It has been a good couple of years for the Nigerian music industry. The steady rise in the global (American in essence) acceptance of our Afro beats climaxed last year with the nomination of the acclaimed African Giant, Burna Boy for a Grammy.
While he did not win, a lot believe we have not heard nor seen the last of what has been tagged Afro beats to the world. The verity of that remains open. But just in the aftermath of the whole Burna Boy Grammy hopes and disappointment, another positive seems to have emerged in the Nigerian music industry.
Indigenous rapper, Olamide who recently dropped an EP that has got everyone talking is not out of the news yet as he signed a deal with Empire music, an American distribution company and record label. This deal is said to involve him, his YBNL rising star, Fireboy and any artist signed next under the YBNL label. While the details of this deal are still largely unknown, it is quite a significant move not only for Olamide, but for the entire Nigerian music industry.
Despite enjoying huge success on the domestic front, Olamide, otherwise known as Baddo has been unable to break into the global market like we’ve seen artists like Davio, Wizkid and Burna Boy do. This has been attributed by some to his unique style of rapping which is based on a rather heavy use of the indigenous Yoruba language and Pidgin. But this would not seem so tenable, considering that none of the more conventional rappers have made an international breakthrough either.
So, it would seem after all that Olamide is set to take to the world stage a style of music that is uniquely Nigerian and not a parody of the conventional American rap culture. We have seen how this worked out for artists like Wizkid and Burna Boy who brought Afro Beats out open to the shame of their more foreign-leaning colleagues.
Olamide’s style, apart from its heavy reliance on indigenous languages is also heavily fused with local genres like Fuji and Juju. The same way Burna Boy and Wizkid tend to sample Fẹlá, we have seen Olamide sample Wasiu Ayinde and Pasuma severally and their influence on his music is quite obvious. So, it’s safe to say another important local genre of music that is uniquely Nigerian is ready for export to the world! We should expect that if the experiment with Olamide and Fireboy is successful, more artists like Olamide are going to get the platform to go global.