Editors Pick

In Times Like This, The Voice Of The Entertainment Industry Is Needed

Even as the world is taking a stand against systemic racism and racial violence, Nigeria is also fighting its own battles. Right about the time Americans hit the streets to protest the murder of George Floyd, we heard the rape and murder of 22-year-old undergraduate, Vera Uwalia Omozuwa in a church. About a day before, Tina Ezekwe, a 16-year-old girl, was shot dead by the police. Another report surfaced of a 12-year-old being raped by 11 men. All this was swiftly followed by droves of cases of rape and sexual violence against women which immediately sparked an uprising on social media, calling for justice for these women. This also brought to the fore nuanced conversations around the grim realities of being a woman in a country like Nigeria.  

A country where women are raped, assaulted, harassed on the daily, even in spaces presumed to be safe. And worst of all, our laws don’t even protect them. For years now, women have taken their security into their own hands. It wouldn’t be particularly odd to find pepper spray, taser or even pocket knives and other defensive tools in a woman’s bag. 

There have also been cases of high-powered persons using their influence to bully victims into silence. Over the last couple of weeks, we witnessed the unsuccessful attempt by D’Banj and his team to intimidate Seyitan Babatayo who had earlier accused him of rape. Right after declaring his innocence via a statement, the veteran singer then went on to bully her with the police forcing her to recount her statement; a move which eventually backfired. And it has been a very messy road from there.  

Thanks to the outrage on and off social media, the Inspector General of Police has called for a probe into the case. And although justice has not been achieved yet, we can be sure that the process is closely monitored. 

And it is at this point we need practitioners in the entertainment industry to join in this uprising and lend their voices to the cause. The entertainment industry needs to stand up for women in our society and amplify the calls for a legislative reform that provides more protection for our women.  

We cannot unlook, deflect and act like nothing is going on. We need more than just performative, half-ass, careless and near-empty statements, tweets, and hashtags. We can do more than just “say NO to Rape”.

The reason people look up to celebrities in times like this is that they have a louder voice. They possess a wider reach that can help shed light and call more attention to these issues. You can help take the conversations right out of social media and straight into homes. 

This is one of the things Preye had in mind when she recorded and released her latest single ‘Man In The Wind’. Inspired by the ongoing uproar against oppression and injustice across the world, she calls on us to get off our screens and take to the streets to let our grievances be known by those in power. “As an artist, the purest way for me to express myself and to raise awareness is through music… Man in The Wind is different from my usual sound but this is how I feel at the moment,” she says.

In the wake of his joint EP with Masterkraft, Vector also lent his voice to the cause with his 4-track EP titled “The African Mind”.  Over soft violin riffs, he vocalized his thoughts on ‘Rape’ through spoken-word, condemning our culture of silence and victim-blaming where the victims of abuse are expected to keep quiet and “sit still”.

Art is supposed to imitate society.  Over time, many have used it as a tool to provide insightful social commentary, holding up the mirror for all to see. And despite being a major tool for entertainment, art has also been a potent tool for sparking conversations. One of Nigeria’s most revered music legends, Fela Kuti is often quoted, “I want to move people to dance, but also to think. Music wants to dictate a better life, against a bad life.”

But before you can do this, you first have to learn. Open yourself up to information. Read books, reflect,  have honest conversations. And while at this, keep an open mind.  Be ready to unlearn lots of what society has taught you up until now, and relearn even more progressive ideals. 

We need to take responsibility and cut back on lyrics and whole songs that embody men’s entitlement to women’s bodies. You might think what can just one line or one song do, but you should know that a lot of fans feed on these things and internalize these layered meanings in many ways. Learn what consent really is and how it works. Then let your fans and listeners learn with you. Let these lessons be embedded in your works. Let it reflect in your lyrics, songs, visuals, interviews. 

And even though fingers are often quickly pointed at our music superstars, it goes beyond just the music space. Even in performing jokes or skits as comedians or through movies, we have to ensure we are passing the right message. We have to be responsible.  Isn’t it admirable how Dave Chapelle cut back on the jokes to address issues of racial violence in his heartrending show, “8:46”? And for what it’s worth, the video is raking in really impressive numbers on Youtube, recording over 20 million views in just six days. 

Yes, the entertainment space isn’t solely responsible for the change(s) we seek. But in times like these, the sector can play a huge role in educating the public about these issues and creating awareness until we can get our voices to the right ears. It might not seem like much, but that one line, one scene, one joke can go a long way.  

With “Cult!” Paybac Iboro Is Leading A Return To National Pride

The first time I ever heard a Paybac song was in 2018. I had stumbled on ‘The Mami Wata Song’ early that year while exploring my newly found SoundCloud world littered with hidden gems. Just that one song with its refreshing originality and Paybac had me completely.  I might have have been late to the Nigerian SoundCloud party but I was right on time for Paybac’s debut album, “The Biggest Tree”.

With “The Biggest Tree”, Paybac walked me through the dark corridors of his genius mind, offering firsthand experience of what it feels to have grown up as Caleb Hanson Iboro.  A personal favourite on the tape was the Bella-assisted closer, ‘Best Day of my Life’, a soul-baring victory lap where Paybac Iboro openly celebrates his wins, no matter how small. It came as a fitting end to a very personal album that featured some deep-seated storytelling of the gritty life he’s had to endure and his inflamed scuffle with depression.  

