tune of N60 million. We hope Banga lee has paid back his debts so he can focus on his career.
Waje fighting the girl child’s cause
Waje deserves plaudits for her continuous fight for the rights of the girl child. Waje via her foundation Waje’s Safe House has brought the plight of the girl child to the fore front. This year she launched a worldwide campaign for gender equality and opportunity tagged #AfricanWoman. She also found the time to give us new music. Her song Left for good ft Patoranking is a favourite of mine.
The rise of Vic O
Vic O was described as a marketing genius by pop culture enthusiast and editor in chief of Pulse.ng Osagie Alonge. Maybe that’s were his true talents lie because his songs are ………………. fill in the gap.
The emergence of Suka Sounds
If it was just 3 songs that were produced in 2015, it is a fact that Suka (real names Suka Andrew) worked on 2 of them. The Plateau state born sound engineer became a mainstay of the industry in 2015.
2Shotz accused of domestic violence
This is not the headline we expected to see attached to veteran rapper 2Shotz’s name. The Umunamo boss was accused by his estranged wife of domestic violence. She also said she was practically the breadwinner of the family as she paid for his musical needs. So far, 2shotz hasn’t told his side of the story yet. But we are waiting to see how this plays out.
If you feel we skipped or missed any happenings in the Nigerian music industry in 2015, please feel free to leave us a message in the comments section.