Davido and Wizkid's fans can battle on the Internet for as long as they want on who is superior, but when it comes to the originator of today's pop sound in Nigeria, Wande Coal did it first.
Short term memory is an ailment that plagues most Nigerians especially most music fans. With disposable music ruling the charts, you cannot really blame them. Most acts are here today and gone tomorrow. Some of us do remember though.
Let's go back a decade ago. On April 12, 2009, Wande Coal released his classic solo debut 'Mushin 2 Mo' Hits' which remains peerless in the canon of Nigerian pop albums.
With this album orchestrated by the magic fingers of Don Jazzy, Wande Coal rewrote the DNA of Nigerian pop music. His style was highly melodic and sultry. He entered different pockets of cadences with an ease that marveled listeners.
M2M wasn't the first time Wande Coal showed us a new way of coming up with pop banger. He did that so well on Mo' Hits All Stars album called 'Curriculum Vitae'. While his contributions on songs like 'Booty Call' and 'Pere' did not go unnoticed, he had to share listening time with his crew mates especially with the charismatic D'banj.
Two years after that album, Wande Coal had the opportunity to do his things solo, and he knocked the ball out of the park. Songs like 'Bumper to Bumper', 'You Bad' and 'Taboo' were on the playlist of most DJs in the country. Wande Coal monopolized the dance hall and had the whole country rocking to new pop styles.
A year later, he would shatter records at the Headies 2010 winning six individual categories, a record I believe still stands to today.
Wande Coal's debut album has defined how pop albums have been created since then. Wizkid's 'Superstar', and Davido's 'O.B.O: The Genesis' are replicas of M2M. They all pay homage to Wande Coal's first album. They are both exceptionally good albums but not better than M2M.
M2M is a hedonistic album. While 'Se Na Like This' is more of a conscious song, the album was largely dedicated to the pursuit of partying and pleasure. The love songs are sensual, shedding the 90s inspired R&B that 2face Idibia and PSquare had milked to great success in their respective careers early on.
The philosophy of that album is a reflection of the young generation of Nigerians or millennials as they say. It was the first to properly curate the spirit of the times we live in or as German philosophers call it 'zeitgeist'.
The teeny boppers, millennials proscribe to this lifestyle of the full pursuit of pleasure. Wande Coal was the first to write the soundtrack for this generation. He is the author. He codified this in melodic verses and captivating hooks.
It can be argued that Afro-fusion, an umbrella name suggested as an alternative to Afrobeats by some critics, was perfected by Wande Coal. Wande's style essentially is a blend of various genres ranging from Hip-Hop to Fuji.
This is reflective of Nigerian millennials who were exposed to many genres of music, Hip-Hop, R&B, Galala, Fuji, Afrobeat, Reggae and many others as kids or teenagers. What Wande Coal did was to blend all these musical influences into an intricate musical style that many now refer to as Afrobeats.
Let's not also overlook the fact Wande Coal is the most gifted singer of our generation bar 2face Idibia. The person who comes a little bit close to his level of genius is Burna Boy. Wande Coal put it best on his mesmeric song 'Iskaba', 'nobody be like Wande Coal'.
The debate about who did it first or who is the king can go on for all I care but if you have a deep knowledge on Nigerian contemporary pop music, then you would rate Wande Coal higher than anybody. He was the first to do it.