It’s around 7:30 on a Thursday in the final quarter of 2020 when a mail drops. In it is, ‘Jogodo’ Jimmy Jatt’s new song featuring Peruzzi. The magic started off with a Benue-esque message and then Speroach’s trademark Afro-pop style. While the sound had shown cracks in the months leading up to ‘Jogodo,’ this was a song that couldn’t be overlooked.
It was laced with equal parts braggadocio and self-vaunting that comes with being underrated - the parallel between the song and its perception. That was not the first time that Peruzzi would be stuck with a good song and a lack of commensurate response from his desired audience. It’s become a regular occurence now for Peruzzi to either create or be part of quality songs that go under the radar.
Before ‘Jogodo,’ there was ‘Kana’ by MixNaija featuring T-Classic, Terri, Haekins and Peruzzi. Later, he also had ‘Mauriello,’ ‘Gumbodi,’ ‘Show Me Love’ and about two other songs from his debut album, Huncho Vibez. Even on his critiqued debut EP, Heartwork he had, ‘Craze’ and ‘Majesty’ - until CeeCee of BBNaija appeared in its video.
Since the turn of 2020, Peruzzi has continued to produce good songs that have gotten lukewarm to no reception. ‘Gunshot’ was well-received and ‘Lagbaja’ looks like it might have the same level of reception - good, but not exceptional.
But then, on Sound Sultan’s album, he produced the brilliant, ‘Ginger Me’ and ‘Show Working' off his EP, 3. As regards consistency of quality performances on his singles and features, one could argue that Peruzzi’s name has to be up with the best Nigerian music has seen over the past 20 months. Yet, most of the songs are not getting the reception they deserve.
Why does this keep happening?
The reasons are a two-fold;
- Bad PR: PR might seem derisory in Nigerian media, but it sometimes counts against brand equity. It becomes an issue when the controversies compete with the music, anytime an artist’s name is mentioned. Peruzzi has been embroiled in one issue after another since his big break circa 2018.
When it’s not rape allegations, it’s a girl taking half-naked shots of/with him. When it’s not any of those, it’s as regards label dispute or even battery. While ‘bad boy’ has been used allure and selling point for many artists over the years and it’s been used to break acts like Justin Timberlake and Justin Beiber from the teenage heartthrob phase, only a few people can pull it off.
If you will have a ‘bad boy’ image, it must be in perception and not everyday life. With Peruzzi, it has seeped into both perceptions of his and perceptions of his everyday life. Make no mistake, he’s performing reasonably - numbers wise, but it’s worrying that some of these good songs are not getting well-received.
- Inadequate promotion: Sometimes, artists promote music that never really make the grade. Other times, artists just release the music purely on the strength of passion. With Peruzzi, a song like ‘Kana’ was promoted, but it didn’t crack it. ‘Ginger Me’ bySound Sultan and ‘Jogodo’ by Jimmy Jatt had little to no promotion while ‘Show Working’ seemed to have little to no promotion.
- Timing: The most important issue is timing - sometimes it’s just not your time yet and that seems like the greatest factor affecting Peruzzi. It happened to Burna Boy a couple of years ago too. Except something drastic happens, Peruzzi’s career might follow the same pattern - be in conversation for a minute and blow up one day.
While Peruzzi might need to work on his promotion and image, he also needs to work on his recognition of quality singles and just keep working. This article was written to understand why things are not quite happening on a high stage for Peruzzi yet. The simple solution is that he keeps working.
Right now, this writer will continue ruminating on what is happening with the singer.
This is the Editor's Opinion and not one of Pulse Nigeria.