The Nigerian Spirit (Afro Beats Edition)

There’s a lot to celebrate in Nigeria (after all we are the Home of PRODA). The Nigerian Spirit is distinct and inspiring.

If there’s anything African slaves took to America during the Trans-Atlantic Slavery, it was music. Music has always been the soul of Black lives. No wonder Blacks are credited for the creation of the music genre, Soul. Black Americans have also created other music genres like jazz, negro spirituals and arguably the most famous art genre, Hip-Hop.

As African Americans were creating music genres in the US, back home their Black brethren were also creating genres like highlife, juju, mbre and fuji. Afro Beat was inspired by the legendary Fela Kuti. Although the term is usually confused with “Afro Beats” due to the enormous rise of African music in recent years. Afro Beat was Fela’s music; Afro Beats is the totality of African genres like Afro Pop, Afro Beat, Afro R&B and Afro Hip-Hop.

Nigeria has always been blessed with amazing musical acts like Bongos Ikwue, Onyeka Onwenu, Majek Fashek, Osita Osadebe and the world renowned Fela Kuti. But despite the presence of these artists, the industry wasn’t booming. Up to the early 2000s, Nigerian music was second choice in the country. Party jamz were from the likes of P.Diddy, Sisqo, DMX, Ja Rule, Sean Paul, and 50 Cent. But that ultimately changed with 2face Idibia’s debut album, Face 2 Face in 2004.

The release of the album by Kennis Music changed the narrative of Nigerian music. Nigerian music became first choice, at least in the country. Artists like P-Square, D’banj, Wande Coal, 9ice, Asa, Styl Plus, Olu Maintain, Timaya and even a rapper, M.I Abaga made the most of the new era by putting out great records that made sure Nigerians didn’t find what they had in shokoto in Sokoto.

However, despite all the success these artists were having back home, it wasn’t translated into the international stage. 2face, D’banj and Ice Price were still receiving their BET Awards before the main event started. That in no way means there were no positives in that era. Getting to the BET and MTV platforms couldn’t have been imagined in 2000. The sad reality was that the international stage didn’t consider Nigerian artists equal to theirs. But with all due respect, the world has been sleeping on Nigerian music even from the days of Tony Tetuila.

Finally, the period in which Nigerian music will receive some respect was still to come. The Era of Afro Beats World Dominance commenced with Wizkid, Davido and Burna Boy.

To be continued….

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