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Otolorin Olabode: Isn’t it Time We Called Wizkid a Legend?

Otolorin Olabode

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It is often a cause for debate among music lovers. Most music fans disagree on naming Wizkid a member of the Nigerian Music Industry Hall Of Fame. While many argue he’s too young to be called a legend, many have called him out, asking if he’s had any major impact on the industry.

Then, there are the Fela comparisons. They argue Fela brought change to the society and challenged the government. Sunny Ade made a lot of impact too, together with Shina Peters. They were revolutionary leaders of the Afro Juju wave we enjoyed in the 90s. These are classical examples of legends, and no way does Wizkid compare to them. That’s what people say.

Well, Wizkid might be 28, but if we were to argue about his impact on the industry, we have to consider we may not have had the Afrobeats takeover that occurred between 2016  and 2017.

It started in 2015, though. After “Ayo” dropped with “Ojuelegba,” a standout hit from the album, “Ojuelegba” began to receive interest from the international scene. Several foreign celebrities mainly in the US were seen vibing, dancing and lip syncing to “Ojuelegba.” Kylie Jenner, Alicia Keys and a lot of others were as one of the biggest fans of the Ojuelegba wave.

Then in 2015, Wizkid shocked us. The big break happened. An “Ojuelegba” remix dropped, surprising the internet. Twitter was all about Wizkid. Nigerians were astonished. This was Africa to the world. An American superstar jumping on our very own Wizkid’s “Ojuelegba.”

Wizkid got everyone talking and with that, we envisaged a foreign exploration of the Nigerian Music Industry. Prior to that, Ice Prince had been photographed with Hip Hop Legend, JAY-Z, and it definitely was no photoshop. If JAY-Z was interested in our music, then the whole world was. They wanted to listen to the sounds from the other side.

Our sound was going global, and this time, Wizkid was spearheading that movement with his “Ojuelegba” record. “Ojuelegba” would later open the door to an influx of features and collaborations with some of the World’s best acts. “One Dance” with Drake was the exceptional one we heard and even though Wizkid got a lot of flak for a “back up and whine rhyme,” that single line that was repeated got him Billboard Awards, iHeart awards and several international accolades. And who has forgotten the fact that Wizkid etched his name in The Guinness Book of Records in 2017.

Between 2016 and 2017, the innocent-faced kid cooed catchy hooks and plastered greatness on guest features. Throughout this period,  Starboy was busy blessing records with his distinct voice. Foreign tracks to be specific. Zara Larsson, Kranium, Chris Brown, Wale, Justine Skye and the Six God himself, Drake, all recorded hits with him.

Wizkid was hot in demand that Chris Brown had no choice than to take him on his One Hell Of A Nite Tour in 2016. All this continued in 2017 when he performed at some of the World Biggest Festivals. He was so extraordinary that he became the first African act to headline and also sell out the 5,000 seater Royal Albert Hall. Considering the expensive ticket price and the fact that he was the sole headliner, isn’t it insane it was sold out? This was on foreign land where the language of his music was different.

And have we even talked about his recent Afro Republik concert that was also sold out? A 20,000 seater arena that was sold out weeks before the show. These days, Wizkid is the poster boy for a new school of artistes fashioning their own sounds from the continent and embarking on a journey into genre obfuscation.

Wizkid’s legendary status might not be confirmed now, but there’s an assurance he’s in the same level with some of Nigeria’s music greats who churned out hits in the 90s. Wizkid is the new school kid, giving us most of the classics we’ve heard in the last decade.

His impact and influence in the industry is an immense one and we all should just ask ourselves, who has else done it at this relatively young age?

Answer: No one!

Otolorin Olabode is a music journalist, writer and critic. He lives for the art and he also has a thing for upcoming artistes and can be contacted via +23464717949 and can also be followed on Twitter: @The_Otolorin

23 Comments

  1. Ibukun

    July 25, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    May God Bless you for this article… We need to recognize achievement to encourage them to do more. Once again u are bless ma

  2. lyoncrescent

    July 25, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Wizkid is exceptional but not yet a Legend in my opinion.Wizkid is like Neymar.Legends are R9,R7 and Messi.

    Legendary status in my view is determined by the immortality of the Artistes songs/materials. The songs in my opinion have to be timeless and evergreen. Wizkid is brilliant and is currently the wave of the moment. However i doubt if my children will listen to wizkids music in 20 years time. Not to talk about my childrens children. My father danced and bumped fela, I bumped fela. My child will most likely listen to fela. As i am a yoruba man same is applicable to the music of KSA and Ebenzer Obey. Even Shina Peters who released over twenty albums is a legend off just four albums:Ace “Afro Juju Series 1 (1989)
    Shinamania (1990)
    Dancing Time (1991)
    Experience (1992)

    One you hear Afro Juju Shina Peters…, you just have to bump and its moving to the next generation.

    Finally, KSA,Ebenezer Obey,Shina Peters and Fela are musicians. The sound and the lyrics go hand in hand.SHina peters doesnt have the richest of lyrcis but he still pulls a pound over wizkid.

    Without disrespecting or undermining his craft, Wizkid is often “saved” by clever hooks and fantastic beats. He has a good ear for a good beat. If you read out wizkids lyrics and kill the beats, you will discover the beats do more for wizkid than wizkid does for the beats. Ojuelegba is a classic example. ALl in All, posterity will judge if wizkid is a legend or not. It will also be interesting to see how wizkids gets on in his thirties when the autotune wont work with his older image then.He is an exceptional artiste who has been able to crossover to the other side but Legendary ?

