Is Shatta Wale right to claim “Wizkid isn’t extraordinary, “?

Wizkid (Image courtesy of i.onthe.io)
Afro-beat Artist, Wizkid (Image source: WEB)

I’m not really sure what’s going on with Shatta Wale but the man has been going around throwing shade at his fellow artists and it just ain’t cute. It was Stonebwoy, then Samini and now even Wizkid. *eyes rolling*

During an interview on Kasapa FM in Ghana’s Capital, Shatta Wale said that most of his fellow musicians act all awkward when around Wizkid. “I will not see Wizkid and be stunned, I rather want him to see me and be amazed because I don’t see anything extraordinary about him, even though he claims to be the best African artist, ” he said.

According to Shatta Wale, it’s about time Ghanaian artists respect themselves and stop rating Nigerian artists into the sky. He said that he is merely motivating his colleague artists  to believe that they can also achieve the same status the foreign artists have, through hard work and perseverance. Shatta concluded by saying that he is the only “smart” African  artist making enormous money from his music career.

I agree with Shatta Wale on the fact that Wizkid is not extraordinary in any kind of way. But, he is an ordinary person or artist, if you may, doing extra ordinary things. Because of Wizkid, African music is on the map and we have people that are curious to discover even more music from the continent. People that would probably never have known about the existence of such incredible music from Africa are now aware, dancing along, sharing this music with even more people and trying to discover what more Africa has to offer in terms of music.
Does Wizkid claim to be the best African artist? (Not that I have heard of. But I stand corrected. You can send me a link or tag me whenever and wherever he did make this claim) His work, music fans, critics and  the media gave Wizkid the “best African artist” title. Does that mean that he is the best in terms of talent? Not necessarily. There could be artists that are more talented than Wizkid, but no one has been able to push the boundaries as much as he has, and without a doubt, no one that has been able to match up to his level of diligence with his art.

Yes, Ghanian artists or any other for that matter shouldn’t look down upon themselves, while holding Nigerian or foreign artists in high regard. However, it’s important to give credit where it’s due and not just that, but for talent to recognize talent. It’s important for artists to be able to study Wizkid and pick up as much as they can on what he’s doing that makes him stand out. This way, you are able to tailor your own success, based on valuable lessons learnt from him.

Shatta Wale is without a doubt very talented but I’m disappointed every time he tries to dim someone else’s light and ends up coming across as bitter and entitled. Why worry about someone that you think is “ordinary” while you are an incredible artist within your own right? If anything, Shatta should be thanking Wizkid, for being such a great representative of African Music to the world. Because of Wizkid, more African  artists have higher chances of making it beyond the continent now that there’s already a foot in the door. Shatta might have had a valuable message to share, but with oh such poor delivery.

 

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Is Kiss Daniel better off without G- Worldwide Entertainment?

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Kiss Daniel- Now former G- Worldwide Entertainment artist

The best of the best music artists from abroad are signed to music labels, which seems to be a way of achieving even greater success, as opposed to being independent. I’m talking about the likes of Rihanna, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Chris Brown.  It would take me an entire day to complete this list.

Come to Africa, given the option and based on other African artists’ experiences, I would bet more artists would opt for being independent, as opposed to entrusting  music labels with their careers. Don’t get me wrong, but the truth is that just a handful of music labels in the continent actually have a structure that would ensure the maximum realization of their artists’ potential. I talked about this on my Record deal or Career Kill article and even highlighted some of the issues that such big artists under international record labels had to deal with. It’s absurd that an artist could secure funding, have wider networks and connections, build on their reputation just by being under a music label, and yet still prefer to be independent, due to the failed structures of the first.

 

Through Pulse Nigeria, Kiss Daniel recently confirmed that he had left G- Worldwide Entertainment, revealing his very own, FLYBOY I.N.C Label. Without a doubt,  G-Worldwide will remain to be a big part of Kiss Daniel’s music career, having discovered him and grown his brand from 2013 to what we know him as now.  But let’s be real for a minute and talk about the absurd “no external collaboration policy” as part of his contract, which he revealed sometime in 2016 through NotJustOK.

