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A Complete Guide To The Nigerian Music Scene

Markets all across the world are being invaded by the noises of the scene. Wizkid assisted Drake in creating his smash song One Dance, and Beyonce primarily relied on the biggest names in the movement to create her soundtrack album, Lion King: The Gift. With his Grammy-nominated album African Giant, Burna Boy has been attempting a crossover campaign in 2019. A surge of intriguing new names has also emerged, including Naira Marley, Joeboy, and Rema, who is featured on the cover of The Face.


But the Nigerian music scene is indeed a tad disorganized when compared to that of the US and the UK. Here is an A-Z to help you comprehend the backdrop of the modern Nigerian landscape.

A is for Altè

A whole subculture was developed to meet the needs of a new generation of Nigerian children who desired to listen to new music on the radio. The Nigerian youth known as “Alté Kids” are renowned for developing, exhibiting, and promoting fashion trends and genre-defying music that significantly deviate from the predominant local standards.

B is for Baby

Not a child’s name, but a sweet nickname for your crush. Never mind that these people are adults in every sense of the word. In Nigeria, your default pet name is baby when you fall in love. Even if you’re severely wrinkled or have grey hair, love in Nigerian music still makes you feel childlike. I’ve been slain by your waist, baby this, baby that.

C is for Cash

The only thing that moves in the Nigerian music industry is cold, hard cash. Davido keeps singing and receiving about it. Industry executives have identified it as the not-so-secret component for blowing up since the women appear to have unrestricted access to vast sums of money that are tied up in banks. All except the underground rappers in Lagos have access to it. They like meat better.

D is for December

Nigerian music doesn’t move in the same way as Western music, which celebrates the summer as the main season for its performances. We wait for a real holiday in December, when the dry air and chilly Harmattan breeze would keep concertgoers from yelling too loudly when they eventually light up during Wizkid’s live performance. When you don’t reside in Africa but can experience a second summer rhythm in Lagos, you earn bonus points for delight.

E is for Energy

Everyone is on the lookout for energy now that it has become trendy to use the phrase. If the audience members closest to the stage can’t project it, artists can’t perform. If you are unable to inspire energy, fans will provide it for you. Energy generates energy, which is more like a chicken-and-egg scenario. Therefore, no one performs, no one appreciates any music, and each side may claim, “I wasn’t feeling his/her/their energy,” to hide a lack of musical ability or comprehension.

F is for Fela Kuti

The late, renowned pioneer developed the new genre of Afrobeat by fusing native rhythms with jazz and funk. His music achieved legendary status as a result of his political engagement during Nigeria’s years of military rule, as did his lavish lifestyle. In one day, he once wed 27 women. The government of former army major Muhammadu Buhari, who took office in 1983 and later served as Nigeria’s president again in 2015, detained Kuti at least 200 times but only sentenced him to prison once (on a currency smuggling charge that Amnesty International deemed to be a fake). Kuti had a significant impact on the movement, both musically (Burna Boy uses samples of him in several of his songs) and in terms of his rebellious attitude (Naira Marley compares himself to Kuti on Am I a Yahoo Boy).

G is for God

God, who is said to have the last word in all decisions, is seated high above the music business, beyond the efforts of conniving executives, circling attorneys, frustrated promoters, dishonest intermediaries, and interested journalists. Would you like to start a record label? You address him in prayer. Does your artist have to sign a significant deal? You beg for his mercy. And when, unavoidably, are you defrauded? He must get revenge on your attackers. He constantly meddles in people’s affairs.

H is for Highlife

It’s not a life of constant intoxication. A fundamental kind of Nigerian music called highlife is combined with various styles to produce pop music. Its origins are in Ghana, but it has since travelled much before being accepted by Nigerians and remade for this market. You could get a spiritual high as a result of the music, which is replete with angelic guitars.

I is for Ibadi

The butt-related Yoruba term. Singers and the songwriters who provide them with the songs like nothing more than worshipping their asses. It is exalted as the most gorgeous marvel of the globe in every popular song.

J is for Journalist

An annoying group. Nigerian music journalism has advanced. At one point, there was no one covering the arts; now, anyone can submit an unedited 500-word essay and call himself a music critic. Although the quality varies, the current wave of music journalism is welcomed since the fresh talent generally appreciates the support and attention.

K is for Kapaichumarimarichopaco

Nobody is aware of the origin of this term. Nobody is aware of its significance or its intended use. But Zlatan Ibile, a rapper, always says that before dropping a hotline. It may be a charm that calls up venerable creative spirits. Or perhaps it just means “start dancing.” In either case, Zlatan’s supporters like screaming alongside him.

