It’s hard to question why a nation of 160 million people would churn out dance trends with the frequency of a dance group. But the number of dance trends that have come in and out of Nigeria since the year 2000 are quite a number.
What changed in 2000? It was the period when digital media, the Nigerian media structure and indigenous music came together with Mother luck to begin a trip that would take our music first into more homes across the country and then the world.
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It meant that songs could easily become nationwide hits thanks to nationwide networks and dance trends could spread far easily.
And they did.
In many ways, makossa may have been the first dance trend of the 2000s because it spilt over from the 1990s. The dance trend rode on the spread of a very rhythmic Congolese sound of the same name.
Within these years, Artistes like KoffiOlomide and AwiloLongomba toured the continent in a series of massive hit songs and everywhere the songs and music videos went, Makossa became a wave, a vibe and everything else, especially in Nigeria.
Makossa means “dance” in the native tongue of Cameroon’s Douala; and dance, we did.
Galala is the first true dance trend of the streets in the new millennium. The dance originated from the pseudo-reggae sound made popular by artistes like Ras Kimono, Blacky.
However, DaddyShowkey will be most remembered as the progenitor of the dance; it is as much a part of his identity as his long dreadlocks.
After Daddy Showkey’s Galala came Suo. One could say it was an offspring of the former as it originated in the same Ajegunle ghetto as Daddy Showkey’s music.
The most popular vehicle for the dance was MarvellousBenjy’s “Suo” which was a massive hit at the time. The duo of Mad Melon and Mountain Black, known as the Danfo Drivers, also carried the dance style on their backs.
We have Olu Maintain to thank for this. The Kennis Music star released “Yahooze” in 2008 and created a madness across the country.
With the song’s spread, came a dance step that involved making finger-based offerings to the most high. Yahooze was a force that launched an artiste’s solo career, dominated the country for a year and got then US Secretary of State, Colin Powell to do the dance when he came on a state visit to Abuja.
For someone who is not familiar with the expressive nature of our dance styles, Alanta could genuinely put you in a state of shock and dismay.
It involved a crazy movement of the arms and legs in an alternate manner and crazy facial expressions that were slightly debasing.
The group “Artquake” scored their first real nationwide hit with a song titled after the dance. Never one to ignore a spectacle, TerryG also helped make the dance popular.
This dance style is one of those things that Ghana gave us and we forgot to say thank you for. After it began to gain a buzz in West Africa, Wizkid’s continent-wide hit “Azonto” took it to the far ends of Africa and the Uk.
This also put a Nigerian face to the leg-and-finger dance. Azonto is still very much around till date, mostly because it gives room for expression and creativity.
Etighi is a traditional dance from the Calabar/Akwa Ibom region of Nigeria’s South-South.
It gained popularity when Iyanya, who hails from the region, used it as the main crux of the video for his massive hit “Kukere”.
Etighi had a brief but intense lifespan because it was the simplest of dances but if you live close, it is there in many dance routines.
The dance style was introduced by Nigerian Afro-pop star, Davido through his song of the same name. The dance became very popular in the UK where he enjoys a big fanbase.
It involves stretching the arms out and moving in a cyclical motion to the sound of the music.
Davido's Skelewu caught on a lot in Europe especially, where it was a mainstay in dance routines on Youtube for a while.
Agege, in the last few years, has become a production line for dance styles and one of its major offerings, Shoki, is arguably the biggest dance trend of the last 10 years.
Shoki is an expressive dance if there ever was one. It had bubbled underground in Lagos for a year before Lil Kesh gave himself and the style a massive push with the release of his hit single “Shoki”.
The rest is that type of history that you can find on YouTube.
This dance begins and ends with the self-styled King of the Streets, Olamide. In 2015, Olamide released another one of his sneak attacks on radio and the clubs titled “Bobo”.
The song featured a mildly expressive dance style which was referred to as “Shakiti Bobo”, after a regularly repeated line in the song’s hook. As with everything Olamide, the dance style caught on, especially in Lagos.
If you’ve been anywhere near social media or Lagos, you’ve seen shaku-shaku done many times before.
It blew up at the end of 2016 but those who are more familiar with its origins claim it has been a rave in Agege for two years and counting.
Much of its new-found popularity is down to the emergence of the new Shaku-Shaku sound.
The dance trend has inspired the creation of an entire sub-genre of songs, made specifically for the dance.
Two of these songs, “Shepeteri” and “Legbegbe” have become massive sleeper hits in their own regard; their success has also elevated the careers of two underground acts that you would do well to pay attention to, “Idowest” and “Slimcase”.