Kiss Daniel was only allowed to do music collaborations with his label mate,  Sugaboy while at G- Worldwide. Wait…That’s not true. How about the Woju Remix that featured Tiwa Savage and Davido? Well…That was a one off thing and the only one that he was allowed to do with non- label mates during his time at G- Worldwide. And yet, that was the biggest hit Kiss Daniel has had so far- in my opinion.

Early last year, Wizkid hinted at a collaboration between him and Kiss Daniel (sorry, tried to get that Tweet link but still can’t find it) and I was so excited about it.Until I realized it’s never happening, not while he was still under G- Worldwide.

When asked about this non- collaborative strategy, Emperor Geezy, G- Worldwide’s CEO  said, “We understand that this is a risky move but remain convinced that if this can be achieved, we will be able to take credit for having set the pace in the Nigerian music industry. Granted that collaborations in the industry bring color and variety to the end product, but our approach at this time is to grow stronger and richer in value as a unit

But this is more than just G- Worldwide’s no external collaboration policy. It’s about engaging an artist more in their own careers, beyond the creative aspects. How do you expect an artist that’s frustrated because you won’t allow them to release their music  be excited about hitting the studio and working on more music? Or an artist working their a** off, only to get 25% of their income? (Word on the street is that that’s what Wizkid used to get at E.M.E Records). How do you keep such an artist motivated or even continue to love their art?

I  hope that Kiss Daniel will use his experience to change how music labels work, to allow for policies that will ensure greater success for artists and flexibility. I say flexibility because a policy may work at a certain point in time in an artist’s career, but as times change, they evolve and keep rediscovering themselves. There’s a need for a more engaging artist approach for their own careers, even when they are signed to music labels.

Should music artists voice political opinions?

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Kenyan Music Group- Sauti Sol

 

I logged onto my Twitter account this afternoon just to find Kenya’s very own Sauti Sol trending, because of this Tweet;

The trolls that they have gotten for it! Boy oh Boy! Some have referred to them as ignorant and insensitive, others have criticized their music and dressing- it’s absurd. Just check out it for yourself and be the judge.

Just in case you are unfamiliar,  Tibim and Tialala are the slogans used by Kenya’s opposition party, whose meanings I frankly do not know. On the other hand, Tano Tena is a slogan used by the ruling party, urging for 5 more years of it’s ruling. Now that we are on the same page, you’ve probably already figured out that Sauti Sol is neither for the ruling nor the opposition party- which also makes me wonder why Kenyans are so upset. Aren’t artists allowed to voice political opinions?

Unfortunately, we are a society that is more concerned about tribal politics than actual development. And yet, only we as ordinary Kenyans are actually feeling the pinch of the political uncertainty currently rocking the country. As for our leaders…well, they comfortably enjoy control and watch us have a go at each other because of them. If anything, Sauti Sol’s Tweet is meant to enlighten us at such a vulnerable political moment. This to me is a call to start gauging politicians based on their ideologies and what they have done for the country, when leadership and power was bestowed on them before (if ever).

I would hate to be a part of a society which wouldn’t allow me to voice my opinion, simply because it’s contrary to the majority’s opinion. I would hate to have artists that are afraid of public backlash and therefore choose to remain quiet during crucial moments such as these, when they should be using their influence to mobilize people for positive change.

Lesson to learn from Yemi Alade on audience exclusivity.

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Yemi Alade 

Yemi Alade has got to be one of the most meticulous artists that we have in the game. I may not have liked the Swahili version to her “Na Gode” song (no offense but the authenticity that on the original version was very appealing to me),  but let’s give credit where it’s due. I love an artist that pushes the envelope. For her to have learnt an entirely new language for the alternative version of the song, despite the fact that the original was already a success, you can tell that she is one hell of a savvy artist.

I keep saying this over and over again; while it’s true that music is a universal language, people enjoy it even more when they understand it. Yemi seems to be among the very few artists that have an understanding of this concept. This is why she makes her Swahili and French speaking audience each feel special, through music that is custom made for each of them. If you know a bit about the essentials of a successful business, then you know that “ensuring exclusivity for a customer” makes for a great business strategy- one that Yemi is clearly maximizing on.

