Nigerian Hip-hop artistes have worked hard and smart to put the brand of music on the global map. In this report, SAMUEL ABULUDE examines the hip-hop industry, it's glam, buzz and pop culture and chronicles top Nigerian artistes that can fill up a sizeable stadium locally and globally.
How global are our Nigerian artistes? The brand of music which is diverse and intrinsic has continued to put Nigeria on the global map. In the last decade, Nigeria has gotten rave reviews on account of our culture-movies which Nollywood has championed and then our music which has evolved and passed through the process of time and trends. Hip-hop music which started from America has its own version in Nigeria sung by the contemporary singers.
So which Nigerian Hip-hop artiste has the capacity to fill a stadium? By 'Stadium' one implies the highest capacity centre that attracts the biggest audience. In Nigeria, the prestigious Eko Hotel & Suites has become the Mecca of entertainment events where music concerts, movie premiers, award shows and other social cum corporate events attract the highest participants. The Expo hall of the hotel sits 5,502 persons. That's about the largest event centre in Lagos and it has hosted Wizkid, Falz, Davido's solo concerts and other mega concerts.
Arguably, the biggest contemporary artistes that have made successful music concerts in Nigeria are Wizkid, Davido, Falz, Flavour, Adekunle, Tu Baba, Simi, Bez and Olamide not to talk of the Fuji, Juju and High life top musicians.
D'Banj, the defunct P Square, MI, Ice Prince, Timaya and unsung live band music artistes have also hosted mega concerts in the past successfully. Globally, only few Nigerian artistes have performed at prestigious events, stadia and opera centres in the world.
One underlining feature is the global appeal and popularity of the singers that have attracted international music companies to manage either the production or the distribution of their music.
Wizkid, Davido, Yemi Alade, Tiwa Savage, Tekno, Olamide are some of the home-grown hip-hop and Afro pop artistes who have showcased their music on the big stage in Africa and also in Europe.
Afrobeat music popularised by the Abami Eda, the late Fela Kuti has become a major genre of music performed by home grown African artistes and also artistes from the diaspora. Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti, Orlando Julius-Ekemode and a few others have had continual music tours of clubs and event centres.
According to a reputable music enthusiast and journalist, Dayo Odulaja, Wizkid, Davido, Phyno, Olamide and Simi are contemporary artistes that can fill a stadium.
Wizkid - He has not only filled large arenas outside Nigeria, he is very popular across Africa and beyond. With a strong following on social media, with at least 3 million followers, he is the biggest in the land.
Davido - He is also arguably the biggest act in Nigeria and Africa right now. With sold-out concerts in such venues as Eko Hotel and Suites and a large social media following that leaves him trending almost on weekly basis, Davido has the capacity to fill stadia even as large as the National Stadium in Abuja and any other across Africa and beyond. More so, he has his own concert at the 02 Arena coming up soon.
Phyno - Enjoys a cult following across the country, especially in the south eastern part of the country which continues to be his base, Phyno is not only capable of attracting a stadium capacity crowd, he actually had a show that gave security agents a hard time controlling the crowd as the stadium was overcrowded yet many more could not gain entry.
Olamide - Another act that has done it, with the latest edition of his annual Olamide In Concert (OLIC) taking place at the Onikan Stadium in Surulere as one of the most well-attended events to hold in that venue in years. Apart from this, Olamide has toured many cities in the world, shutting down venues from America to Malaysia, London to Bahamas.
Simi - Clearly the biggest female act in Nigeria right now and by virtue of that, Africa's leading female act. Simi has shown she can more than hold her own. A major example of this was the crowd that trooped to the JJT Park in Alausa for the last Salah celebrations once they got wind the X3M Music act was going to be the headlining act. With her impressive following on social media and the reception accorded her songs on global platforms like Billboard and iTunes, you can be sure Simi is more than capable of shutting down a stadium be it in Nigeria, Kigali or London.
Joshua Oghenevwotu, a music enthusiast and artiste says, "In view of global acceptance and media and publicity of the music tour or concert in concern and region, a Nigerian Hip-hop artiste says Wizkid or Davido or even a Femi Kuti may not be able to fill the stadium in New York like the Big Apple. But if we bring it home, say at the Nest Stadium, Godswill Akpabio Stadium at Uyo, our biggest Nigeria artistes can fill the Nest Stadium if it is free and he is the most popular in the region."
Music is big business and music tour is a signpost on the relevance and global acceptance of a musician. Reputable music tour promoter know as Alex Ozone differs from the earlier notions that Nigerian artistes have had solo concerts abroad and had filled the stadium or event centre. The O2 Arena has a capacity of 20,000 audience and Alex disagrees with the story and report that Wizkid filled the O2 Arena.
Alex who has successfully done foreign music tours for Terry G, Tekno and Olamide recently, responded to enquiries from LEADERSHIP.
"Truth be told, no Nigerian hip-hop artiste can fill a stadium yet. We don't have such hip-hop artiste yet. But in America, Chris Brown alone can sell out a stadium."
Speaking further, Ozone said, "Unless they have other top artistes on the lineup that is using amore popular and greater artistes to support the concert. Why do we have Davido live in concert and also have Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Olamide and co as guest artistes. Most of these guys can't single handedly sell out a stadium."