It was Wednesday and I had just finished speaking with an A&R who told me in his bold, husky voice “many people coming with smoke this year.” In my mind, I had mixed feelings about it. We hear these things year after year and we see the same results: some albums will bang and some will be slept on. It’s just the listeners and their preferences, you can’t predict which song will be a hit, artists themselves don’t know too.
But truly, his statement sounds correct. Several artists are in hiding now, many not posting as often as they used to, and there are some still held up in Ghana, linking up with beat architects and other music creators. There are also others hinting on what to expect, and then we have those who are tight-lipped on stuff they’ve done, hoping it will come together soon.
In contrast, we had a chaotic year in 2020. Very chaotic. And when Davido said in a monochrome video that has now gone viral about how confused everyone was last year, it was an apt reflection of the music space. How you’ll set plans and it won’t come to fruition, the times projects had to be delayed and pushed back, the collaborations that were teased but never released. Listeners don’t see that confusion. But they enjoy artists who bask in the euphoria of consistency, steadily releasing jams for their consumption.
“Everybody don mad” clearly demonstrates it all.
But the new year offers redemption. It’s all coming together, you can see the clarity, that renewed determination in avoiding those 2020 pitfalls. We’re seeing artists get their groove back. Buju has returned, same as once-forgotten Afrobeats reverred one, Flash. Joeboy dropped his debut LP a week ago, and CKay is seeking global prominence after inking a deal with Warner Music last year. The result of that is his recently issued Boyfriend EP.
It’s also amazing that most of the rising acts who prodded into the industry with EPs around 2019-2020 are gearing to unleash their albums. Aside from Joeboy, Rema has confirmed his debut, same with Buju. Factor in the likes of Blaqbonez, Timz and Mayorkun who have hinted on dropping albums also. Similarly, we might finally get sophomore albums from alte acts like Lady Donli and Santi after hibernating from the sphere for most of 2020.
That said, the industry is already in a boiling hot phase. Years back, January and February were deserted periods artists avoided. The consciousness was that people were still healing from the pangs of Detty December, so the first two months were periods for drawing out plans for the new year. That translated to a void in the music space. The last few weeks of 2021 is an aberration of that. Singles are being dished out in huge proportions already.
Add that to the idea of cross cultural collaborations. There’s a jam sitting in the archives of either Rema or Drake, one confirmed by the 6 god himself. A Wizkid x Travis scott rumour has been teased for years now with fan crews insinuating it might drop this year. Plus the speculations a Nigerian artist might just be on Drake’s forthcoming album, Certified Lover Boy.
When you think about all these plus the seeming realization the Grammys might finally be bagged by a Nigerian artist (either Burna Boy or Wizkid) after a long while, it’s sounding like “we still have a lot of stuff waiting to happen.” Much of which we just don’t know of or can’t predict yet.
This article was written by Olabode Otolorin; connect on Instagram with him here