 

 

Which of the two versions of the song is your favorite?

 

Picture Source: WEB

Nyashinski; The New Hope for Kenya’s Music Industry

 

So I’m going to be really honest with you. I did not like “Now you know” by Nyashinski the first time I had it. It’s one of those songs that I had to listen to over and over again until it grew in me. I honestly thought that this was a song that embodied entitlement, which made me cringe. I would have bet my money on the fact that it would be a one-off track that was merely meant to remind us of Nyashinski’s existence and that was it. Heck! I did not even anticipate any form of musical success for him as a solo artist.

 

 

Then came Mungu Pekee and I was like, hold up! wait a minute…This is actually such an incredible song. The vocals are off the chain, his singing- a fresh of breath air and definitely not your ordinary guy next door who claims to be an artist but with no talent or skill whatsoever. (Kenyans you know exactly what I am talking about- NO SHADE).

Nyashinski has proven me wrong over and over again by constantly topping his work and I can safely say that he is one of the most talented artists that we have not just in Kenya but Africa as whole. Don’t believe me?….

He has been nominated alongside other top African Acts; Wizkid, Davido, Nasty C, C4 Pedro and Babes Wodumo for the “Best African Act” Category at this year’s MTV EMA London Awards. Y’all don’t even understand what this means for Kenya‘s music industry. This is truly such a proud moment for artists and music lovers. An inspiration for up-coming artists who thought that our industry did not  stand a chance against Tanzania‘s, Nigeria‘s, Ghana‘s or South Africa‘s music industries. Yes we can people! Yes we can.

Show your love by actually voting.

http://www.mtvema.com/en-africa/vote#best-african-act

 

Meet up- coming Tanzanian Rapper; Lord Bullet

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Tanzanian up- coming rapper, Lord Bullet

Emmanuel Geofrey Kombe better known by his stage name,  Lord Bullet is a 22 year old Tanzanian rapper based in Dar es Salaam.

I had the pleasure of talking to him and getting to know him better and this is how it all went down.

Tell me a bit about yourself..

I am an only child brought up by a single mother after my dad passed away. I grew up in Dar es Salaam and have always loved music. I however ventured into the music business professionally 4 years ago, exploring with free styles and popular music covers.

 Of all stage names…..Lord Bullet?…

(Laughs) The name was given by my friends, after I shared my goal of killing it in the music game. But because I did not want it to be entirely hard- core and rub people the wrong way, I added “Lord” to it- as a way to sanctify it.

Very corny child….very corny….What inspires your music?

The people around me and the things that happen in my life. That informs my music a lot.

What are some of the challenges that you face as an artist and an upcoming one at that?

Finances is an issue, considering the fact that music is all that I do. It’s also hard to find a good management team with the necessary skills.  To top it all, I rap in English, which hardly  appeals to the Tanzanian audience,  as the majority have a bias for the Swahili language and rightfully so as that is our national language.

But your Swahili is excellent, why then would you not use it more in your craft if it could contribute to more success for you locally?

I definitely want to appeal to the Tanzanian audience. However, I also want to have an international appeal. I want to do music that will cater to a wider audience beyond my country’s borders. I guess I have to find a balance, because at the end of the day, Tanzania is still home. I do also hope the “music is a universal language” notion will work in my favor.

Let’s talk about 4 Show…

4 Show is my first official release. It’s a reflection of what happens in my day to day life. Basically, reminding myself and anyone out there to get their hustle on and chase their dreams. We can’t stop until we make it.

Finally, what would you want the “Lord Bullet Brand” to be known for?

I want to be the Tanzanian artist known for pushing boundaries. To be an inspiration to someone else, so that they too are able to believe in  themselves and go for whatever it is that they may want in life.

 

Here is 4 Show by Lord Bullet, do listen to it and let me know what you think about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of African music artists helping each other

They may have wanted to have held Skales for ransom for being young and handsome, but definitely not for being rich. At least not during the time when he was doing the video to “Shake Body”. Just in case you live under a rock, this is the video I am talking about….

 

Through a Twitter post, Skales revealed;

This broke period was in 2014, after Skales was let go from EME records due to creative differences between the two parties (he and EME records).

