How The Shaku Shaku Trend Defies The Nigerian Class Standards

In Nigeria, the ‘Ajebutters’ and ‘Ajekpakos’ are very different when it comes to taste. The ‘Ajebutters’ are particular about style and poise while the ‘Ajekpakos’ are fine with anything so long it works. It is this same approach when it comes to seeking entertainment. Imported trends like ‘Dab’ or ‘Dougie’ are common in the circle of ‘Ajebutters’ while the ‘Ajekpakos’ are masters of dances like Shaku Shaku.

However, Shaku Shaku has become more than a class-based dance, it is become a dance for everyone – both the ‘Ajebutters’ and ‘Ajekpakos’ are dancing Shaku Shaku. In fact it has been described as the dance causing people of all societal class to ‘lose their home trainings.’ It is a trend that has spread across the entire space of the Nigerian society and concentrated at the centre where our music is produced – the music industry.

The origin of the trend itself can be traced to the streets of Lagos mainland where it became associated with songs like ‘Legbegbe’ and ‘Shepeteri.’ The ‘Shaku Shaku’ movement started in the grass root where songs by artistes like Mr. Real, Slimcase and Idowest were getting serious buzz for their wealth in elements of street pop music especially the groovy melodies and rhyming slangs in their songs. Catch lines like ‘Aboki where the naira’ turned out to be flavour for these songs and made them appealing to the street audience.

With little promotional effort, these songs spread like loose gas on the street. They quickly became raw materials in the hands of DJs who used them as crowd-pleasers at parties and other functions. It didn’t take long before the ‘Shaku Shaku’ buzz started to knock on the door to the mainstream audience. The moment artistes like Olamide and Dammy Krane hopped on the growing trend, the crossover to the big league started.

By the start of 2018, the contagious ‘Shaku Shaku’ fever had already spread across the entire industry and the whole country was already literally doing a common dance – the ‘Shaku Shaku’ dance. The ‘Ajebutters’ and the ‘Ajekpakos’ are both involved in the dance, albeit mainland originals usually like to maintain that there is a difference between ‘Island Shaku Shaku’ and ‘Mainland Shaku Shaku.’

However, to neutrals Shaku Shaku is Shaku Shaku so long the hand and leg movements compliments the back and forth swinging of the body in typical Shaku Shaku style. It is the biggest influence on the Nigerian pop culture in recent times. It is the dance practised at parties, at clubs and even at religious gatherings, in some cases. It is such a dominant trend in the industry today that it’s template is noticeable in literally all the pop releases including those from top shots like Wizkid and Tiwa Savage.

In the history of trends in Nigeria, we have seen trends come and go like the seasons. So the story of Shaku Shaku is believed to still only be unraveling because although it’s dominance has stretched past the initial prediction, the length of its relevance remains known to only the gods.

 

 

This article was written by Ibironke Oluwatobi. He tweets via: @ibironketweets 

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