Davido’s International Success Has No Drizzy Drake Factor
At this period when black people all over the world are celebrating cultural achievement in the movie industry with the recent premiering of the movie Black Panther, serious agenda-setting is ongoing that we must pay rapt attention to.
Africa and the black race is sure having it good.
But in the midst of the excitement, attention has to be given to reactions coming from across the world, for it is during moments like this that history is made.
Now you must noticed that I opened this piece with a reference to the movie, Black Panther, but my concern here is not about black movies, rather, it is about the huge successes being recorded on the African music scene. We are talking about the exploit of a Nigerian popstar, Davido. We had Harlem Renaissance, but maybe this is the gradual unfolding of the essence of the hashtag, #BlackExellence, crawling all over social media.
With his 30 Billion UK Concert, The Nigerian popstar, Davido, this February, toured selected cities in the UK, namely, Leicester, Dublin, Manchester, Birmingham and climaxed at the Brixton 02 Academy, in London. Reviews and video clips show that all the venues were sold out.
Were it not for the shoddy treatment meted out on the audience by security operatives, the people who attended say, it was an ecstatic experience they wish to relive.
What also made the show a memorable experience particularly at the 02 Academy, was that it was packed with surprises. Davido brought Mr. Eazi, the Leg Over crooner, who had had a successful run at the Roundhouse last year, to performed. The high point of the show was when Davido invited Wizkid, the reigning figure of Afrobeat on stage to perform with him, the collaboration of the two biggest Africa popstar on the same stage simultaneously left the audience screaming their voice excitement and admiration. It was a movie.
As should be expected, the event caught the attention of The Guardian, a leading newspaper outlet in the UK, and it published a glowing commentary on the show which was however flawed by misrepresentation of some basic facts, which this article aims to correct.
In the article, the writer, Dan Hancox, seems to suggest that Davido’s steady rise and international crossover is, in part, due to his collaboration with American artistes like Rae Sremund, Yung Thug and Tinashe, after Davido had signed a distribution deal with Sony/RCA Music. It was sort of like invoking the effect Drake had on Wizkid’s global acceptance.
Granted, in Wizkid’s case, nobody can deny this fact. In fact Wizkid became a Grammy nominee because of his collaboration with Drake.
But in Davido’s case, this is not the scenario is different, hence the urgent need to set the record straight, especially now that events are still fresh in our memory.
In doing this, we will not dig too deep in making the case for why UK Guardian’s suggestion is misleading.
In not too distant 2016, Davido signed a Distribution deal with Sony Music/RCA music, a contract was excited about, but later became uncomfortable with, to the extent that he was quoted by Pulse.ng as saying:
“Fuck all that international shit! It’s cool but fuck it. I am back to the basics,”
It was later reported that Sony Music wanted to control his creative process by making him make music a certain way, to cater to the ‘new’ market for which the Sony wanted to reach. That move by Sony slowed down his artistic output in 2016.
Davido would have none of that. He resolved to go back to the basics (African Sound) which enticed Sony Music to want to partner with him in the first place.
The fruits of that resolution to go back to the basics materialised in 2017. That year saw the release of some of the biggest songs Davido ever made, namely IF, Fall, Fia and Like Dat.
Just recently, on Tuesday 20th of February, 2018, after drawing the curtain for the 30 Billion UK Concert, Davido announced via his Instagram page that ‘IF’ and ‘FALL’ have hit Diamond and Platinum in sales respectively.
Now how does all these relate to the crux of our argument?
The major awards won by Davido in recent time did not have any of those American musicians on them, yet they sold out across the globe.
If UK Guardian says Sony Distribution deal with Davido helped in getting his music to a wider audience, one would be so ignorant to argue that. But the idea of tagging Rae Sremund, Yung Thug and Tinashe along Davido’s success story is not just belittling for Davido as an artiste, but Africa as whole. We may need support, but please don’t strip us of the credit we rightly deserve for the hard word we have put in. This condescending suggestions maybe subtle, but we have developed keen eyes to enable us see through them all.