The Afrobeat Report
Welcome back to my latest column! This month things are a little different as I’m writing this live and direct from Nigeria with a Chapman (a popular juice cocktail) in one hand and suya (kofta kebab) in the other as I look out onto a sunny, vibrant Lagos. That being said, it’s no secret that Nigeria is a powerhouse when it comes to the African music industry, producing the majority of the continent’s biggest artists, so I thought it was only right to dedicate this month’s column to the ‘Giant of Africa’ and its stars - both home and abroad...
In a star-studded ceremony that took place at Lagos’ Eco Convention Centre, Tiwa Savage picked up ‘Female Artist of the Year’ at the Ovation Awards, while Mavin Records boss Don Jazzy walked away with ‘Icon Of Music Production’. Davido scooped up ‘Male Artiste of 2012’. The night also witnessed performances from the likes of Wande Coal, Waje and Afro-Juju legend, Sir Shina Peters.
The newest addition to Iyanya’s Made Men Entertainment, Emma Nyra debuted her single ‘Ori Mi Wu’ to a host of mixed reviews, but time will tell if the Nigerian-American singer can prove to critics that she’s not just a token ‘first lady’ with more style than substance. It also looks like GRIP Muzik, a collective who didn’t break onto the Nigerian scene last year with the anticipated impact despite all the hype, are trying to turn the tide in 2013 with the release of ‘Bad Bad Bad', a dancehall-inspired R&B track produced by fellow member Chopstix (also the brains behind Ice Prince’s ‘Aboki’ and ‘More’).
Speaking of Ice Prince, the cheeky ‘Choc Boi’ was quick off the mark in January, unleashing a remix of the smash ‘Aboki’ featuring not only Ghana’s Sarkodie but Wizkid, M.I, Mercy Johnson and Kuli Chana. Ice also deviated from the usual Afropop practice and put out a no-holds-barred freestyle vid named ‘Truth’, where he addressed the ‘haters’.
Months after May D from P-Square and their label, amidst much speculation parted ways from Square Records CEO, Jude Okoye seems to have got fed up with the rumours and took to Ugandan radio to set the record straight, revealing that the ‘Gat Me High’ rapper was impatient for fame and the perks that come with it.
Staying on the theme of label splits, boy group L.O.S (Loud On Sound) called it a day with Bankhead Entertainment owned by fellow musician Banky W. The foursome made up of Yung, Briss, Bridge and Tomi Thomas who won over fans with their singles ‘Magic’ featuring Shank as well as ‘On Fire’ and ‘Bad Guy P’ announced the launch of their own outfit, L.O.S Music. Hot property of the moment, Burna Boy (no pun intended) stepped up the levels with slick visuals for ‘Tonight’ which will feature on his upcoming debut album ‘L.I.F.E.’ In a departure from his usual style, rapper Ikechukwu switched things up on ‘Balabala’ featuring Wizboy, a club-ready hi-life jam.
DB Records artist Kay Switch raised a few eyebrows with the booty-tastic video ‘Sister Caro’ which left many viewers confused (and mesmerised) at the relevance of the twerkfest to the song title. The video also featured an equally entertaining cameo from his brother and boss, D’Banj. Also, in what can only be described as random, former G-Unit frontwoman, Olivia lends her vocals to ‘Hypnotize Me’ by Olu Maintain of ‘Yahooze’ fame (I thought Liv was always cherping on about how picky she is about features in Love & Hip Hop, I guess not?).
Over on these shores, Wizkid who’s out in London to record his as yet untitled mixtape which is set to feature appearances from Tinie Tempah, the Disturbing London familia and Maybach Music rapper, Wale, was spotted partying with American video vixens Natalie Nunn and Bria Myles around the capital.
Fresh from their performance at the now infamous Koko Concert in December, fast rising UK collective DRB LasGidi appeared to have put their trip to good use - a vibrant Lagos provides the backdrop to their ‘3Kingz’ video. Fellow newcomer and songtress Ezi Emela teamed up with E.M.E crew member, Skales on the catchy R&B duet ‘Sexy Lover’ which sees Skales try his hand at singing!
Finally, a man who’s been making his name outside of the Afrobeats scene with production and writing credits that include Chip’s ‘Oopsy Daisy’ and Jessie J’s ‘Do It Like A Dude’ is London based rapper, producer and singer/songwriter, Parker Ighile.
The 22-year-old British-Nigerian who recently became the first signee to Nicki Minaj’s new imprint surprisingly called on rapper M.I to bring some Nigerian flavours to the remix of ‘So Beautiful’, a heartfelt urban pop track that has been gaining traction on the internet.
Personally, I’m keen to see if Parker will hook up with anymore African stars considering his involvement in both the UK and US scenes, but we’ll have to wait and see.
That’s it from me for another month; in the meantime check a few tracks that are sending the Nigerian clubs into a frenzy as we speak...
- May D - Ile Ijo
- Terry G - Apako
- Wizkid - Azonto Freestyle
- D’Prince - Goody Bag
- Timaya - Malo Nogede ft. Terry G
- Kay Switch - Sister Caro
- Iyanya - Your Waist
- P-Square - Alingo
- Ajebutter22 - Senrenre
- Timaya - Sexy Ladies
- Burna Boy - Tonight
Words: Nonny Orakwue (@Verbal_Vixen)