Paybac Iboro

Paybac Iboro (Instagram/lookatpaybac)

Quite a lot has happened since “The Biggest Tree”. Between his 12-track debut and his sophomore, “Cult!” released earlier this year, Paybac held our gaze with two collaborative projects. In November 2018, he joined forces with frequent collaborator Charlie X to release “Autopilot”. Barely six months after, Paybac reunited with longtime friend and associate, Boogey, to release their critically acclaimed “Alternate Ending”. 

From these releases, you can simply just tell that Paybac is building an impressive catalogue. With eight projects under his belt, Paybac has been putting in the work, and it’s paying dividends already. 

In October 2019, he got tapped by East-Coast American rapper Juelz Santana for an appearance on his tape. Also last year, he secured his first Headies nomination in the lyricist on the roll category alongside Boogey, AQ, Ycee and SDC. Paybac didn’t go home with the award that night but got the reassurance that his work isn’t going unnoticed. People are out there listening. The industry is watching and keeping tabs on his progress.

Cult! (Instagram/lookatpaybac)

Cult! (Instagram/lookatpaybac)

And on his latest album “Cult”, Paybac is patriotic more than ever. He had grown up like many of us, trying to shy away from his Nigerian identity. It seemed cool at the time to distance oneself from the Nigerian culture. People even used this resentment to gain cool points. It was such a common thing to hear people say “I don’t watch Nigerian movies” or “I don’t do Nigerian music.”  

But things have turned around. It’s so cool to be Nigerian now. The past few years have given us so much to be proud of, particularly in the entertainment sector. Afrobeats is doing so well across the world now. Nollywood is also doing its bits, shedding itself off its old skin. And with “Cult”, Paybac stands as that maverick leading that U-turn back to national pride. 

This album showcases Paybac as more than just a rapper. All through its 15 tracks, he comes across as an artist who doesn’t pander to expectations. 

Everyone has this idea of what ‘rap’ should sound like. But “Cult” is different. “Cult” is free. “Cult” is ambitious.  Sonically, it doesn’t walk in the exact footsteps of his previous releases. Thematically, Iboro presents “Cult” as a national pride hymnal for this generation of Nigerians. In the opening seconds of ‘Boy Band’ one of the album’s standout cuts, he references a popular Chinua Achebe quote, “being a Nigerian is abysmally frustrating and unbelievably exciting.” And it is this paradox that the album wraps itself around. 

Paybac sweeps nothing under the carpet. He brings it all to bear on the album. He wraps up the myriad of emotions you feel as a Nigerian, balls it up and goes off on the tape. “Cult” almost plays as a soundtrack to your experiences as a Nigerian. You can connect to his pride on ‘Activ8’, relate to his loath on ‘Nigeria Suk My Dik’. And when he yells, “Fuck a politician” you flip your middle finger in the air in disgust and scream right along because that’s exactly what you feel.

You can relieve the whimsical pride as well as the profound anger, confusion and helplessness that comes with being a citizen of the continent’s biggest economy, which also happens to be the poverty capital of the world.

Another interesting thing about this album is that despite the fact that he raps mainly in English, he sounds very Nigerian in every way. Many rappers in these parts try so hard to sound like they aren’t from here. But not Paybac. With him, there are no phoney accents. Neither will you find those imported rap mannerisms present on the album.

“Cult!” inspires an unprecedented level of reverence in Paybac’s career. Some already call it his best ever. Others swear it’s one of the best 2020 projects in these parts. But one thing we can all agree on is that with “Cult”, Paybac solidifies his foothold as one of Nigeria’s most gifted rappers. It sets him right apart from his peers and also flaunts the depth of his artistic creativity.

With each release, the ever-evolving Paybac proves himself as an artist to grow with. We almost have no idea what the next Paybac album would sound like right now, we’d just have to wait and find out. And if you ask me, that’s already pretty exciting. 

 

From Davido To Adekunle Gold: Lessons On Adaptability

We’d never forget Davido. Not just because of his decade-long dominance in the Afropop space, but because he’s that superstar whose hands are always stretched. “We rise by lifting others,” he’s often quoted; and for the longest, he has tried to live by this maxim. Davido is the guy who doles out money to fans on social media, hands out millions of Naira to fans on stage, helps strangers fund their schooling, projects young acts into the limelight, and pulls stranded artists out of bad deals. He’s always been one to reach out.

“I think it’s something I learned from my father. That’s just how he was growing up. From everybody in the family to his friends. I don’t know man, it’s just a natural thing for me. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t help everybody.  But I won’t lie to you, God has blessed me that I’m able to take care of my friends, my family, and also spoil myself, spoil my woman, etcetera. We are not complaining, but I do what I can for the community, I do the most I can,” he reveals in an interview with Joey Akan. 

