From Asa to M.I, Pulse Music has listed the ten acts that we feel have influenced pop music in Nigeria.
2004 was a great year for contemporary Nigerian music. It was the unofficial start of a revolution. 2face, Rugged Man, Modenine all released debut body of works that year. D'banj dropped 'Tongolo' on us, and things never remained the same again.
In honour of that ground breaking year, Pulse Music has identified ten music acts that have influenced, shaped pop music in Nigeria.
10. Pasuma Wonder- The Fuji maestro's name might seem off on this list, but when you think of the Fuji Pop sub-genre that has been relevant to Nigeria's pop scene, then Pasuma's name isn't that much of a stretch. Way before Wande Coal, Wizzy or Dammy Krane sang Fuji lines on Hip Hop beats, Pasuma did it while calling himself 'African Puff Daddy'. He has featured with tons of urban acts and has most recently launched his own rap career. Pasuma is the father of Fuji Pop.
9. Terry G- Nigeria's love for borderline nonsensical pop songs, scarce on lyrics (and words), and heavy on alluring beats can be traced to the success of Terry G's 'Free Madness' in 2009. It has to go down as one of the boldest and most rewarding moves by a Nigerian music act within the last decade. Terry G grunted, created his own words, made little sense on the joint, and scored a national with it. This gave artistes the license to 'do whatever' and freestyle at will. In short, Terry G create the art of freestyle.
8. Wizkid - Granted Wizkid did not create the style of pop music that rocks our radio today. That honour goes to Wande Coal. The Star Boy is however responsible for taking that style and turning it into a movement. The hard hitting 'Don't Dull' officially announced the era of a new brand of pop music that was more street oriented. Wizkid has taken this brand to Africa, and overseas too. His style has influenced plenty of acts, and shaped the sound we now listen to.
7. M.I - Rap did not enter the pop realm until M.I cracked the game with his uber cool style of rap in 2008. Rap was a thing of nerds and outcasts. M.I however was able to sell this maligned genre of music to the cool kids in Nigeria. From the underground, M.I took rap to clubs and the boardroom. His classic debut created a new stylistic era in the Nigerian rap game that is still prevalent till today.
6. Tiwa Savage - Whatever your opinion of Tiwa Savage and her music is, you cannot deny that the term 'sexy' was not firmly placed in our lexicon until she came on the scene. Her 'boob' moment on 'Love Me' 3X created a statement that the modern Nigerian female singer can pull off sexy moves as their foreign counterparts. She keeps taking risks, and pushing the boundary for sex appeal, allowing those coming after her to be confident of their sexuality.
5. Don Jazzy - This is the boss of the Nigerian pop sound. With a a career lasting 11 years, Don Jazzy has shaped, re-shaped, and re-shaping pop music in Nigeria. From successfully pushing D'banj as a top entertainer, co-creating the Mo' Hits crew (who still have active members), establishing Wande Coal as a strong solo act, and starting The Mavins, Don Jazzy is a pillar of pop music in Nigeria.
4. Psquare - Peter and Paul Okoye are the ultimate showmen in Nigerian music. Knowing how to put on a good show, they have revolutionized music and music business in Nigeria. Psquare is a strong factor why Nigerian artistes take music videos seriously. They have so many classic music videos in their extensive catalogue. They are the first to start taking music as a business. Let's not forget that they have great songs that many singers wish they sang. R&B Pop partly belongs to Psquare.
3. D'banj - He might not be a great singer, but D'banj is Nigeria's top entertainer. From his proper debut 'Tongolo' in 2004, D'Banj charmed his way into the hearts of millions of Nigerians with his infectious persona. He has been able to pour his colourful character into his songs which have turned out to be great songs if not classics. D'banj is the first bonafide star of our generation who brought excitement to the scene. With just two albums (the last one was in 2008) he has still remained very relevant. He is also one of the top entrepreneurs in our music industry.
2. Asa - Asa is to the soul genre in Nigeria what Fela Kuti is to Afrobeat, - the moving force, pulse that propelled a genre into the consciousness of Nigerians. Soul was a dead genre in the country until she glided in with her self-titled album. With a soothing soulful voice, she opened up soul music in Nigeria. Today, the likes of Bez, Praiz, Simi owe their success to Asa, the spiritual hawk of soul.
1. 2face Idibia - What else can we say about 2face? Legend. Innovator. Pioneer. Inspirational Figure. Game Changer. When it comes to artistes who have influenced pop music in Nigeria, 2face is the big kahuna. Every acts success can be traced to the pioneering exploit of 2face especially with his first two solo albums. It can be said that 2face kick started the industry we have now. he made all of us believe that it can be done. While D'banj is the first star, 2face is the first superstar. His work from 2003-2007 remains untouchable till today.