State Of The Music This is why critics hate Nigerian pop music

Check out album reviews from any critic worth their salt. There’s a consistent negligence of pop music in these writs, and when it does get a mention, it is negative.

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Iyanya's powers decline, a new force has risen from his record label. His name is Tekno , and he is currently one of the best pop acts right now in the country. play

Iyanya's powers decline, a new force has risen from his record label. His name is Tekno, and he is currently one of the best pop acts right now in the country.

(Coko Bar)
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Nigerian pop music is my best genre, and I am a music critic. That’s shocking.

It is popular amongst my kind to turn our nose up at the conventional music that radio serves up, while sieving through the backwaters of the Internet to find gems. It is also a favorite past-time in this line of work to go through conversation looking to be the most informed about the music industry, it’s pitfalls, the chase of talents, and the eternal struggle of the human race to navigate the music business and make money from it.

Simply put, in this line of work, to be outstanding, is to be inquisitive: Read your heart out, watch more music videos than you can remember, find the best new artistes, look for causation and correlation in everything that happens within the music industry, but most important of all: Have a network of contacts and connections that you can always fall back on for exclusive insights into the what makes the music go round.

Kiss Daniel wins Artist of the Year@ Nollywood Europe Golden Award play

Kiss Daniel wins Artist of the Year@ Nollywood Europe Golden Award

(Instagram)

 

How many times have I plumbed the depths of Soundcloud and discovered music that would make me scratch my head in happiness? Or went to distant links that were sent to my email, not to enjoy the music, but to be in the know. Who’s recording what? Who is stealing a beat? Who is riffing? What’s recording in the studio? What backstory or wisdom nuggets can we find, package and eat, and publish? Or just to be in the know…for the culture?

We do these things in search of a lot of things. And often we find them. That’s why we still have music journalism in this country.  But every critic, irrespective of whether they admit it to themselves, do it for a feeling I like to call the ‘Aha’ moment. It happens every time some new level of understanding, knowledge, juicy gossip and musical interaction opens up to us. We get that feeling when we hear an industry secret, when we stumble upon a super talent, or when we piece together information, and hit a glaring conclusion. That moment is priceless for critics, and the feeling can be compared to the effects of a recreational drug. That rush of happiness and elation that makes you keep coming back for more, and effectively holds you captive to its control. We are all slaves of the ‘Aha’ moment. We live for it, seek it, enjoy it, and move to the next. Critics are junkies, and our drug is the ‘Aha’ moment.

Phyno play

Phyno

(Instagram)

 

And that’s why critics hate pop music. It is the dumbest kid in the class of music, with very few ‘Aha’ moments. Whereby alternative music is that smart weirdo that everyone avoids but has a lot of knowledge to share, and traditional local sounds are like the street kids with survival skills, pop music is the one who repeats classes and mopes all day doing the same thing and lacking in ideas.

When you go full circle through the beautiful clutter of Nigerian pop music what do you find? Similar beat patterns and riffs of people’s earlier works, an insistence to keep the music at a constant tempo, and flat-out unintelligence. And critics hate it. Or like to think they hate it in public. It doesn’t challenge them mentally, and rarely does it stimulate new thought patterns or give people an ‘Aha’ moment. Simply put, it fails to provide us with our drug.

Check out album reviews from any critic worth their salt. There’s a consistent negligence of pop music in these writs, and when it does get a mention, it is negative.

Mr Eazi was nominated for "Best African Act" at this year's MOBO Awards play

Mr Eazi was nominated for "Best African Act" at this year's MOBO Awards

 

But Pop music is beautiful because it serves a very crucial purpose: It is our safe place, where we all go to touch base and be happy, before launching off into our pursuits. You know why dumb people have more friends than the smart ones? Because they are easy to be with, and fail to make you raise your intellectual level. YYou can be free, without pretense and bring down all your defenses, trusting in this person to neither judge nor berate you for who you truly are. That’s why we need Nigeria pop music – to let go, relax and in many ways drop our intelligence for a while and climb down from our intellectual high horses.

Bring on Tekno’s ‘Pana’ and Phyno’s ‘Fada fada’. Let us bump to Wizkid’s ‘Baba Nla’, and Kiss Daniel’s ‘Mama’. They are our best friends, although dumb, they should be cherished for the safe spaces they provide Nigeria.