When it comes to fashion, music, movies, stage, and the arts in general, then we are beginning to take steps to getting it right! We are once again, becoming art conscious, and art is no longer just a form of protest; it is now both for leisure and entertainment! Of course, for every good artiste, there will be ten bad ones, and for every movie or t.v show we see, there could have been ten ones we will never see. The good news is, that wheat and chaff thing? It is now happening! It will no longer be okay for you to be a good video director, you have to be the best! And you can’t just be a voice on the radio, you have to be THE voice! Infact, in the unpredictable world of entertainment where mediocrity and average (looks, achievements, thoughts) are never celebrated, you either have to be good or bad, positive or negative, ugly or handsome, left or right…and determinedly so!
So 2008 ended!
Wow, it seemed like such a full year!
This was the year where, music-wise, the boys truly stepped up!
DBanj released an album that confirmed him as ‘The Entertainer’. It was his reply to critics, his gift for fans, and peace offering for the unconvinced! And it worked. First were the singles- ‘Olorun Maje’, and ‘Mo Gbono Feli Feli’, which once again showed what happens when an ace producer and a born entertainer work together! Then the album dropped and we continued to find favourites! There was, ‘Fall In Love’, ‘Gbelo Gbebo’, and of course, ‘Igwe’.
DBanj wasn’t the only artiste to release an album as albums flooded the streets and the stores! But not all albums were welcomed with open arms, and some old favourites seemed to disappoint their fans. We will keep listening to the Tu Face album though, it could still grab us by the third listen-through! For the truth is, sometimes, you need to listen to an album more than once to love it!
9ice’s debut album proves that. He had one single out that the world loved; even foreigners were playing it and putting it up on YouTube! SO we worried that the album wouldn’t live up to expectation, and when we first bought the album and listened, we weren’t sure how we felt. Yes, we liked ‘Party Rider’ and ‘Photocopy’, but that seemed to be it. Until we listened again, and until Deejays like Dele of Swe Bar continued to play other tracks off it (like ‘Street Credibility’), then we saw another power team in play- take an artiste with flow, humour, and tradition, mix him with a producer with the gift of the perfect beat, and you get an album with one of the best collabos of 2008, and an album that seemingly moves by itself (I mean, how many videos did you see before and during that album release?).
Other albums were highly anticipated, and did not disappoint. Naeto C finally dropped an album, and while not all tracks on it are classics, there were more than enough singles on it to confirm him as one of the new kings of hip-hop, especially as he helped Nigerians with new vocabulary. Yeah, my ‘p’ is confirmed so kini big deal?
Another king of hip-hop, Mode Nine, also released his album which pleased his die-hard fans, and had some songs that would appeal to those of us that like our hip-hop easy, so to speak. We especially loved the collabo with Banky W, another artiste that released an excellent album in 2008. ‘Capable’ was the title of the album, and the title track of said album, did a lot to show that Banky was more than just that ‘Ebute Metta’ kid. With an experimental take on r ‘n’ b, and with a sunny disposition and a whole lot of charm, Banky won hearts, and fans, and confirmed himself as an artiste to watch in 2008, and 2009!
A lot of albums were released, like we said, but one album stands out for almost eclipsing the record held by previous albums. Rumoured to have sold thirty thousand copies in the first thirty minutes it went on sale, and then getting sold out once or twice before the year ended, ‘TALK ABOUT IT’ has become the album to beat, and M.I, the artiste to watch. Who is M.I? Oh, just a short black boy from the city called J. He isn’t saying he is the best, he is just asking who’s better. He is an Anoti. A Teaser… Yeah Yeah, you get it now, we have the album; what about you?
2008 music was not all about albums though. There were also loads of singles that grabbed our attention!
‘Good or Bad’ by J Martins was one of such, with its’ philosophical lyrics, and catchy hook. Then, the poster child of Rap, Kel, released ‘Waa Wa Alright’, and gave us an anthem, and a sexy video to go with it! It was and will always be much debated, but no doubt, ‘Maga Don Pay’ was a hit single…whether it will be a classic or fade into oblivion is yet uncertain. It had its’ niche fan base, but ‘Nabania’ by Flavour is also an interesting single, and El Dee had two banging singles- ‘Bosi Gbangba’ and ‘Big Boy’, featuring Banky W. Another single with a niche fan base is, ‘Purple’, the first offering off the KNIGHTHOUSE STREET SCRIPTURES album, featuring M.I, Nyore and Mo Cheddar. Dipp released ‘Dangerous’, and 9ice featured on a track with Lord Of Ajasa, by ID Cabasa, ‘Fiwonsile’. Of course, one of our favourites is a track that many did not know was by a Nigerian at first, and then when they found out who did the song, it made a whole lot of sense- ‘IN THE MUSIC’ by Omawunmi!
