2018 was quite a year, and it’s probably the best year in music since the epic 2008. Music upon music, albums upon albums, breathtaking moments and all, it was an eventful season for the Nigerian music industry.
From new break-throughs, to Wizkid’s groundbreaking performance and M.I’s glamorous return, here are a number of the biggest stories that took over the headlines, in 2018.
Since his epic comeback with “You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Life,” in 2017, every fan of hip-hop in Nigeria (read: Africa) be yearning for more of M.I Abaga, a man who once proclaimed himself the Messiah of Rap in Nigeria. At that point, we knew a M.I project was imminent.
Then the Choc City boss, pulled a Beyonce on us, and dropped “Rendezvous,” a playlist project, as a surprise. We were expecting a M.I project, but “Rendezvous” still came as a surprise to us. And it was bang. With enough top-notch collaborations to tickle our fancy, it’s one of the best albums of 2018. It was a moment.
WIZKID SIGNS TERRI
Since Wizkid’s StarBoy imprint was launched in 2013, a couple of artists have been affiliated with the label. There’s R2Bees, Maleek Berry, L.A.X and Mr Eazi. But rumour has it that none of them (which could exclude L.A.X, in some cases) was actually signed to the label. So, all the while they’ve just been making music with good vibes.
But 2018 was the year to take it to another level. Wizkid unveiled Terri Ryn, put him on the biggest pop record of the year, “Soco,” and made it official in March, when they were pictured signing a contract. It’s every artist’s dream to get signed by labels, but it’s not every day people like Wizkid put on artists. 4n short, Terri became a sensation!
OLAMIDE LAUNCHES TV STATION
Olamide is a business, man! Who could have thought the “Science Student” sapper was working on a TV channel? But it happened.
In March 2018, as his birthday was approaching, he announced that he’d drop a song, produced by his longtime boss, ID Cabasa. That was the big news, until he posted on his birthday about owning a TV Station. That’s the first of its kind in Nigeria, in that, no other artist has diversified into entertainment to that extent. Named after his popular moniker, Voice Of The Streets, the TV dedicated to entertainment launched on a subscription based decoder, Play TV.
If that wasn’t the biggest Olamide news, at the time, I don’t know what is.
Idowest became popular at the era when shaku-shaku was hot, for his hit track with Slimcase, “Shepeteri,” but as a street artiste, the last thing you could think would dawn on us was Davido signing him up.
Sinzu, (you may know him as Sauce Kid) was a bright and promising rapper in 2005. But ten years after, he was all shades of “criminal,” stealing credit cards and other fraudulent activities. He got convicted in the US.
And earlier this year was released. The news quickly made rounds on the internet, not just because people like bad news but ’cause no one was expecting Sinzu in the news. Around the time he returned, he was seen working closely with Davido and his team, some even thought he has a contract. Sinzu got on Dremo’s EP, “Codename,” but we can’t ascertain as if he’s got a running contract with Davido’s label.
Davido didn’t leave the news. After a stellar 2017, he rode into 2018 on a new wave. And a new girlfriend!
God bless Chioma, she got him in the news, made him a hit (who else is seeing relationship goals?)
The season of Assurance, started with Davido buying her a Porsche and even taking it as far as doing a song for her. Davido’s biggest song of 2018 is “Assurance!”
Falz got a shot with this. He might have just thought he was making a cover of Childish Gambino’s “This is America” hit, but what he got was bigger than anyone expected.
It was trending for weeks, raked in millions of views, in a short time, and continued to make headlines. It was subject to criticism from an Islamic group, who thought he having dancers dance in hijabs, isn’t appropriate. The Islamic group also became subject to criticism. But two things were trending as the drama went on, “Falz” and “This is Nigeria!”
TIWA SAVAGE LOSES BET TO DAVIDO
When the 2018 BET Award nominations list came, we were happy there were two Nigerians there. Davido and Tiwa Savage, and they were to battle Cassper Nyovest and a host of other UK guys for “Best International Act” award.
We knew it was either Davido, or Tiwa Savage. With Wizkid not being among, he was probably routing for Tiwa, and she could actually win.
Davido won. We won!
M.I’s return was (and is still) significant to the culture, and the industry, in general. He didn’t only come with a surprise album, he came with more juice. It was time for him to showcase his production skills (Kanye stole his idea.)
Three albums, a joint from Choc Boi Nation Vice President, Loose Kaynon, and A-Q, “Crown,” then M.I’s long-awaited “Yxng DxnzL” and Blaqbonez’s major debut “Bad Boy Blaq.” All executive-produced by Jude “M.I Abaga.” For a month, it was a lockdown, really!
KIZZ DANIEL SIGNS DEMMIE VEE, PHILKEYZ TO FLYBOI
Kizz Daniel left G Worldwide, and started his own imprint, FlyBoy Inc (FBI), and we were blown away when he announced that he’s signed two guys.
He signed Demmie Vee, who is quite known in the music sphere, and producer Philkeyz, who has prior to the time worked on Kizz Daniel’s “For You” featuring Wizkid.
WIZKID VS SHOLA
Twitter literally exploded, and this one time, it’s not in favour of our beloved Starboy. It was a mass trolling.
After a series of back and forth about how Wiz has been a deadbeat dad, in September 2018, it hit climax. Shola, his baby mama put up screenshots of chats with Wizkid, and posted about it. At that point, everyone saw Wiz as the guilty one, and he was nailed on Twitter. Never has any celebrity been dragged like that on social media.
The industry got to know of a possible romance between Wizkid and Tiwa Savage, last year, when they collaborated again on “MA Lo.” But we couldn’t be sure. It’s gotta just be a chemistry in music.
On and on and on, until Fever season. In case you’re living in Mars, that time, here is the gist. Wizkid dropped a single called “Fever,” and although it was rated poorly, went on to shoot a highly controversial video for it. In the video, Tiwa and Wiz were in a romance, and she was just a vixen. That had to get tongues wagging. For days, it was the hottest news in town. The video hitting a million views on YouTube in 24 hours, there’s no way that’s not one of the biggest news of 2018.
A lot has happened to Olamide’s YBNL Nation, since Lil Kesh, Adekunle Gold, Chinko Ekun and others left. Although there was still Temmie Ovwasa and DavoLee, Olamide’s seemed like the only star player in the team. Earlier this year, he signed young LYTA and rapper, Limerick, had them drop singles.
Then, a couple months ago, Picazo was unveiled, signed to the Label. Yomi Blaze followed, and then FireBoy DML. That us, there are now 8 artists in the Label.