After last year’s unpopular releases under Sony, the singer had to work extra hard to amend his deal with the global music giant, which enabled him to start local records on the African continent.
‘If’ was a product of that. Produced by Tekno, the song released in February 2017, became the defining record of Nigerian music in 2017. On a personal level, it was an instant success for Davido. It was a vindication of his decision to alter his deal and bring the records home. It turned everything around for the singer. Where he complained bitterly about his 2016 career, 2017 brought happiness, and ‘If’ started it.
The record first knocked off Runtown’s smash hit, ‘Mad over you’, off its dominance as the biggest record in Nigeria’s mainstream consciousness. And then it flew beyond boundaries, and away from conventional reasoning.
‘If’ was produced by Tekno. Unofficial sources say the ‘Slim Daddy’ did more than just create the sound formation for the record. He also played a huge role in the songwriting. You could find traces of his nonchalant wit and inexplicable ability to turn a good catchphrase.
From videos of Omarion dancing to it, to its dominance in playlists across major streaming services, Davido flew on the back of the record – A rejuvenated superstar – and set himself up nicely for a great year. In fact, a banner year, filled with spectacular rewards for his art. The success of ‘If’, and its acceptance enabled him to tap producer Kiddominant to create ‘Fall’, which in turn led to Mayorkun’s ‘Mama’.
‘If’ created the pop culture phrase ’30 billion for the account’, which came to signify the ownership of wealth. It was the slogan for a global and African tour.
‘If’ was not without its critics. Due to its penetration across all demography in Nigeria, it attracted the scrutiny and criticism of the older generation. The most prominent of them was veteran Nollywood actor Patrick Doyle. He said the message of Davido’s song could lead many young people to engage in nefarious activities just to have thirty billion.
“Entertainment is a glamour thing but a lot of the people who are inside of the business are really pawns in another person’s game because entertainment and pop culture impact the people in an insidious manner,” he told HIP TV.
“When you start telling a young child that ’30 billion for your account’, he is gonna grow up wanting to get 30 billion by any means necessary.
“I’m sure the boy who sang 30 billion doesn’t understand what he has done but he has put in the mind of young people that anyhow you like: Yahoo plus, kidnapping… [the money must be made]”
Wow. That shows how influential the record is. With over 53 million views on Youtube and Spotify streams, it dominated the numbers game in Africa.
Davido’s year was made by ‘If’, and in the future when we remember 2017 as a good year in Nigerian music, we can all agree that this record played a huge role in that.