Davido often seems like the best ally new-gen acts have in the Nigerian Afropop space. Interestingly, it is this self-imposed Santa-duty that has led him into new musical worlds. Despite being an Afrobeats giant, Davido doesn’t seem scared to leave his comfort zone when hopping on some of these tracks with new acts. Just last year, he pushed Lady Donli to new eyes and ears when he hopped on the remix to ‘Cash’ and invited her to join him on stage at his December concert.  The year before, he joined the alté frontman Odunsi (The Engine) on ‘Divine’, one of the highlights off the latter’s debut album, “rare.” 

These are not Davido’s natural sonic choices. At his core he is an Afrobeats act, playing as one of the genre’s biggest flag-bearers across the world. But he also isn’t scared to test new waters, and it shows in his willingness to work with these young acts on their turf. Davido has also served several international collaborations that have seen him stretching out of his comfort zone. ‘Dun Rich’ with Popcaan found Davido riding the Caribbean wave like a pro while blessing Quavo’s ‘Swing’ with a scene-stealing feature. 

In many of these fish-out-of-water situations, Davido doesn’t sound out of place. He meets these artists halfway, retaining his style while stepping into their world.  At the end of the day, you have a solid verse, a brilliant song. 

Most recently, the DMW boss featured on Khalid’s ‘Know Your Worth’ alongside one of Nigeria’s most promising singers, Tems. Meshed in a song with two intimidating vocalists, Davido’s vocal talents appear very limited.  Many insecure acts would shy away from such ‘set-ups’. But not Davido. He isn’t scared to try. When he wraps his pidgin-laced verse with the daring question “shey him dey treat you right, are you happy?” You search your soul, barely remembering it was delivered in a near-faint husky voice. 

Therein lies the makings of a great artist. You know you can always be better, so you step out of your comfort zone and push boundaries in your craft. And asides helping you explore new musical complexities, working with acts who create a different sound from yours also exposes you to a new fanbase.

Times are changing fast. Genre lines are getting blurred. Sounds are evolving and you can’t be caught slipping; not if you want to last long in the music space. The trick is to move with the times, while holding on to your core elements and unique style. 

The music game is so brutal and unforgiving. When people know what to expect from your new project, they lose a bit of the excitement. And once they ‘see you finish’ musically, they run off to where they can get their next thrill. Natural selection starts to take place. And before you know it, the world has left you behind. Forgotten.

Another Nigerian artist who has been open to the new generation of artists and music is M.I. While many of his peers are stuck in the boom-bap era, M.I’s recent releases have been sonically ambitious. While many are crying at how the world has moved on from “true” hip-hop, M.I appears to have found the fountain of youth.  

For his 2018 projects “Rendezvous” and “Yung Denzel”, the hip-hop elder sought the assists of the likes of Odunsi, Lady Donli, Tay Iwar, Nonso Amadi to help keep his sound up to date.  He tapped into their talents, sound, and raw energy while in turn helping to shed the spotlight on them.  True, the former Chocolate City boss might not be rocking the clubs with bangers anymore but he’s ageing even better. M.I is still mutating. We are still excited to hear his music. He’s sounding as refreshing as ever. 

Look around. How many of his peers are still playing at his level?

Over the past year, Adekunle Gold has been shedding off his signature traditional sound for something more synth-led and poppy. All the sonic and aesthetic shifts we’ve been spotting from ‘Before You Wake Up’ down to ‘Something Different’ is building up to the next album aptly titled “Afropop”. Yet, he still retains his highly relatable pen, soothing vocals, and genuine personality that made many fall in love with him in the first place. 

It won’t be so shocking to realize that for Adekunle Gold, “Afropop” isn’t even the destination. In a recent interview with Afrobeats Intelligence, he revealed plans to even redefine his sound further right after this album.  Right now, I’m making Afropop’ because that’s where my mind is. That’s where I’m in my head and that’s where I am, sonically. In 2021, it’s going to be different again. With Adekunle Gold, you don’t know what to expect really. I guess that’s how it is with me.”

The international serial-hitmaker Drake is on a never-ending quest to find new sounds to tap into. No two Kendrick Lamar albums sound alike sonically. There are even rumours that his next album leans heavily towards Rock, and we won’t be surprised if that turned out to be true. J.Cole has recently been crossing generational lines with his sound and that earned him his first Grammy. Take a look at Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Prince, Snoop Dogg; the list is endless.

Truth be told; there are no guarantees. Nothing is promised. You might step into new frontiers and it might not just work for you. You might even lose fans in the process. But you can’t play it safe all the time. Self-development and the drive to evolve is at the core of every great artist. And even when it’s rooted in survival, the willingness to explore new sonic worlds and take on new challenges rings better than sulking at how the world has moved on from your one ‘true’ sound. Want to be a good artist? Play in your little safe box. But if you want to be more, study the greats and learn to evolve your sound with the times. 

Push your boundaries. Take that risk and succeed!

Now Let’s Talk About Sampling In The Nigerian Music Space

By March 2016, half the world was furiously dabbing to Desiigner’s monster hit ‘Panda’. But just about a month before, no one even knew he existed. Not until Kanye stumbled upon the hard-hitting jam, initially released in December 2015, and chopped it on ‘Father Stretch My Hands pt 2’ off his seventh studio album, “The Life Of Pablo.” People fished out this scene-stealing sample track in no time and started spinning it across clubs and dance floors.