L is for Lagos

The commercial centre of Nigeria doubles as the Afrobeats capital of Africa. Lagos houses the corporate offices of several company divisions and is home to the only operational seaport in the nation. The media, IT firms, distribution, and a vibrant culture never cease to inspire people. And you get to have plenty of fun.

M for Marlians

These are fans of Naira Marley, who is featured on the cover of The Face. Marley is a contentious musician who rose to fame with his 2018 World Cup anthem Issa Goal before becoming famous for defending internet fraud and popularizing a dance craze that referenced masturbation and was motivated by a brief stint in prison. Marlians consider stress unnecessary and prefer to enjoy life. They may be recognized in public by their Zanku dancing and exclamations of “Marlians!”

N is for Numbers

The newest term for everyone who wants to appear intelligent is “numbers.” It’s a clever way for artists to boast about how powerful their work is. Advertising agencies utilize it to weed out those who make false claims about who they are. Some cynics think that all of those beautiful streams originate on a farm in Korea or India. Anyhow, in the Nigerian business world, success depends on having strong statistics.

O is for OG

OGs have a crucial role in the culture. They are stewards of knowledge and important history. However, anybody may claim to be one these days. When you have three years of anything, someone comes to your door one day bearing an induction badge, a beret, and a bible. The number of years necessary to maintain OG status is getting less. Here, the internet is solely at a fault.

P is for Payola

Everyone will publicly vow their lives that they never participate in the payola culture. However, when the lights go out and the cameras stop recording, they behave strangely and hog all the radio and television airtime. They hang out at On-Air-Personalities’ housewarming parties and are friends with the top media executives. They complete tasks in this manner. There is no payola. I can also offer you an island in the Sahara.

Q is for Queen

Every female musician aspires to be the queen of something. The question of who Nigeria’s Afrobeats queen is still up for debate. Some people think Yemi Alade ought to hold the throne. Some claim the

R is for Record Label

In Nigeria, the structure of record labels is vanishing. After losing their best talent, people either can’t sell their songs or have to scale back their operations. The freed musicians go on to start their own record labels. The majority don’t survive through the first year. Those who make it through three years organize master workshops on how to help others get through the first year.

S is for Show Money

The heart and soul of Nigerian music. Local musicians have few sources of income because the music cannot be sold locally for high prices. Performance fees are useful because they are the next great thing and the hill that everyone wants to die on. If playing more concerts will result in giving away his CD, a musician may do so.

T is for 10%

In Nigeria, every intermediary just cares about their 10%. Managers put forth the extra effort to get it. It is pursued by consultants. Businessmen also won’t laugh at jokes about it. The 10% is the industry’s coveted prize. Here, generational wealth is created by investing 10% here and 10% there.

U is for Underrated

Every age has at least one musician who creates music deserving of the highest accolades but who is nevertheless overlooked. Those artists keep putting forth a lot of effort in the hopes that one-day others would realize how brilliant they are. Nobody ever does. Once you become “underrated,” it’s virtually impossible to recover.

V is for Vibes

In Nigeria, there is a persistent debate about why musicians choose to concentrate on vibes (how the music makes you feel) rather than a balanced infusion of words. In this nation, pop music frequently serves as a form of escape. It’s intended to spread positive energy. That song won’t get very far if it doesn’t. Money is chased away by bad feelings.

W is for Wizkid

Wizkid’s contributions to modern Nigerian music are essential to any discussion. Wizkid’s music has been at the top of Nigerian music for the greater part of a decade and is presently one of the highlights of Africa’s effort for cultural crossover into non-traditional markets. It is loved beyond measure and despised without cause.

X is for X

The business is challenging, and no one really knows what they are doing. Therefore, it comes as no surprise when things go wrong, a transaction fails, or the DJ’s single cable decides to burn up due to an electrical problem. If you have any sense of moral obligation about the circumstance, you flee, or as we say in Nigeria, you “X.”

Y is for Yahoo

Although everyone else may recognize it as an American online services provider, this term actually refers to internet fraud and criminality. And some of the money obtained by these fraudsters enters the music business as funding for events like concerts, promotions, or recordings. Naira Marley and Zlatan were detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which is tasked with eradicating yahoo yahoo in Nigeria after they released their song Am I a Yahoo Boy in May of this year. On November 11 and 12, Marley will appear in court on an 11-count conspiracy, fraud, and possession of a fake credit card charge. He has entered a not-guilty plea and continues to claim his innocence.

Z is for Zanku

Even though it’s a difficult dance, you can master it with the appropriate technique. The Zlatan Ibile-made Zanku is best performed with beats that combine repetitive foot tapping or hammering, hands held high or in a cross, and a door-kicking imitation. Faster footwork is one variation that may be used to simulate a full-body exercise.