There’s a new Wizkid album in the making, and we want it to come from this side. We want sounds from the Naija side.
You know what happened last year. Wizkid took his artistry to the US and UK, where much of his work was tweaked, and his artistry adapted for a different market. The crowds in the US and UK were the target. Wizkid was pulled from his base in Nigeria and transferred with enough cash in hand through New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, London, and other cities, where he recorded and promoted an experimental album for his deal with Sony Music.
RCA Records, a division of Sony handled it all, distributing it worldwide. And yes, the argument against this has always been that the project is from a Nigerian artist, and he was making music for everyone. But when you look at it critically, he wasn’t making music for Africa. Wizkid has never spoken about that project on African soil. During the roll-out, no African city had a promotional stop. The press tour was done in the US and UK. The listening parties to promote and celebrate the project happened far away from the continent.
Everything was from, and on the other side. Nothing happened for us here.
But fans didn’t mind. Wizkid is already a shareholder in their hearts and holdings. If he took his music to space, collaborated with one-eyed green Martians and called it “Sounds From The Astro Side,” you would find Nigerians fighting over him and linking it to Fela’s legacy. You would see tweets that read: “Wizkid becomes the first African artist to record with a Martian. He’s the pioneer of Astro rap music, beating Jay-Z, Beyonce and your flying Edo Aunty to it.”
That’s how loved he is.
Reception of SFTOS
But his sojourn in the US and UK ensured that he made a record that didn’t quite resonate deeply with the masses. ‘Come closer’ and ‘Daddy Yo’ did some good work for him, but that wasn’t enough back home to keep him as the hottest artist. I remember taking a bike in Lagos and engaging the rider. All through he kept complaining.
“Make Wizzy give us better gbedu na? I no understand wetin him dey sing again,” he complained.
No matter how much I attempted to explain that SFTOS was a great album which would transition Wizkid, the man was adamant. “Who send am go there? No be music wey we dey ask for? Wetin carry am go America?”
This might sound crude and lacking in understanding. But it carried a message with it: Wizkid needs to make local music, a ‘gbedu’ that would ensure that he’s leading from home and away. That’s what Davido did in 2017, dominating at home due to his local records which were started and inspired by Africa. We carried ‘If’ and ‘Fall’ on our heads because it connected. ‘Come closer’ was dope and had an international promotional budget, but when you hit the streets of Somolu, they are more likely to be moved by “30 billion for the account oh’, than “Me love my Hennessy straight with chaser…”
After his promotion for SFTOS, Wizkid came back to Lagos and began to record like his career depended on it. He called everyone and anyone, to make a record with him. It was that creative tour de force that finally gave him his saving grace, ‘Manya’. And while he sang about throwing his money on a girl’s head and waist, Nigerians actually carried the record on their heads, and it inspired their waists to move to it. And so he ended with a bang.
New Album Coming Soon
Wizkid is working on a new album now. He’s recording in Lagos, Nigeria, with local producers who are tasked with giving him the best of melodies and beats for a new project. For now, he’s satisfied RCA with a project. There’s still some promotion to be done for that, but that’s for them on the other side.
On this side, where the air smells of traffic, and young goats feed on puff-puff, there’s new music to be made, Naija style.
What would matter the most on this new project is if it is targeted to his local fans in Nigeria, and other African countries. Sony took their due in 2017. It’s time for Nigerians to receive theirs now. The other side has received their sounds. Let this side eat too.