In just a couple of weeks, the song was number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making Desiigner the first rapper since Iggy Azalea to secure the coveted spot with a debut single. ‘Panda’ spent a total of seventeen weeks in the top-tens and even went on to score a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance. Kanye had unwittingly ushered the young star to the world just by sampling his music.

In recent times, however, Nigeria’s globetrotting star Burna Boy has gotten the stick from his countrymen for sampling Fela and Angelique Kidjo’s music. Many have used his recurrent interpolation of their lyrics to quibble about his artistry and originality. But a quick look at the credits of your favourite songs would reveal that this is a “crime” most musicians are guilty of. In fact, it’s no crime at all as long as permission is sought and due credits are given.

The process simply includes reworking the elements of older songs in the creation of new ones. Old songs and sounds are sometimes blended with new ones, thereby giving them new lives and sparking nostalgia. And just like in the case of Desiigner’s ‘Panda’, songs containing samples have helped introduce lesser-known songs and acts to a new and wider audience.

From 2pac’s ‘California love’ to Biggie’s ‘Juice’ down to Watch The Throne’s ‘Otis’, some of hip-hop classics are built off samples. Even ‘Mortal Man’, the closing track off Kendrick Lamar’s critically acclaimed album “To Pimp A Butterfly” features a Fela sample.

Now that we’ve established sampling as a standard practice, here is a list of some of your favourite Nigerian songs and the records they sampled or interpolated.

  1. Odunsi – Desire [Baba Dee – Gum Body]
  2. Mut4y x Wizkid – Manya [V.I.P – Ahomka Womu]
  3. Odunsi – Wetin Dey [Ruff Rugged and Raw – Wetin Dey]
  4. Wizkid – Sweet Love [Fela Anikulapo Kuti – Shakara]
  5. Olamide – 100 to Million [Rick Ross x Drake x French Montana – Stay Schemin]
  6. DMW x Davido x Dremo x Mayorkun x Peruzzi – Mind [Usher – Caught Up]
  7. Simi – Joromi [Sir Victor Uwaifo – Joromi]
  8. Santi x Bridge x Nonso Amadi – Freak [Ikechukwu – Shobedobedoo]
  9. T Classic x Mayorkun x Peruzzi – Where You Dey [Bruno Mars – Just The Way You Are]
  10. Lady Donli – Suffer Suffer (Mama G – National Cake]
  11. Dami Oniru – See [Adewale Ayuba – Bubble]
  12. Remedies – Shakomo [MC Lyte – Keep On]
  13. 9ice – Photocopy [Craig David – Walking Away]
  14. Falz – Johnny [Fela – JJD]
  15. Dremo Nobody [M.I Abaga x 2baba]
  16. Wizkid – Holla At Your Boy [7even x Lil Kim – Girls]
  17. Burna Boy – Ye [Fela Kuti – Shuffering And Shmiling]
  18. Paybac Iboro – Boy Band [The Funkees – Acid Rock]
  19. Simi – Aimasiko [Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey – Aimasiko]
  20. Santi x Amaarae x Shane Eagle – Rapid Fire [Lyn Collins – Think About It]

Muyiwa Akhigbe is on an unending artistic journey

In an oversaturated music industry teeming with young and vibrant acts, Muyiwa Akhigbe is among a cadre of acts bent on standing out. He appears to be playing the long game, constantly exploring the road less travelled sonically, rather than hopping on radio-friendly and club-ready formulas.

After years of experimenting with several other genres, Muyiwa now seems to have found an anchor in what he calls the Afro-futurist sound. This is a fresh genre he stumbled upon while working in the studio with friend and frequent collaborator, BankyOnDBeatz. The Afro-futurist sound is a refreshing potpourri of Afrocentric and western futurist sounds spiced with elements of funk, afro-jazz and EDM.

In his words, it “is a blend of Western Futuristic sound and also Afrocentric sound. When I mean Western, we are taking elements from EDM, House, and a little bit of their contemporary Pop and fusing it with the Afrocentric theme music that we have.”

Muyiwa and BankyOnDBeatz have now gone on to release four successive joint records that have been received with open arms. And what started as just an exploration of new musical complexities is now slowly building up into a project expected to drop anytime soon. Muyiwa even promises it could morph into something way bigger.

For their last 2019 release, ‘Better’, they caught many off-guard with their promo run. The pair made customized cover arts for fans, industry go-to-guys as well as music influencers which were used as Twitter avatars and headers.  This simple but brilliant promo move sent ripples around Nigeria’s Music-Twitter community. Everyone was trying to make sense of what was going on, thereby spiking anticipation for the coming single.

For ‘Better’ things were different. That song is already one of my best-performing songs of all time. The whole album art thing reduced the stress for me. It made people want to listen to the song,” Muiywa tells me over the phone. 

The 25-year-old singer is also a strong believer in the power of collaborations. Just before the string of releases with BankyOnDBeatz, he released a joint project in the opening months of 2019. This was a thematic rap mixtape titled “Conversations” with rising lyricist, Rhye Ali which found Muyiwa exploring a dose of Afro hip-hop. 

