From a small locality in Lagos, Nigeria, the meteoric rise of the young superstar, Wizkid has ben thrilling and orgasmic if you like. While albums and projects might not be his forte, he has been able to successfully carve out a space in the music industry where plethora of talents dwell, either waiting for their first big break, or peddling their craft and serving their listeners with trendy music.
To be candid, no one, not even his critics can deny the power that is Wizkid, his input in audience love and craze for their favorite and his subtle challenge of the cultural norm evident in the music space, not forgetting his great command and treatment of the Afrobeats genre. To call Wizkid is to call the poster boy of what African music is and what it represents. Thats just the power that the Starboy wields.
From his days in OJB Jezereel/Modogg to his signing to the now defunct Empire Mate Entertainment in 2009, dropping his first single a year after and in 2011, a debut album which had popular hits like Holla At Your Boy, Don’t dull, Pakurumo and others, Wizkid is a huge success story.
In 2014, he released his sophomore album, Ayo. Suffice to say the reception was in two-fold. While a certain group enthused that the production was top-notch, others argued that the lyricism was poor and advised the singer to begin hiring songwriters, an argument is still very much available today.
Fast forward to 3 years later, the singer released his first major label album which he christened Sound From the Other Side; a primarily Caribbean influenced project, it housed genres from Afrobeats to dancehall, EDM, and Reggae. The album was well received and enjoyed positive reviews by music etnhusiasts. It also opened a pathway into gthe international market.
His fourth studio album, a 7-track EP actually titled Soundman Vol. 1 is easily one of the singer’s poorest projects. It was a reply to demand for new music by his teeming fans who were tired of being starved. While the project might have enjoyed huge streaming numbers, it put pressure on the artiste to deliver better with his fortcoming project, Made In Lagos.
The Starboy is under pressure come October 15, 2 to present a project worthy of the attention he gets, a project that can compete with the album from other mainstream Nigerian artistes, including Davido and Burna Boy.
Wale Oloworekende writes, “To be Wizkid is to have your life’s work unforgettably linked to the fact that the most popular black music that blew up in the 2010s was afrobeats, and that you opened the door for that. As much as the rise has been meteoric, Wiz’s misdeeds and missteps have played out openly, dissected at length in the court of public opinion, that is the price of being a star.”
It is the star effect and legend status that confers the pressure on Wizkid. He just has to deliver. Presently, he does not have a definitive album that can be linked to his name. For example, Wande Coal, has Mushin to Mohit, D’banj has The Entertainer, Asa has Áshá and Brymo has Tabula Rasa. The Starboy has no project that he can hold conveniently under his belt.
If there’s any artiste who can pull the stunt of such a project, it would be Wizkid; he has the label and the audience. He is also part of the stream of mainstream artistes enjoying popularity as the music industry cunningly shifts his soundscape.
However, if the two singles off the album are anything to go by, then this writer thinks Wizkid needs to be worried. The theme and underlying narrative between the two songs do not sync, but then it might be too early to judge a project that we still have 12 songs to listen to.
His fans are holding him to his Afrobeats standard to drop a powerful project, while his critics are holding him to a much higher standard, considering that his last ‘hit’ was with Joro in 2019. A year since then. We do not need to wait long to dig into a project that is believed will silence his haters and cement his legend status in Nigeria.
Again, Wizkid needs Made In Lagos to be successful, and not just with streaming numbers or receptions, but with leading to ‘ear-gasm’. It will decide his next move. For now, we wait patiently for the album’s release.Photo Credit: Instagram