To accurately define the current pop generation in Nigerian music, one must appreciate the various genres that have been formed to break down creative barriers.
With the flourishing pop sector and the force that has become Afrobeats, Nigerian music has gone a long way in the 2000s.
Since the country’s independence, various genres have reigned supreme for several decades. Disco, Juju, Rock, Fuji, Highlife, and other sounds have all been recognized as the dominant sound in the musicscape at one point or another.
Although it is easy to criticize music from the 2000s as throwaway and lacking in depth compared to music from other decades, it is difficult to deny that this period characterized the culture the most, delivering revolutionary musical achievements and acceptance.
The growth of the pop scene from the late 1990s to the early 2000s has forever altered the way Nigerian music is generated and accepted.
The decade has transformed how music is made, with genre borders blurring quicker than ever before and promoting a slew of new sounds, whether derived from a mash-up of sounds from neighboring nations like Ghana or a revival of dying genres, as every artist now calls what they’re making.
On this are five current music genres that have shaped the scene.
Fela Anikulapo Kuti named and owned the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti after his return to Ghana from the West Coast in 1967.
Afrobeat, a mix of jazz, highlife, and funk with live instruments as a fundamental component of the sound, is still one of Nigerian music’s most popular genres.
Fela’s legacy, together with the efforts of his sons, Femi and Seun Kuti, and the genre’s adoption by the global audience, has ensured that the genre remains one that a number of upcoming artists want to associate with.
This is a genre that has divided opinion, with some curators refusing to accept the ‘adulteration’ of Afrobeat in its original form, its labeling by a Ghanaian-UK-based radio jockey, and the sound’s contrast with that of Fela.
But it is perhaps the continent’s most successful genre in recent years, with lasting value, influencing the current musical epoch, and ensuring that Nigerian music gets a fair place on the global stage.
The genre’s biggest beneficiaries include D’banj, Wizkid, and Davido, with a number of worldwide singers like Drake and Ciara tapping into the burgeoning sound to have widespread penetration back in Africa at various points in their careers.
- Wobe Sound
The ‘streets’ have been subjected to a variety of sounds. Ghetto sounds like ‘Galala’ and ‘Konto’ have also catered to a segment of the streets at one point or another, but the ‘Wobe’ sound credited to Olamide is more encompassing and has spawned a quick number of disciples in a short period.
- Shaku Shaku
It began as a simple dance and has since evolved into its own genre, complete with a pattern, kick, and style.
The Agege-inspired sound first surfaced in late 2017, and since then, it has evolved to become the most sampled and rotated genre of 2018.
Mr Real, Slimcase, and Idowest have all contributed significantly to the sound that has been adopted by the broad public, regardless of class, gender, or tribe.
- Pon Pon
Another one that our Ghanaian brethren have adopted and put to good use by Nigerian musicians. ‘Pon Pon’ was the most defining sound in the music scene for the majority of last year and has been copied into the fabric of other sounds like as the ‘Alte’ sound, albeit not being as prevalent as it was in 2017.
In Nigeria, artists such as Black Magic and Mr Eazi have been cited as key supporters of the sound.