We discuss this and more in this interview that has been slightly edited for length and clarity. 

PGM:  Why are you big on collaborations?

Muyiwa: Art is a form of expression and I like the idea of shared expressions. The whole concept of ‘let’s bring our expressions together and see what comes out of it’. Just because it’s art and it’s supposed to be unique. Art is just a journey that we pass through every day of our lives and we don’t know where it would end. So it is me just wanting to experiment with things and the idea of collaborations is one of them. 

PGM:  So how do you choose the people that you work with? Is there a process or method to it?

Muyiwa: I trust my instincts a lot. I don’t put too much thought into it. If I wake up tomorrow and tell myself I want to do a joint project with someone, shortly after that time the person would just come to my mind and I’d know that yes, this is the person.

PGM: Over your past few releases, you’ve been working solely on your new Afro-futurist sound with BankyOnDBeatz. Why did you decide to get involved with that?

Muyiwa: I am a non-conformist. I like to travel the road less used. In most cases, I’m just unconventional in my approach. I just thought to myself that the way sounds have evolved over the years, I want to be part of the people who have contributed to the advancement of sound as a whole. So threading a new part, trying to mix different sounds to create a new one is also part of that journey. Afro-Futurist music is something that in a couple of years, people would see why there is a need for it. It’s just good for someone to start so that others can continue.

PGM: How did this sound come together?

Muyiwa: At first it was like a coincidence. And then it happened again and I was like, there is a pattern here and this cannot just be some coincidence. So we went back and started doing stuff. Afro-Futurist is a blend of Western Futuristic sound and also Afrocentric sound. When I mean Western, we are taking elements from EDM, House, and a little bit of their contemporary Pop and fusing it with the Afrocentric theme music that we have. The percussion and everything it represents. The Africanness and the chords, the progressions are not normal. Everything that we have laid down has tried to bring this sound out as very intentional.

PGM: Is this all building up to a project?

Muyiwa:  This is building up to so many things if I’m being honest. As I said, art is a journey and you just have to keep going through it, experiencing it. Whatever it throws at you, you just see it as a challenge or as a good thing and just keep going. So in this case also, it is not only going to lead to a project. It’s going to lead to other projects and as long as we keep creating and as long as we keep staying true to what we are here for then the sky is the starting point. 

PGM: So given this climate whereby streaming has affected the way we consume music. Albums are slowly losing their relevance and sanctity. Do you believe in the sanctity of albums?

Muyiwa: As an artist, you don’t just wake up, or say you just started singing a year before and say you want to release an album. An album for me is that you’ve fully understood your sound. You’ve also understood your audience and you’ve found a way of making your sound and your audience meet at a middle ground. So that when it’s being released, they catch it the way you want them to catch it. If you’ve been able to figure out these three things then you can now say you are ready to work on an album. So it’s a thing of going through the process. That’s why we have stuff like EPs and mixtapes to see what works for you and what does not work for you. 

Like I told you it’s just a journey. And even when you do the album, it might not be efficient in those three areas. But then it’s just part of the journey so that the next one can be greater. So yes, I think albums are very necessary. Even mixtapes and EPs are winning “Album of the Year” at the Grammys. It’s part of your digital resume as an artist. It’s your legacy. You’d be known by those things that you put out.

PGM: On your imminent project do you have any persons you’re working with?

Muyiwa – The project is very dynamic. In terms of artists, we only featured one person and she’s a spoken word artist. But there are other features from artists but not like singing and all of that. We kind of picked off some of the elements on “Conversations” into this one that we are working on. 

PGM: What and who are your biggest influences? 

Muyiwa:  I’d start with what. I’m influenced by life itself. Life experiences, the things we see every day, that’s like my first source of inspiration. Abstract phenomenon also. I could sing about clouds just because I feel good looking at them. I’m also inspired by moods. When it comes to what, it’s daily happenings, abstract happenings and my mood. 

But when it comes to who, I try to consume a lot. I could get inspired by anyone and any type of music. It could just be the way the drums go on this and I’d be like this is mad, I need to adopt this. But without any argument, everybody knows that Brymo is the one whose music has been influential to my kind of music. There are two songs in my first project “Dear Music” that sounded like Brymo. Basically, alternative music in Nigeria. It’s from the alternative sound and also the alte sound. I try to listen to many of these people and they influence me even sometimes without knowing. Just because I have been exposed to their content, the influence could just pop up. 

PGM: So what is Muyiwa doing when he’s not doing music?

Muyiwa:  I’m doing 9 to 5 (laughs). I am an art director at an advertising agency so that’s what I’m on when I’m not doing music. 

PGM: Are you independent? How has it been navigating this industry as an independent act?

Muyiwa – Yes, I am independent. I am not signed to any imprint but I have mine which I started two years back – OLMA Records. And for navigating, na as the gbas gbos dey come daily na so we dey fight am. Every day, you’d just experience one new challenge that you didn’t expect. But because we love what we do, we’d find a to colter. And once we are done with that, we move to the next challenge. As we keep meeting them, we continue giving them gbas gbos with God on our side and hard work. It has been an adventurous journey and it will still be. 

. 

