The New Yorker, one of the most respected literary magazines in the world, and a culture authority, recently did a feature of some Nigerian musicians changing the sound of global pop. Among those who made the list are former Plantashun Boyz member Innocent Idibia, formerly Known as Tuface, but now known as 2Baba, Maza, Niniola, Davido, Skales, Adekunle Gold, Falana, Simi, Maka, and Mars and Barzini.
The New Yorker wrote of 2Baba’s rise nearly two decades ago with the launch of the CD “Body & Soul: The Beginning” of the defunct Plantashun Boiz. The magazine wrote that the CD sparked a new movement that changed the sound of global pop.
On Adekunle Gold and The 79th Element, the magazine wrote that both updated old-fashioned highlife with R&B. The result has been a pleasant new groove. The magazine also noted Adekunle Gold’s self affirmation – him being the best live performer in Nigeria.
On Niniola, the magazine focused on her track “Mardaona,” released last year, which has since earned over 1 million listens on Spotify, making her the first Nigerian female musician to obtain that milestone.
Focusing on “Nwa Baby” crooner Davido, the magazines describes his life as one of riches to riches, being the son of a wealthy businessman. The magazine also noted Davido’s gift of making hit after hit.
Falana’s music, the magazine writes, bears influences from Nigeria’s afrobeat king Femi Kuti and of course Latin jazz.
Next on the list is the “I Dun Care” crooner Simi (Simisola Ogunleye), who the magazine describes as focusing on songs and not dance tracks. Besides being a singer, she is also a noted writer
On the duo of Mars and Barzini, the magazine noted them as an emerging singing duo. The magazine noted facetiously their tribute to weed, wine and women in their song “Suegbe.”
The magazine writes of Maka that she draws her inspiration from jazz and soul, not afrobeats. In some of her songs, she praises the vibrant energy of Lagos, Nigeria’s sprawling metropolis.
On Seyi Shay, the “Electric Package EP” mastermind, the magazine noted her as a singer and songwriter of great aptitude. One cannot but agree, given her impressive résumé as a singer and collaborator.
Last on the list was Skales, the “SMH (Shaking My Head)” mastermind. The particular focus of the magazine, writing about Skales, was the up-tempo beat of his song titled “Shake Body.” He has also gained critical success with other songs, of course.
- Producers: Joey Akan, Joseph Gergel, Hauwa R. Mukan
- Design and Development: David T. Kofahl
- Hair: Felix Johnson
- Make-up: Temitope Onayemi
- Special thanks to Art Twenty One, Lagos
- Photographs courtesy of Namsa Leuba