..Dem dey feel me for Gwagwalada…’
Sings Wizkid. And he’s right, you know.
Wizkid is felt very much in Northern Nigeria, perhaps more than in Southern Nigeria. I was shocked to discover that in Kano, the talakawas and the aristocrats literally go crazy for his songs. The same in Kaduna and the whole of Northern Nigeria. It’s Wizkid.
It was a shock discovery. Because I never really took Wizkid seriously that much. I love only just a couple of his songs, especially ‘Ojuelegba’. I used to think the ‘Are you gonna dance’ song was wack. Just like I thought ‘I want your body sleeping in my bed’ song was silly. But with recent discoveries of the massive popularity of Wizkid, I had to go back a bit to listen to most of his popular songs all over again.
As amorphous as his lyrics might seem at times, the languid progression of Wizkid’s songs actually have form and structure. He’s an artiste who understands his kind of music. And I think that’s where the niche is. Wizkid has his own kind of music. He’s evolving or has evolved his own style of music, a hybrid of Afro-pop, Afrobeat and ikwokrikwo side – stepping pulsates. Where one was judging him before now on content and form, the dancefloors and airwaves were judging him unanimously on rhythm, reckless abandon and talent.
So, after watching the steady progression of this young man not only on the Nigerian scene but on the African scene and impressively on the international scene, one has to give it to him. He’s on a positive trajectory. He’s on a rise.
He’s arguable the biggest Nigerian music export presently.
When you write songs which gets Drake singing and collaborating with you on tracks, you know you are doing something right. When you have Alicia Keys ad libing your songs and her husband, Swiss Beatz, is lined up to produce your song, you know that somehow you have done something right.
But it was when a show promoter in Abuja told me to help him use my contacts to beg Wizkid to agree to perform in Kano for a concert that my eyebrows were raised.
‘Wizkid? That small boy? In Kano? Who will come watch him?’ I asked in disbelief.
‘Haaa! What?’ The promoter screamed in shock as if I had just said something profane. ‘ Oga Charles, don’t say that! I swear to you, if it is announced today that Wizkid is coming to perform in Kano, the whole city will shut down! The venue will not contain the people who will rush to buy tickets. In fact, the state government will be stretched security wise. Oga Charles, that guy is popular in the North. He’s very much in demand but he hasn’t performed outside Abuja because he’s scared of security and this Boko Haram thing. We have tried to get him before, even for double his present fees but each time his management turns us down. And I’m crying because it’s good money for me as a promoter wasting.’
That was an important piece of information which prodded my personal research into the massive acceptance of Wizkid up north and beyond borders.
So, when he says he’s being felt at Gwagwalada, believe him.
The guy has come to stay…perhaps for awhile longer than what presently permits.