PGM LIVE with BUJU, GiGi Atlantis & Solis

Friday, 31st January was our first edition of PGM Live in 2020 and it took place at the newly reopened BLD by Play on Admiralty Way.
Pushing Good Music Live intimate session featured the sassy Gigi Atlantis, the soulful Solis and the salient rising vocalist BUJU.
We also had surprise performances from Evelle, Willifmore (The Poet) and the DJs on the night were DJ Ibbie & DJ Honeeay.
The amazing performances electrified the audience and soon had everyone on their feet singing and dancing while sipping on Jameson Irish Whiskey.
In its usual fashion, before the performances kicked off, Douglas Jekan (PGM – Founder), welcomed fellow music lovers and spoke about the recent displacement of Tarkwa Bay residents and the PGM Club’s intention to raise funds for the affected victims. He also urged attendees to contribute whatever they can and to keep the conversation alive.
Thanks to all the donors, so far, we have raised N485, 000 (Naira).
If you wanna donate, please click this link
THE NEXT PGM LIVE ON FEB 22, 2020 (ABUJA)
About The PGM Club
The PGM Club is a leading platform for unearthing and showcasing genuinely talented musicians with good music. Our believe is that good music should be embraced as an art that not only promotes freedom of expression and stimulates the mind, but also promotes self-awareness and consciousness.
For more information email admin@thepgmclub.com
And, follow the club on all social – @thepgmclub

Crayon Is Bound To Win Over Unbelievers With ‘Kpano’

When Mavin newbie Crayon released his debut and introductory “Cray Cray” EP, a lot of people didn’t know what to make of it. Undoubtedly, the boy had talent but many just couldn’t help seeing him in the shadow of Mavin’s golden boy, Rema.

In May 2019, Crayon was officially unveiled on the Mavins’ Don Jazzy-led posse cut, ‘All is in Order’ that got people asking questions.  Just a couple of weeks after, he also laid down a solid hook for Ladipoe’s fling with Afropop, ‘Based on Kpa’. 

But with ‘So Fine’ a standout cut off his EP, Crayon laid every doubt to rest about his talent, delivering a soothing yet body-moving love number that radiates a level of confidence rarely found in burgeoning acts. And with a label with far-reaching tentacles like Mavin, Crayon’s name was everywhere although the project recorded a middling success. 

Now, the singer has regrouped and is bent on winning over unbelievers with his first post-“Cray Cray” single, ‘Kpano’. 

Like most releases in this streaming-led climate, ‘Kpano’ is a very short but sweet affair, running just over two minutes of magic. On this stunner, the young singer needs no assists as he sounds super-charged crooning about his love interest over a heavily packed Ozedikus beat headed straight for the clubs.

Steaming with overwhelming crossover potential, this might just be the spark Crayon needs to propel him to mainstream consciousness and perhaps dominance.

Enjoy the record above.

The PGM Club’s Best 20 Songs In 2019

2019 in retrospect was quite a good year as far as the Nigerian music industry is concerned. Over the past 364 days, Afrobeats, Nigeria’s major music export, got more visibility on the world stage, we experienced so many exciting releases and bespoke rollouts. But most of all, we witnessed an influx of a range of young, vibrant and talented artists that dominated the airwaves such that people started to speak of a change of guard in the industry that up until recently was dominated by a duopoly. Amidst a tidal wave of releases this year, we at the PGM Club have come to put out a list of our top 20 records that believe dominated the year. 

Tems – Try Me

A follow up to her year-opening stunner, ‘Looku Looku‘, ‘Try Me’ is a breakout anthem for the oppressed, underrated and understated who have been suppressed from use and abuse. Over a simple and laidback beat, a spirited Tems is on a mission to set herself free as she continuously asks why her subjugator keeps pushing her to the wall.

With a powerful sing-along-hook, this song is so infectious that’d get you in the zone right from your first listen. If there was ever any doubt about Tems skill as a dazzling vocalist and songwriter, ‘Try Me‘ puts that to rest. The record has gained much traction on the airwaves and its video has racked up over a million views on YouTube.

Lady Donli x The Cavemen – Cash

Cash’ is the lead single off Lady Donli’s well-received debut album, “Enjoy Your Life” that got blessed with a Davido-assisted remix. The original single which Lady Donli revealed was recorded at a time when she was broke and frustrated soundtracks our unending hustle and bustle for money. The song has one simple message; this life is one so enjoy it as much as you can. 

Teni- Billionaire

The lead single Teni’s her 6-track EP of the same title, ‘Billionaire’ is that anthem that reaffirmed Teni’s position as a hitmaker after near-misses released earlier in the year.  Produced by Pheelz, ‘Billionaire’ is an up-tempo record, rich in instrumentation and overflows with ambition, providing a perfect blend of a stunning dance record with declarative and prayerful lyrics. Proudly weaving together Yoruba and English over ‘alujo‘-laced percussion, Teni sings of her lofty dreams of being a billionaire as well as the luxury and excess that comes with being one. She also backed this record with a brilliant TG Omori-directed video.

