The thing about Nigerian music is this, when something is trending, everyone and their mothers jump on it.
If Legendary Beats is hot, everyone wants him on their song. When it was Samklef, we couldn’t get enough of it.
It’s the same thing with collabos. Now if you are old school like me, Collabo is shorthand for collaboration. You often find a newbie wanting to break into the music market thinking the best way forward is to collabo with the rave of the moment but in comes the middleman; the sweet talker who brokers a deal between the two artistes with a side cut for himself as well.
I bet you have heard the story about Davido, way back when he was the new kid, strike that, when he was the RICH new kid on the music block and was reported to be so badly in need of a collabo with Naeto C, who was then like the biggest thing that year.
The story goes that Davido offered the latter the sum of N1 million! What the report didn’t confirm is whether Naeto C got that much or not… remember the middleman. Ehen!
However you see it, collabos are good for the industry. It enhances the artistes’ music, broadens his fan base, demonstrates unity and strength in an industry where it’s easy to just beef one another until they turn to suya. It also gives some comfort to new artistes to ride on the shoulders of established artistes in order to get the much needed attention.
But collabos didn’t start today. Nah. We had them as far back as the 80s, recall the Family Planning hit single between Onyeka Onwenu and King Sunny Ade? …Wait for Me. Tongues wagged then that there was some love thing going on between Onyeka Onwenu and King Sunny Ade. And it didn’t help that Sunny Ade was widely known to have a harem; would Onyeka be his latest conquest? That turned out to be a ruse aimed at getting the audiences’ attention to the message in the music. No be today PR start!
Right click to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGIp3gVuslY-
Collabos get better when the artistes are on the same level in terms of popularity and their bank-ability. Case in point, the Flavour and Tiwa Savage collabo on Flavour’s monster hit, Oyi. That song took on a new meaning when it featured Tiwa in the remix video. Another beautiful collabo that scores high marks is Onye by Waje in collaboration with Tiwa Savage. That is perhaps one of naija’s best collabos by two divas. The song may not be a hit on the dance floor; it however, scores high, video-wise.
Right click to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEnL9OxiqMA-
And there are other stand out collabos, especially the ones that blend the old with the new as seen in the collabo between Tuface Idibia and High life maestro, Victor Olaiya on that evergreen song, Baby jo wo. They made it relevant for today. There’s also Wizkid’s Jaiye Jaiye with Femi Kuti, such collabos are always heartening when they blend harmoniously.
Have you heard that crazy one between Flavour and Wande Coal, Wake Up? “Comment tu táppelle, Wande Coal, Mr. Flavor eh” and there’s Daddy, the hit single between Reminisce and Davido which made it clear that though Daddy might be rich, Davido is working hard to make his own paper and shake off the rich man’s son toga we love to drape him in.
Some collabos however, don’t have the harmony we desire and leave bitter after tastes in the mouths of some artistes and their fans. They can be likened to a marriage of convenience.
One of such bitter collabos is the crux of the current beef between Saeon, a new female artiste and Wizkid, the hip hop sensation who gave us Caro. Word has it that Wizkid collected the sum of N1.5million from Saeon, which, must have cost her an arm and a leg considering she is a newbie
Anyway, the babe isn’t happy that Wizkid didnt even promote the song, Boogie down. The angry babe was quoted on her instagram page saying, ‘Folks be like I never charge artistes for features, but I’m N1.5million short and I couldn’t even get a retweet.’
Right click to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fo_A9qn1bAI-
In his defense, Wizkid said, “I gave her a hit. I no try?” And N1.5m is a paltry sum to the likes of Wizkid who let it be known that the rumoured collabo between him and Chris Brown, the American hip hop sensation costs him nothing. He told a soft sell, “No, I don’t pay for collaborations. If you feel my music, we do it. If not we remain friends.”
But you can charge abi?
Whatever friendship there could have been with Saeon has been tainted which makes me wonder; why would an artiste go into a collabo he doesn’t believe in? For the money?
While Wizkid isn’t the first to not promote a song he collabo-ed in, he is the first to have made an open boast of using it to help lesser artistes.
But M.I aka Mr. Incredible in a recent chat with Sabinews gave a thumbs up to collabos. Hear him, “80% was collabo with different artistes” which was his way of saying, the sky is big enough to take every artiste that dreams of reaching for the stars.
And I am not sure he charges.
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