The music on display evokes beautiful sentiments and passions, but as a course, ‘Afropop 101’ is a snippet of our pop music movement.
Mixtape – Afropop 101
Artiste – Legendury Beatz
Guests – Simi, Wizkid, Mugeez, Maleek Berry, Vanessa Mdee, Mr Eazi, Niniola, Timaya
Record Label: Indie (2017)
Duration: 28 minutes
The downside about the emergence of the Afropop music culture from Nigeria to the world is the lack of a cohesive voice to tell our stories and push our genuine narratives.
This collective failure has made our narrative lacking in a particular focus and our sounds lacking a popular documentation.
But there are new voices emanating from the continent who are curating and documenting our music culture, one song, video and article at a time. And as the culture continues to progress, there are new avenues to capture all that is good and exportable to generate value.
Enter Legendury Beatz. The Nigerian record producing and songwriting duo, composed of siblings Uzezi ‘Zei’Oniko and Okiemute ‘Mutay’ Oniko. The brothers gained traction first by helming the production on ‘Azonto’ in 2013, which was performed by Wizkid. That partnership has grown over time and a look at their discography shows that they have had their fingers on some of the best pop songs coming from Nigeria to the world.
Their work on ‘Ojuelegba’, was the driving force behind the melody that propelled Wizkid’s name and sound to Drake, which has led to a tremendous leap in the singer’s career. With numerous credits in their young career, and seeing the conversation about Afropop continue, their first project aims to provide the many versions of the music on one project.
“Afropop 101” mixtape is the product of that vision. 9-track and 28 minutes long, it’s a project that allows the featured artistes space in their comfort zones to produce trademark music as a lesson on what we hold dear as music.
Timaya gives a decent account of himself, appearing twice on ‘Legendury’ and ‘BDL’ to showcase his fine blend of dancehall and Nigerian root music. ‘BDL’, hammers through with the retro synth that is a throwback of Konto music, which served as a base for the era of Ajegunle. Niniola’s energy is present on ‘Kini’, although the production falls into her comfort zone, and she offers what has been heard before.
Wizkid and Mugeez bring on the Starboy connection on the Islandic laid-back pop ‘Undercover Lover’, and although it rewards multiple listens, there’s a nagging feeling that the creativity and star power on display ought to have resulted in something more. Tanzanian Vanessa Mdee, is nowhere near her bongo on ‘Duasi’, her versatility is refreshing as she moves between Dancehall, reggae and R&B.
The final three tracks are a masterclasses delivered by Maleek Berry, Mr Eazi, and Simi. The latter’s ’Ori re’ has the beat progression of ‘Ojuelegba’, and a similar theme. Although the melody is novel, but the delivery packs the same character and soul to round off what has been a good ride. “I don make am o, the hustle don pay now, for where I dey now, bad belle no dey see me o.”
While the production contains a wisdom that has been gone round and round in the industry, it fails to fully document the entirety of the sounds that we are channeling out of the continent.
The music on display evokes beautiful sentiments and passions, but as a course, ‘Afropop 101’ is a snippet of our pop music movement. A lot more needs to be done.
3-Worth Checking Out