In 2019 when bulk of the industry had shunned the Headies Awards and traversed to London for an eventful celebration of African music at the O2, Mayorkun was amongst the handful of people who showed up to collect the gold-headed award. Picking up two—one for best RnB/Pop album and another for emerging the revelation of the year. Results from the impact of his debut album, Mayor of Lagos.
Then, there were no hot takes or puzzling questions about his album. In the year leading to his album release, he had popped up as one of the year’s hit makers, with Bobo, Mama, Posh. Those previously released singles plus a mix of club banging songs and love tinged tracks would coalesce into The Mayor of Lagos, his debut album. The quality to Mayorkun’s artistry is this relentless ability to drop singles that evolve into hits which was quite glaring in his debut album.
So when a week ago, Mayorkun was placed side by side with artists who just recently emerged on the scene, Mayorkun was outclassed when it came to the subject matter of numbers. For once, it drew skepticism over the singer’s recognition as a hit maker. Those low steaming numbers don’t support the claim of Mayorkun being a hit maker.
A look into stats of Mayorkun’s debut album shows it has a paltry 15.1 million streams on Audiomack. Of course, the 4, 5 track EPs by the new school kids—Rema, Joeboy— and Fireboy’s debut project, bests this number on the same streaming platform. Joeboy’s Love and Light EP has 52 million streams.
However, things were very different in 2018 when it came to streaming. Download platforms were still prominent that year and with Apple Music seen as a luxury plus Audiomack relatively unknown, that could explain the low numbers of that project, the year it dropped.
And of course, for years preceding 2018, most artists preferred to release singles instead of albums. The consciousness prevalent then was, it was better to tease the music populace dropping 4-5 singles per year rather than leaving them to consume a whole album of 14-17 songs. That would explain why most artists zoned off the thoughts of releasing albums, with Davido’s sophomore album only coming in 2019.
While the music space has thus returned to being an album heavy space, the new generation acts have maximized that new found opportunity, dropping EPs and further treating listeners to an album experience.
And that’s where Mayorkun’s weakness props up again. His debut album was built on a sonic foundation mainly supported by previously released singles. New tracks like Jonze Me, Sope further helped to alleviate the album from the category of being slept on or labeled as a weak debut album. For that year, it was a standard release. Yet, it isn’t anywhere as good as a Wizkid’s Superstar or the jaw-dropping Fireboy’s Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps. Those are referred to as classic projects, a feature ascribed to albums populated with evergreen hit tracks.
Still, Mayorkun can correct this “numbers weakness” when his speculated sophomore album drops this year. Over the past two years, the singer has recorded astronomical growth. There’s a shutdown concert at O2 indigo, multiple awards, a nomination for artist of the year plus a new ability to deliver top notch verses when featured. This was evident on “The Best”, “MJ Remix”. With these, he has further strengthened the claim of being a steady hit making machine.
But there’s still something missing about his craft. An album with results. An album with enormous streams. An album with international clout. With the singer implying he’s in album mode weeks ago, expectations would be on him to deliver. Deliver an optimum album experience, this time with much impact and difference from his debut album. We’ve seen how over the last few months, artists have risen from social media criticism to putting out highly valued albums. Olamide was also in such state a year ago. From being compared to Rema, he has thus shunned critics with his highly regarded, and most streamed album till date, CarpeDiem. Mayorkun could also toe such route. From his incoming sophomore album, hits could also emerge. With an album, Mayorkun could finally clear doubts over his artistry.
This article was written by Olabode Otolorin; connect on Instagram with him here