Forget albums, and singles. 2008 was about the artistes themselves- where they went to, what they did, and how well they performed on stages!
To that extent, our favourite performers remain the ROOFTOP MC’s for the energy, passion, and the live music, ETCETERA for the soul and the vibe, PSQUARE, for the consistency and the thought that goes into each performance, DBANJ, for being an entertainer, BANKY W, for the charm and energy, OMAWUNMI for the sexiness and the control, and M.I, for the passion and his on-point delivery!
In terms of shows, events and places where these artistes performed, then we also have our favourites from 2008!
Collosal presents LIVE REVOLUTION every month at the VAULT, and it is live music at its’ almost best! Seriously though, all your favourite artistes, come to the Vault, once a month, and have no backing tracks…only a live band! It is a true test for musicians, I tell you, and I like seeing Rooftop MC’s, Banky W, Amplifyd Crew, Ruggedman and 9ice, up on that stage! They always kill it!
On a smaller, more intimate scale is TARUWA, which is a bi-monthly gathering of like minds. Once again, no tracks, just a piano, a guitar, and people! Our Taruwa favourites remain Sistah Soul, Bez Idakula, Chi-Chi, and M.I.
Similar to TARUWA but different, was WAPi (Words and Pictures), a monthly meet of performers- new, fresh or established! From Wordsmith, to El Dee, to Mode Nine, to M.I, to Teeto, to Waterside Players, everyone has been there, and everyone loves the experience!
On the mainland, there was Club Nomoreloss, which had all the artistes coming through, every Friday, to party, and perform! We loved seeing Ruggedman, Loose Kaynon, Kel (and Nyore), M.I, and MP there! And of course, the DJ i love for professional and personal reasons, was always on hand to give us the best mixes and craziest jams, right until 6a.m in the morning sometimes! Yup! DJ Excel rocks, and it is thanks to him and other dj's repping for naija music that the industry has blown up so much!
He was on duty again at the M.I Album Listening Party which is also hailed as the Album Listening Party of 2008! But, if i said that, then i could be accused of bias seeing as s.h.a.r.e threw the party! LOL
And Swe Bar is one bar you go to where you truly never know who will come up the escalator, and bless the crowd, with an impromptu performance! We have even spotted Tee-A performing with God Bless or singing Karaoke there once or twice! Banky W, Ikechukwu, Rooftop MC’s, M.I, Kel, and Omawunmi, have all performed there, and even though they didn’t perform, 9ice and Dbanj have also made surprise appearances at Swe!
While we loved being at a lot of concerts like Africa Rising, and Rhythm Unplugged, our favourite concert featured five men on the bill, three surprise appearances, a sexy host, and a zany co-host. FROM LAGOS WITH LOVE, had five record labels, including X3M, EME and STORM, working together to present Timi, GT the Guitarman, Tosin Martins, Etcetera and Banky W, live on stage to their adoring fans! M.I, J Martins and El Dee made surprise appearances, and it was co-hosted by Tana and Tosyn!
Our second favourite event was NAIJAZZ, the Nigerian Jazz Festival which held in December and featured the best, and the not-yet-discovered! We caught Beautiful Nubia, CON,tra.diction, Yinka Davies and Bez Idakula performing and it made our year!
In all this, it would seem that the girls are still a bit quiet, but trust us, our girls ain’t playing! In 2009, we will hear more from, and see more of them!
Omawunmi has shot a video, released her singles, and is performing and getting her music and her name out there! We expect an album, but even if we don’t get one this year, we will still love to see more of her, and hear a whole lot more cos that girl can sang! (No, not sing. When you sing even more than sing, then you can sang!). Emem EMa is back! As Mem’o, and with a new single out! We loved the rapper in the KUSH quartet and can’t wait to hear more of her stuff!
Blaise is not as well known as she should be, seeing as she is one of the Queens of Rap! It was nice to hear her on the M.I album (on Blaze, a track that sounds just like her name), and to see her as a contestant on Advance Warning, but still, we are Oliver Twists, and we want more! Someone we will hear more from, is the other Queen of Rap, Kel! With two singles out, she looks set to finally drop her album, and seeing her on stage, especially as she evolves, is always a thrill!
She has shown her acting proficiency, and is also becoming something of a fashionista, but Ashionye will always love music! We hear she is working with Rhychus Productions, Pype, and other producers and artistes, respectively so 2009 should be an interesting year for her! 2009 should also be an interesting year for Mo Cheddar. If you don’t know the name yet, well, you’re welcome; we just introduced you to one of the freshest voices in hiphop!
Other female artistes to definitely look out for are Omolara, Temitope George and Nyore, and on the alternative circuit, we have CON.tra.diction, and Sistah Soul!
This is our Entertainment Report, coming to you in the first month of the new year! By the end of this quarter, we should have another report for you, because if there is one thing we know for sure, it is that music, and entertainment in general, is dynamic!