On Saturday, January 11, 2019, Soundcity MVP Awards, the annual music awards that celebrate African artists at Eko Convention Centre. The event was attended by African artists all over the world.
Nominees for the awards were announced a few weeks earlier and the night promised to be one of immense fun. Performers at the event were announced as Diamond Platnumz, Prince Kaybee, Wizkid, Shatta Wale, Rema, Stonebwoy and so forth. But on the night, Tiwa Savage, GoodGirl LA and so forth joined the performers.
But as the show went on, talking points became apparent. For one, it felt like Soundcity was trying to 'right the wrongs' of HipHop World and the Headies - whatever that means. However, it cannot be a coincidence that Naira Marley, Joeboy and Fireboy all won awards on the same night.
Without ado, let's get into it;
Nigeria remains the king of African music
Either for the reason of our unbearable loudness, our ego or for our ridiculous population or for the sheer amount of artists we churn out, Nigeria remains the king of afrobeats. This was again proven on the night. Of the 15 categories that were awarded, 12 were won by Nigerian artists.
On this note, I toast to Nigerian artist by way of 'No Competition' by T.I featuring Young Jeezy. In a country of endless drama, there's at least something to be proud of. Now that the sentiment is over, let's move on.
'Righting the wrongs' of Headies 2019 1: The kids are alright
Over the past few weeks and across several walks of life, the media has brought back that cliche, 'the kids are alright.' Forgive us, but we need to describe these things with familiar words. First, it appeared after a very young Liverpool team beat Everton's first team in an FA Cup match much earlier in January 2020.
Now, it's our way to describe a bright spot at Soundcity MVP Awards 2020. On the same night, three of the biggest artists from Nigeria's new guard went home with gongs. Rema was named Best New MVP, Fireboy won Listener's Choice for smash hit, 'Jealous' and Joeboy went home with the Best Pop gong for 'Baby.'
These wins were emblematic for what they represent. 2019 saw the Nigerian change of guard gather heat as the 2010 set showed chinks in his armour. It was heartwarming and sentimental, it was also liking a wringing endorsement of the kids. More importantly, it felt like a moment that was meant to 'right the wrong' of HipHop World and the Headies.
While this writer might be wrong and it might actually be down to voting, it might also be not coincidence. Fireboy and Joeboy won no awards at the Headies, much to the chagrin of viewers. Whatever the case might be, the kids are still alright.
'Righting the wrongs' of Headies 2019 2: Naira Marley issa goal!
Whatever this writer's grouse might be with Soundcity MVP Awards's hilarious categories of Listeners' Choice and Viewers' Choice at an award that supposedly derives traction of videos, it was nice to see Naira Marley go on with the Viewers' Choice gong for song of the year, 'Soapy.'
While it might seem like vindication for Naira Marley who is currently Nigeria's most viral artist, it also feels like a slight to the Headies. Like it or not, Soundcity MVP Awards is in direct competition with the Headies - the bigger award. It wants what the Headies has and will always try to succeed where the Headies faltered.
Thus, as much as we might argue on and on about Naira Marley and how he deservedly won, we cannot rule out the argument that it was majorly done to get the endorsement that the Headies lost. Naira Marley was totally snubbed by the Headies.
Khaligraph Jones on his Blaqbonez grind
In case you didn't know, Khaligraph Jones is one of Africa's best rappers. In fact, on the famous 'shout-outs without shout-out' roll-call by MI Abaga on his 'Martell Cypher II: Purification' verse, the Kenyan rapper he was referring to is Khaligraph Jones. They also collaborated on MI Abaga's third Illegal Music installment.
While Jones was accepting his award for Best HipHop, he did something Nigerians have mostly seen from rapper, Blaqbonez who was also nominated in the same category. He said, "I know you don’t know me, but I’m repping Kenya / East Africa and I’m the best rapper in Africa.”
Well, that was an interesting turn of events. Moving on...
Sound Machines get love in a 'Savage moment'
On Pulse's list of Producers of the Year 2019, Rexxie came second by a split decision. But then, at the Soundcity MVP Awards 2020, he went home with producer of the year gong. Guys, whatever the case might be, nobody produced more hits than Rexxie in 2019, but it is baffling how the producer of Soundcity's song of the year didn't win the award.
Nonetheless, metrics differ and Rexxie looks set to conquer 2020 once again. 'Nuff said...
But at the same award, Tiwa Savage stole the moment with her performance. For once, she chose not to perform afrobeats while showing off her ace dance skills. Instead, she kicked off her dance shoes, dressed like an opera singer at the FIFA Awards, cut her hair and showed off her singing skills.
After a tough 2019 run, this was surely some way to kickstart the year - kudos to her. She also went home with the Best Video gong for '49-99.' Whatever that song was, it sure had a great video.
Footnote: Headies still the biggest?
Well, this was unnecessary. However, the vanity of this writer makes him want to address this matter. As much as Headies 2019 was a questionable show, it created talking points and trended with the terrible virality of revenge porn on Twitter. While Soundcity MVP Awards 2020 is also the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter NG, it isn't quite at the same level of conversation and virality.
Nonetheless, Soundcity MVP Awards is catching up fast. Its 'no drama' narrative suits artists and fans. However, no award gets great without twists and shocking decisions. It's the sad affair of things that tickles the vanity of human beings. Outrage is the currency of great award shows.
While unnecessary twists should be left in distant lands of nonsense, awards shouldn't always play to satisfy anybody but fairness. It certainly shouldn't seek to satisfy 'celebrity.' But whatever the case might be, it is good to have Soundcity MVP Awards and the Headies together in one locale.
2020 promises to be a great year in music. Here's to an amazing year...