    Legendary Paul McCartney of the beatles actually came to Nigeria and he listened to fela play at the shrine and he wept. Thats like Drake coming to Nigeria and just being in awe of wizkids performance/talent and him crying. In the 1970s, McCartney wasn’t the only superstar to recognise Fela’s musical innovations, the way in which he fused high-life and jazz with the rhythms of funk to create ‘Afrobeat’. When James Brown toured Nigeria in 1970, bassist William ‘Bootsy’ Collins recalls, ‘[Fela] had a club in Lagos, and we came to the club and they were treating us like kings. We were telling them they’re the funkiest cats we ever heard in our life. I mean, this is the James Brown band, but we were totally wiped out! That was one trip I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.’

    • Savage

      July 26, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      You are right bro, I love this
      I’m a wizkid fans oooo

    • Abiola

      March 29, 2019 at 7:23 am

      Wizkid doesn’t use Autotube uncle and Go and Lusten to his last album SFTOS!! Filled with lyrical content it Nigerians didn’t like it and were saying they wanted to dance. He is giving you want you people ask for. In my opinion Wizkid is a legend whether you like it or not. He is the one spearheading the Afropop movement in Africa and he’s known globally so yes he is A LEGEND. Who else achieved all these before age 30? NO ONE !!! 1 STARBOY LEGEND

  3. Ubong

    July 26, 2018 at 7:29 am

    You are most likely a paid writer or better still, you don’t know what the word “legend” means.
    How can we mention legend and put wizkid’s name.

    Which of his songs has affected the society?
    Has he been vocal against the tyrant government of the day? Where is this comparison between him and Fela coming from abeg.

    If we are to call anybody a legend now in the music industry, it is FALZ that is most suited for that title.

    2
    • BEN

      July 29, 2018 at 4:32 am

      You be mumu

  4. Prince

    July 26, 2018 at 8:48 am

    Go okay

  5. Olori

    July 26, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Wizkid is a legend. Many are too proud to admit because he’s younger, more talented and more accomplished than most. He’s on the path to becoming another Fela.

  6. lyoncrescent

    July 26, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Take out the beats of Fela and Wizkid and listen to the lyrics. Wizkid is helped by clever hooks and beats.The ojuelegba beat for example did more for wizkid than wizkid did for the beat in my opiniion. Paul Mccartney came to Nigeria to watch Fela play and he cried. James brown and his band came to Nigeria and was in awe of Fela. Fela has his own stage play. My dad listened to Fela, I am listening to Fela, Most likely , my child will listen to Fela. Wizkid is exceptional but his music is not timeless which is what defines legendary status. If people are dancing to wizkid in 2045 then we can decide. Nevertheless Wizkid is great like Neymar but not a legend not like the two ronaldos or messi at least not yet.

    • Ambitious

      July 26, 2018 at 11:39 am

      You nailed it man. I’m a huge wizkid fan but I must admit that you 100% correct

  7. hmmm

    July 26, 2018 at 10:18 am

    And Davido has the extra father’s mother, PR and connection to make it look like he’s the most successful. All na wash.

    BTW, it’s too early to call Wizkid a legend. Let’s see if we’ll say the same things you outlined in your article in the next ten years

    • hmmm

      July 26, 2018 at 10:19 am

      *extra father’s money

  8. knjnj

    July 26, 2018 at 11:08 am

    t started in 2015, though. After “Ayo” dropped with “Ojuelegba,” a standout hit from the album, “Ojuelegba” began to receive interest from the international scene. Several foreign celebrities mainly in the US were seen vibing, dancing and lip syncing to “Ojuelegba.” Kylie Jenner, Alicia Keys and a lot of others were as one of the biggest fans of the Ojuelegba wave.

    The major impact of the ojuelegba hit especially was the beat and not the lyrics. legendary beatz went hard on the beat. I could do a nursery rhyme on that beat and these people would still bump to it. The sound is the core of the new school afrobeat and wizkid has nothing to do with the sound after all no be him make the beat.

    • Sa

      July 26, 2018 at 6:50 pm

      You are not normal. Do you listen very carefully to the music ??

  9. Pius Princewill

    July 26, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    I think it’s time we recognize him for that though.

  10. Cubwebs

    July 26, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    I totally disagree with this article..
    Wizkid a legend? Can you even hear yourself right. We are too quick to jump into decisions, is it not how gold was brought to Nigeria which lead to selling the countries pride unknowingly.
    You can’t just give someone who seems ready all the credit. All that glitters isn’t gold.

  11. Mavis

    July 26, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    Kindly shut up

  12. Lynda Pam

    July 28, 2018 at 8:47 am

    Where is my comment??? Bella

    • Elle

      July 28, 2018 at 9:40 am

      In the bin…

    • Lynda pam

      July 28, 2018 at 11:47 am

      That’s your mouth you’re referring to I guess???

    • Elle

      July 28, 2018 at 1:24 pm

      Says the person with a stinking mouth and stinking attitude all over the place.

    • Lynda Pam

      July 28, 2018 at 7:57 pm

      Hahaha, this one really pain am, yeye dey smell, eya sorry hear??? Hahaha

  13. Dominic

    July 31, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    Wizkid is a legend for sure.

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