Mojo ft Prettyboy DO – Chop Life Crew

A highly enjoyable record, ‘Chop Life Crew’ as its title suggests is a not-so-subtle reminder that life is short and it is to be enjoyed to the fullest. Both D-O and MOJO deliver energetic verses that drive the message home over a slick production with rolling hi-hats and hard-hitting kicks. The Ronchi-produced record also houses a catchy-hook that gets you bobbing your head and whistling along upon every listen.

Rema – Dumebi

A standout cut off his 4-track self-titled debut EP “Rema“, ‘Dumebi’ is that monster hit that speedily propelled the freshly unveiled Mavins act to stardom.  A very catchy and danceable Afropop record, ‘Dumebi‘ alongside its accompanying video undoubtedly dominated the airwaves throughout 2019 making Rema a household name in no time.  

Reekado Banks – Rora

After a brief self-imposed hiatus, Reekado Banks came back with a King Tuzi-produced bang titled ‘Rora’. Undoubtedly, Reekado Bank took the doubts out of our minds and hushed naysayers with this sleeper hit. Over the mid-tempo Afropop record, Reekado Banks is in full woman-worship mode as he adulates his love interest begging her to ‘calm down’.

Joeboy – Baby

Very early into the year, Joeboy eased himself into the hearts of many with his Afropop love record, ‘Baby’. Over the soft but sparkling instrumental, the young singer openly declares love for his sweetheart, gifting us one of the best sing-along hooks of 2019. And ever since the release of this chart-topping smash, the Empawa has been on a joy ride to stardom and mainstream success. Proving he was no fad, the young singer also followed up with equally beautiful songs, ‘Beginning‘ and ‘Don’t Call Me Back‘ and an impressive 5-track EP, “Love & Light.”

Sarz & WurlD – Mad

Sarz and WurlD finally treated us to their much-teased “I Love Girls With Trobul” EP this year, and one of the standouts off the tape is ‘Mad’. Across the infectious record, WurlD’s artistic strengths are on full display as the song is well written and delivered with a solid vocal performance. He gives us a peek into his “trobul’d” relationship with Sade, one that isn’t exactly going through the best of times. Sarz’s production on the record is so thrilling that the song immediately ensnares you upon its first listen.

Santi – Sparky

A single off his debut album “Mandy and the Jungle,” ‘Sparky’ finds Santi crooning over a soft and minimalist production which leaves enough room for the dominance of the vocals and polished delivery of the dreadlocked singer. Just like the visuals for ‘Freaky’, the accompanying visuals for ‘Sparky’ appears to be highly inspired by the 90s Nollywood culture which others have subjected to ridicule. 

Johnny Drille – Papa

Released in celebration of Father’s Day, ‘Papa’ finds the Mavin Records alternative-folk singer appreciating his dad and crooning about his spirituality spurred and serviced by his father. Backed mainly by stifling strings and solemn keys, Johnny Drille opens the record by recounting the fatherly advice he was given when he was much younger to have his life guided and guarded by faith and prayers. He then describes how his father keeps in touch with him regularly and reminds him not to let go of his spirituality in the strange land he currently finds himself.

 Boj x Kwesi Arthur, Darko Vibes – Awolowo

Over the record produced by the acclaimed ‘alte playmaker’, GMK, BOJ recruits a team of Ghana’s finest; Kwesi Arthur, Darko Vibes and Joey B. The song also features additional vocals by Zamir and guitar by friend-of-the-family, Tomi Thomas.

Across the record, BOJ delivers a chilling hook with his gruff voice over the simplistic but dazzling GMK-production. Kwesi Arthur, Joey B and Darko Vibes also didn’t disappoint, coming through with impressive 16s woven in English, pidgin and their native tongues. This record also has a Naija remix that features Ycee, Fresh L and Falz.

Odunsi – Tipsy

A striking step-forward from last year’s debut album ‘rare.’, ‘Tipsy’ finds Odunsi (The Engine) pushing his music into darker territory, with elements of R&B, soul and pop part of his global-facing, Afro-fusion sound. His vocal interplay with RAYE is the perfect fit, with both artists possessing the character and star quality to naturally complement each other’s talent. This striking record helped to introduce the alte frontman to a wider international audience. 

Buju X Zlatan – Spiritual

One of the amazing talents that 2019 introduced to us is Buju. The young singer is no doubt one of the most talented singers on the rise and is looking to an even more promising 2020. One of the songs that thrust him into the public eye is his August release, ‘Spiritual’ featuring Zlatan. Over the ad-lib laced zanku anthem, Buju’s vocals shine through, dazzling the uninitiated as he croons about his lover over the chilledSteph production. Zlatan also came through on the record with one of his most thrilling verses of the year. 

Davido x Popcaan – Risky

On this Popcaan-assisted record, Davido crafted a beautiful hook from the disjointed, grating and hilarious Hot 97 freestyle. Just a few hours before its release, Davido gave us a fair warning on Twitter “What you all laughed at!! You will dance to!!” and he couldn’t have been more accurate.

Produced by Speroach Beatz, ‘Risky‘ helped reignite the anticipation for his long-awaited sophomore album “A Good Time.”

