WizKid, Nigerian pop star, has long made captivating, addictive music. His first two albums – 2011’s ‘Superstar’ and 2014’s ‘Ayo’ – were underpinned by infectious melodies and anthemic choruses seesawing between Afrobeats, reggae, dancehall, hip-hop and R&B.
This was further reiterated on the critically acclaimed and commercially successful 2017 album ‘Sounds From the Other Side’, released two years after he collaborated with Drake and Skepta on ‘Ojuelegba’ and a year after the release of that Drake collaboration ‘One Dance’.
Made in Lagos
Star singer, Ayo Balogun, aka Wizkid, has continued to excel on the global stage. Wizkid latest album, Made in Lagos enjoyed rave reviews across the world, even as his fan base stretched to hitherto ‘unconquered’ territories. Sunday Scoop highlights some of the singer’s achievements in 2020.
Wizkid has finally balanced the formula to unite home and abroad with big pop songs that can compete across cultures and an underlying theme that embraces his roots. The project is dedicated to Lagos, Nigeria’s bubbling creative hub, historically the beating heart of Africa’s art community.
Made in Lagos is narrow in its sonic approach, but for good reason. Where previous projects were outsized cocktails of club bangers and experimental pursuits, WizKid’s measured take on his fourth album betrays refined maturity. His sounds are familiar, his delivery sure. And the sincerity bleeds through the songwriting.
“Inna inna inna, I know say dey go pray on my downfall/I’m still a winner winner,” he asserts early on, as horns travel through the winding melodies of “Reckless.”
Wizkid’s delivery of patois and pidgin English interpolating with lush saxophone instantly set this apart. He has refined his approach, finding comfort in exploring the intersection of two sound cultures: Lagos exuberance meets Jamaican rhythms.
Three of Wizkid’s songs, Borrowed Love, Soco and Can’t Believe were certified in Canada.
Other songs, ‘Love’ and ‘Energy’ also earned certification in the United Kingdom; while Come Closer got certified Gold in the United States of America; and ‘Bella’ got certification in France.
Wizkid became the first Nigerian to win an NAACP Image award for the song, Brown Skin Girl, on which he was featured by Beyonce, in the category of ‘Outstanding Duo, Group/Collaboration’. He also became the most awarded African Artist in the history of the Music of Black Origin awards, having won four awards. He was adjudged the ‘Best African Act’ in the 2020 edition of the prestigious award.
He also became the most awarded Nigerian artiste at the BET Awards, having won three times. The singer was the first African artiste to be nominated at Brazil’s Breaktudo Awards in the ‘Global Artiste’ category.
Wizkid emerged as the first African artiste to debut on Spoify’s Global and Album charts #10. Continuing his winning streak, Wizkid became the first Nigerian artiste to record at least one entry on the United Kingdom’s singles chart with two different albums? Come Closer (2017) and Ginger (2020). Meanwhile, Made in Lagos is the longest charting Nigerian album on the UK albums chart for the new decade.
Wizkid’s Grammy Nomination in the ‘Best Music Video’
Wizkid earned his second Grammy Nomination in the ‘Best Music Video’ category for the song, Brown Skin Girl.
He also warmed the hearts of many when he ‘united’ his three sons? Boluwatife, Ayo (Junior) and Zion? in the video for his song, Smile, which featured American singer, H.E.R.
Love and gratitude
Made in Lagos doesn’t pretend to dig deeper than escapism and a bit of symbolism. Love and gratitude drive the affair forward, with rich approaches to its mid-tempo production. With 10 years of African success under his belt, WizKid’s play for increased global reach is transforming his artistry.
The beauty and novelty within Made in Lagos is a consequence of that metamorphosis. For African artists pushing for crossover success, a full Afrobeats takeover of the Hot 100 remains the Holy Grail.
WizKid’s latest is a fine addition to make that a reality.
Wizkid is a Nigerian singer and songwriter, born Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun on July 16, 1990 in Surulere, Lagos. Wizkid formed his first musical outfit The Glorious Five while still at school. Wizkid started going by the name of Lil Prinz until 2006, and soon met producer OJB Jezreel who wouldn’t let him record anything for a year.
Wizkid worked with the likes of Tinie Tempah, Femi Kuti and racked up a whopping 15 weeks as a UK Official Singles Chart Number 1 in 2016 with Drake and the song One Dance.