It’s amazing that Skales still acknowledges what Olamide did for him, 3 years on. Very few people actually remember those that help them on their way up. But what’s even more amazing is Olamide’s going the extra mile to actually help, without having anything to gain from it. By that I mean, you would think that he would want to pay for the music video if was featured on the song.

For some weird reason, some of us fail to help others not because it’s beyond us, but because we are afraid that they will eventually beat us at our own game and end up being more successful than we are.

The world would be such a better place if we could all help each other out. But let me narrow it down even more. Imagine an African music industry that would have party players all lifting each other up. It doesn’t have to be in terms of money, it could just be sharing knowledge with someone that is just starting out, providing mentor-ship, being a link between an artist and someone else that could help them get a step closer towards their dream. But not just that, have people that do it because they can and not for the world to see and start talking about how “nice”of they person are.

I hope that in whatever way you can, you will be sunshine to someone out there today.

 

 

Did Don Jazzy make D’banj?

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Former Mo’ Hits Records’- Don Jazzy and D’banj

According to Veteran Nigerian Rapper Eedris Abdulkareem ,  “The biggest mistake someone like D’banj made was to be so stupid and leave Don Jazzy. You know why? D’banj no get talent. Don Jazzy has the technical backup to produce D’banj and make him sound very nice. I love Don Jazzy for that.”  This was during an interview with Goldmyne TV.

Here’s my take. Is D’banj talented? ABSOLUTELY. In fact,  extremely talented- with or without Don Jazzy. I however do think that D’banj and Don Jazzy made phenomenon music together, with both bringing out the best in each other. I loved D’banj’ songs more when Don Jazzy was behind their production. I’m talking about Gbono Feli Feli,  Mr Endowed, Fall in love, Scapegoat, Igwe. Good Lord!  It’s incredible the kind of magic the two created when they worked  together. D’banj might still be occasionally doing good music, the truth is that it could never match up to what he and Don Jazzy did together.

That said, there’s always a respectful way to voice opinion- whether positive or negative. It doesn’t change how you feel or the message sent.

 

Image source: Web

New EP Alert: Tiwa Savage- Sugarcane

Tiwa Savage - Sugarcane
Tiwa Savage’s EP Cover- Sugarcane

She wasn’t named the Beyonce of Africa for nothing. Tiwa Savage is truly in every sense the queen of African music.  Her latest six track EP, Sugarcane as the title suggests, is   sweet and packed with a whole lot of juice. My favorite- “Get it Now”. Well, that’s a title of a song on it but yeah, you should totally get it now (the EP).

Here’s the link

https://itunes.apple.com/ke/album/sugarcane-ep/id1287191847?app=music&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Let me know what your favorite track on the EP is via the comments section.

Image source: Web

Panamusiq Label entrance into the South

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South African Artist; Serati

 

With the signing of South African upcoming artist Serati, Panamusiq closes its circle and is now representing music acts from the key regions of Sub-Saharan Africa: East, Central, West and South.
Serati Maseko is a singer, songwriter, guitar player, blogger and model. She hails from Alexandra Township. Serati has previously lived in the UK where she did her high school. For two years she studied music and piano, which was her first love.
It was in the UK where her musical awakening took place, going through many different phases of musical interest.

Coming back to South Africa, playing the guitar became her outlet for songwriting. She began writing poetry and took up vocal training. Her primary instrument is her voice, and that is where her strength lies, followed by her songwriting. Her first recorded song “Hurt So Good” was release in original and remix version. The latter features Gino Brown and it’s an house remix.
Serati has performed at such events as Rhythm and Poetry, Ram Jam, Word N Sound, My First Time Art Exhibition, The Annual Soweto Camp Festival 2016, The Bannister Hotel’s Basement Sessions, Wolves Café and Winnies Soul and Jazz Restaurant.
Artists who have influenced her singing and writing style include Tracy Chapman, Miriam Makeba, Lauryn Hill and Sade. Her sound can be described as Folk-Afro Soul, with vocals influenced by American soul artists of old, and her story telling, folk-like songwriting style.