AYLØ – Paris

AYLØ gave us the first taste of the material he had been working on in silence “Dnt’ Dlt” with the record titled ‘Paris’. On the song centred around fiding beauty, AYLØ delievers a soothing and melodious record over a simplistic and minimalist production. With his emotive vocals on full display, he croons about how he is helplessly in love with his sweetheart. “We are all damaged …” he resigns. This song is co-produced by Le Mav and Odunsi The Engine.

Naira Marley – Opotoyi

Naira Marley isn’t exactly a PGM-type artist, but his influence and dominance this year cannot be understated. Throughout the year, he was surrounded with self-inflicted controversy that kept his name circling in the media and also had a string of hits to his name that made it very difficult for him to be ignored. On ‘Opotoyi’, Naira Marley hops on a catchy and fast-paced Rexxie-produced Zanku beat, ravelling in woman worship and street banter. 

Prettyboy D-O – Dey Go Hear Wehh

For his first post-“Everything Pretty” release, Prettyboy D-O came through with the high energy dancehall-influenced record, ‘Dey Go Hear Wehh’ and its Seyi Akinlade-directed cinematic video.  On the record, D-O delivers frisky verses over the hard-hitting instrumental before coming through with the highly infectious hook cut from a popular Nigerian pidgin dictum. He comes for non-believers and detractors, assuring us that they will soon be shocked beyond measure.

Tiwa Savage – 49-99

For her UMG debut, Tiwa Savage links up with YBNL producer, Pheelz to release ‘49-99‘, a mid-tempo afro-pop record with Afrobeat elements, particularly rich in instrumentation with scintillating underlying strings.

On the record, Tiwa Savage expresses her desire for the good things of life amidst the rife and turmoil in a country some are quick to refer to as a failed state. She is focused on securing the bag to afford herself the luxury designers and fast cars, “Mo fe ra Versace, Mo fe ra Bugatti” she croons.

Burna Boy – Anybody

In the future, when Burna Boy looks back at how much he achieved in 2019, he’d find much to be grateful for. Despite opening the year with a brief fall from grace following his infamous “African Giant” Instagram rant, the Atlantic act managed to turn things around swiftly, weaving it into his best yet – musically. One of the standout cuts and fan-favourite off his “African Giant” album is the percussive gbese anthem, ‘Anybody’. Burna basks in his full feel-good mode,  advocating the cutting off of any bad energy that seeks to kill the vibe. This record was one of the records he performed the most on his amazing post-“African Giant” press run.

Davido x Chris Brown – Blow My Mind 

One of the recurrent pitfalls of international collaborations in these parts is that it sometimes feels forced as most local acts sacrifice chemistry for star power but Davido’s ‘Blow My Mind’ is an exception. A lead single off his highly anticipated sophomore album “A Good Time,” Davido and Chris Brown’s chemistry radiated across the Shizzy-produced number. The sweet-singing Chris Brown seamlessly razzled across the track with a casual air that blessed the soothing and melodious love number with a scene-stealing feature. It was smooth and seamless that they also teamed up again on Chris Brown’s ‘Lower Body’ off his “Indigo” extension.

 

Notable Mentions

Alpha Ojini ft Ycee – One Knee (Chvmeleon)

SDC ft Buju – Do Me Nice (Palmwine Express)

SDC ft Tomi Thomas – Vibration (Palmwine Express)

Amaarae – Like It 

Crayon – Gock Am (Cray Cray)

Gigi Atlantis ft Fasina – Wahala On The Rocks

Ckay – Way (CKay The First) 

Dice Ailes ft Falz -Alakori 

Bris B ft Santi – Supa sigh 

Dami Oniru – Alive (Bri’s Lounge)

Blaqbonez – Shut Up (Mr Boombastic)

 

Remember to check out all these records and keep supporting good music. Cheers!

Burna Boy’s ‘Money Play’ Is A Fitting Cap To A Tremendous Year

In the future, when Burna Boy looks back at how much he achieved in 2019, he’d find much to be grateful for. Despite opening the year with a brief fall from grace following his infamous “African Giant” Instagram rant, the Atlantic-signed act managed to turn things around swiftly, weaving it into his best yet – musically.

Over the past 11 months, Burna Boy performed at the World’s biggest music festival, Coachella; clinched his first BET Best International Act Award — where Mama Burna delivered her now-celebrated speech –; won the Best African Act category at the  MTV Europe Music Awards; featured on Beyonce‘s “Lion King” album and released his culturally and commercially successful “African Giant” album.

This hit-laden project was accompanied by an impressive press run that strategically placed Burna Boy as the poster boy for the globetrotting Afrobeats sound. This is why it wasn’t much of a surprise when his Grammy nomination came through; an announcement that threw everyone into an orgy of celebration.

Enough said, it is simply undeniable that it was in 2019 that Burna Boy eased himself into the primus inter pares position as far as Nigerian music is concerned.

And in the spirit of Christmas, the grammy-nominated act released a new single, ‘Money Play‘ earlier today without warning, to crown the amazing year and decade. This record is one for the festive season as it is a tune you can show-off your updated zanku moves to.

Across the dance-prompting beat, Burna seems to be just having fun, stringing rhymes together and reminding everyone of the essentiality of money.

Enjoy this early present from Santa Burna below.

 

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