Written By Odebunmi Emmanuel
If you log on to Twitter next Tuesday by 9 pm, the chances are one of our big 3 would be sitting pretty on the trend table. If there isn’t some sizzling gist about what Burna Boy and his romantic partners have been up to, there is always some unsolicited drama between Wizkid FC and Davido’s fans.
For your regular Nigerian youth that listens to all three brilliant acts, it might be a tough riddle trying to decide who the best musician is amongst all three of them – a riddle that we may not be able to solve in this generation. Regardless, one thing is clear. Amidst the seeming discord and obvious banter, there are not a lot of things that can unite young Nigerians the way music has. This year 2020, music has been our saving grace.
I remember the night that Odunsi dropped his EP. I folded a bit of my home training cloth and laid it neatly on the living room chair. I plugged my ears in and proceeded to “break my back” while dancing to Body Count. I have many similar memories attached to the release of Santi’s End of the Wicked, Burna Boy’s Twice as Tall, Fireboy’s Apollo, and AG Baby’s Afro Pop.
From witnessing the evolution of Adekunle Gold to the undeniable energy in Burna Boy’s album to the sweet electricity of Wizkid’s live Youtube performance to the pure vibes of Davido’s A Better Time, to the invigoration from DJ Cuppy’s Original Copy and Tiwa’s Celia, it is almost apparent that the Nigerian Music Industry seemed to open up its arms and say, “It’s a difficult year but we’re going to help make it better.”
One of the most beautiful things for me about these moments is the energy that persisted on social media for a while after each new album release. We were excited, we longed for more but most of all, for a little while, we were happy and distracted and that counted for a whole lot during the toughest of times in 2020.
Most of the projects I mentioned were released in the latter part of the lockdown period. Even though the society had begun to unfurl its petals post-lockdown, I didn’t feel the effects. For someone like me who is a student of a Nigerian federal university waiting for the strike to be called off, the months all felt the same., Music helped me pass time and it made the music industry all the more precious to me.
2020 has been a pivotal year for the music scene. We went from clubs, parties, and sold-out venues to virtual concerts and online performances. It was a beautiful experience and I’m sure everyone has a unique memory that highlights the impact music had on them this year.
As I type now, we are celebrating the release of Tems and Omah Lay following their wrongful imprisonment in Uganda.
People all over Nigeria rallied round to get their quick release. Post End SARS protests, I can’t think of anything else that brought the Nigerian youths together better than music, Can you?
(Well, anything else apart from our beloved Buhari Slander)