When was the last time Wizkid made a Nigerian single? When was the last time he made new music with us in mind?
This year has been phenomenal for Wizkid. The Drake‘One Dance’ collaboration has made him hit new heights, and given him more penetration in his quest to be Nigeria’s first crossover artiste. ‘Mamacita’, his song with Tinie Tempah was timely also, plugging him deep into a lot of scenes.
The singer has also worked his magic, recruiting Chris Brown, Trey Songz and French Montana for his single ‘Shabba’. Another song with DJ Henry X is also out, ‘Like this’, and it is currently being promoted in the US.
All of this has created a buzz for Wizkid on the international scene. That buzz has crept up to the Nigerian music industry, spotlighting our wealth of sounds and talent. We have a lot of eyes on our acts, and a tremendous amount of ears catching on to the melodies that we have championed and honed for so long. There’s Davido, Tiwa Savage, and Ayo Jay, on the books of foreign labels, with various beneficial deals for both parties.
But something is missing; Wizkid is yet to drop a Nigerian single in 2016.
This year, the only two ‘true’ Nigerian single that had Wizkid as a part of it has been released. DJ Jimmy Jatt and Tiwa Savage caught the Starboy before ‘One Dance’ on ‘Feeling the beat’ and ‘Bad’, respectively. Great singles they are. Having succeeded in keeping fresh Wizkid visuals on rotation this year.
But they are not Wizkid’s singles. The singer has kept his music designed for a wider market, pushing sounds that can fit into a lot of international boxes. That’s why ‘Shabba’ rocks urban America, with a heavy Trap influence. DJ Henry X’s ‘Like this’ is for DJ Henry X, although it contains sonic elements that will sit happily on any Afrobeat fan. But it isn’t a single for Wizkid to push through to Nigeria and promote.
Wizkid has in the past promised a lot of Nigerian records and failed to drop it. From albums to mixtapes, to Eps, there have been no promise kept, no announcement followed up. Where he promised an EP, he gave us a snippet in ‘Baba Nla (Final)’. Another single ‘Sweet love’ which was promised, with an artwork released, was axed from the picture. This is slowly creating a chasm between the man and his fans.
There’s new Wizkid music out now, but there’s nothing for Nigeria. Instead, he continues his pursuit of penetration in the US by dropping covers for US singles; Kent Jones – ‘Don’t mind’, Young Thug, Travis Scott and Quavo’s hit single ‘Pick up the phone’, and LL Cool J’s classic 1996 single “Doin’ It” featuring LeShaun.
The picture looks clear. These covers provide the market with new Wizkid music, and showcases his ability to work with pervasive sounds from the US. In the bigger scheme of things, this is a good move. But he needs to look to the African continent, and also satisfy fans. The grumbles are yet to reach deafening levels, but check through the blogs, websites and social media, the comments have begun to seep in slowly.
Wizkid needs a new Nigerian single. At the moment it feels like there’s a deliberate attempt at ignoring this market.