GOD BLESS ASA!

asa09.jpg I like Psquare. And D’Banj and Durella and K C Presh. But I fear the trend they’re entrenching. Since the recent successes of these singers, every wannabe that has grabbed the mic has made it a point of duty to sound ‘commercial’ – lacing half-baked, elementary, cliché-filled lyrics on hurriedly sampled beats. They seem to think that’s the sole recipe for D’Banj’s success. They seem to believe that’s why Psquare is selling millions of units. They’ve found a new motto: ‘if you wanna make it in Nigeria’s music scene, the more pedestrian you sound, the better. True, it’s easy to forget that D’Banj started seducing us with his skills on the harmonica, before turning us to converts with his mastery of the stage. Okay, it has helped that he’s contributed a lot to today’s street parlance –haven’t we all added ‘tongolo’, ‘Kokolets’, ‘no long thing’ and ‘file!’ to our everyday words? But if you dig deep down, you’ll discover that the young man is not all about girls, and lingo and all. Behind D’Banj’s increasing success lies a rigorous work routine, and an understanding of the difference between music as an art, and music as a business. Same goes for Psquare and Olu and K c Presh and other present-day stars who are churning out commercial pop music and smiling to the banks.  Problem is: it was fast becoming a trend: put some repetitive melodies together, spice it up with catch-phrases and clichés, and find some groovy reggaeton or hip hop beats to go with it. The result? A hit! Songs no longer needed to have a meaning. The lyrics don’t have to make sense. As far as the kids love it. As far as you have a great video to go with it. As far as you get MTV base and Soundcity to play it. It doesn’t matter if the critics are crying foul. It doesn’t mater if the music won’t stand the test of time. What matters? Your bank account, ably swelled by some scary figures from an Alaba marketer. It became such an epidemic that Faze had to record ‘Kolomental and Kpokpodikpo’; K C Presh had to invent ‘Segemenge’; Olu had to catch in on ‘yahoozeey’; Zdon had to come up with ‘Nonsense’ and Sauce Kid : ‘yebariba san bari bobo’. The more it worked, the more homeboys joined the fray.  Goodbye highlife. Goodbye afrobeat. Goodbye Rhythm&Blues. Goodbye Reggae. Goodbye good ol’ hip hop! The time is now ‘slang-o-clock’. No more need to waste your time making so called ‘good’ music. Who’ll patronise you anyway? The fans are busy with their dictionaries, trying to unravel the meaning of the latest slangs; trying to find out how much that new D’Banj and Psquare videos cost; while critics are busy trying to find out which old beats were sampled on which song, who stole which melody line, and who’s making the latest interpolations. With everyone thus occupied, who’ll notice anything coming from die-hard apostles of good music like Age Beeka, Sound Sultan, Lagbaja, Silver Saddih?  Until a young lady named Asa walked in through the door. It’s easy to underestimate Asa’s achievement with her debut album in just a month after it release. That’s partly because she doesn’t like to court publicity, and partly because she’s back in France, trying to capture the Europe market. But with the 11-tracked masterpiece, Asa has shown that true talent still pays dividends. Since 2face Idibia’s ‘grass to grace’, Asa’s is the only other album in a while that’ll generously garner critical and commercial acclaim. Show me someone who doesn’t have an ASA CD in his/her car or home or office, and I’ll show you someone who’s living in the 17th century… And with her success, she’s made all of us hit the brake pedal; engage the gear in reverse, as we happily reconfigure our senses, to believe again, that all that brand of ‘good music’, profound in quality and depth, can still ‘sell’ in Nigeria. I feel like saying a prayer for Asa, Sola Allison, Sound Sultan, Lagbaja and 2face Idibia, and upcomers Wande Coal, Banky, Con.Tra.Dic.Tion, 9ice, GT The Guitarman, Silver Saddih, and all other unrepentant creators of excellent, original music. Oh, yes we like the new wave of eye-popping videos. We the guys like D’banj’s Kokolets, and the girls like to ‘do’ Psquare. But we’re beginning to see that there’s ‘fire on the mountain’, and ‘no one knows’ what’ll happen if we don’t allow our kids listen to the message, the wisdom, and the rich texture in the kind of music the likes of Asa are giving us almost for free…

Advertisements

7 Responses to “GOD BLESS ASA!”

  1. Sir
    I do not believe this epiphany you just had as if you scroll down your blog, you seem to find it worthy to let us know Kwam 1 has a new car. scroll further down and you seem to let us know that D’Banj has some new jewelery. But scroll further and oh look Keke, D One and 2 Face have a new car and let not forget how much it is. Also look Faze has a new car. Olu maintain has a new car… and the list goes on.
    Please do not write like they forced you to write about it and not the music they make noooooo please don’t. That is the problem with the media in Nigeria, the ridiculous appetite to fill countless pages and the internet with stupid stories of money money money. As a Nigerian citizen living in UK, finding good worthy musical news about people like Eldee, Banky, Lagbaja, Asa, Tosin Martins etc is hard enough the last thing I need is you letting me know they have new cars. I don’t care. I want music news. new cars and jewellery belong in Auto Magazines and Vibe. Please lets hear more about music. Lets hear more uhn. Don’t write one Asa piece and lament about the death of Nigerian music and think that relieves of the conscience of how Nigerian music is becoming about the money. You are one of the people promoting it.

  2. GOD BLESS AYENI

    It appears the last comment may not be entirely informed about the nittygritty of showbiz reporting.I say this with all sense of modesty(and i stand to be corrected). Even in the U.K stuffs like music stars buying a kitten worth some pounds litter showbiz page.Haba, i won’t watch someone rubbish Ayeni like this. This is one of the most authoritative(uptodate) reporter in the music insdustry in Nigeria with his weekly Glitz and Beatz column in Thisday on SUnday Newsppr, in Nigeria. Words’ enough!before sum1 thinks i am doin PR 4 Ayeni.

    ******

    On Asa, i am short of words. I read the piece in print(Thisday on Sunday Feb. 2, 08) and it was as if the Ayeni was eavesdroppin on my thots. Asa is phenomenal. I am proud to be a Nigerian because of Asa without forgetting visually impaired but immensely gifted producer Cobhams Asuquo who can pick-up and dissect sounds of music from afar, God bless him too. Watch out, Asa is not goin to be your next one album star like most of others!

  3. nice post.. I am a big an of lyrics that make sense so preach on.. you speak sence with this post

  4. i must commend this post cos it’s the truth. I must also say thumbs up to all the wonderful lyricist we have in this great country. I believe in Naija i do not believe in copying the white man style of music I’d love for us to embrace our own style of music and try to make sense at all times cos if we do not appreciate our own no one will do dat for us. shout shout to all the realest Naija boys n girls.
    proudly naija to the bones

  5. I actually think that there is unfair comparison of Zdon’s ‘nonsense with the other songs. I actually think Zdon’s song was addressing the same thing you are talking about here. People trying to commercialise their song just to make hits. If you listened well to the lyrics you will discover this. I think it would be better to put Zdon among those making sense in their tumultous craving for commerciality.

  6. I came across this post via a search engine and albeit the fact that I am making this comment about a year after the post I’ll still like to leave this observation.

    I am an upcoming Nigerian Artist and I totally agree with the author that the Nigerian music has become something else leaving little or no room for good music and lyrics, its now all about the beat and the slangs. I also agree that Asa is probably the best thing that came out of Africa when she released her music. I am her number one fan, everyone around me can attest to that.

    But then what can you do, the economics of the industry simply favour the
    ‘new music style’. By that I mean simple demand and supply. However I strongly believe and have a lot of respect for those who amidst the ‘chaos’ can still make it to the top with good music and lyrics.

    I was in a taxi with a friend sometime ago and the taxi driver was playing one of those great Ebenezer Obey’s songs and we could see that he was enjoying himself (He was an elderly man). We asked “Baba you dey enjoy this song o?”. He went ahead telling us all about obey and everyone else, how much sense those songs made and how you could still enjoy them even after so decades have passed by. I asked my friend; when we grow up and are telling our own kids about the types of songs that we listened to, would we be proud to sing or play these our current songs for them?.

  7. Great, thanks for sharing this blog.Really thank you! dgebfecdceeefafd

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: