In a recently published interview with British style magazine, 10+, Wizkid admitted he doesn’t listen to rap music. He added that the genre bores him and that it’s dead, from overused and recycled elements, including instrumentals and lyrics.
The 32-year-old’s revelation raised eyebrows. As usual, it sparked numerous tweets, noteworthily from Nigerian rappers and fans alike. In fact, Wizkid remained among the top Twitter trends for almost 48 hours. While certain rap loyalists bashed him for cancelling their favourite genre, others approved of his taste in music, and consequently mounted in his defence.
Take a look at excerpts from the interview in question below.
Reporter: On the topic of comparison with other genres, he surprisingly pointed in his opinion of Afrobeats’ status over and above the rest of the music market.
Wizkid: Afrobeats is the new pop. I sold two million copies in America off of one song! Even some American artists don’t have a diamond record. If I’m being honest, I don’t listen to any other genre of music anymore.
I don’t listen to rap – that shit is boring to me. It’s dead now, it’s tired. These guys do the same shit, rap on the same beats, same flows…
Reporter: …before pressing me to mention someone in rap that’s exciting me currently, to which I draw a blank when put on the spot.
Let’s not forget Wizkid started music at only 11, and has a good musical nous. At 20, he was already a star. In part with Banky W’s EME, Wiz revolutionised the music business in Nigeria. With his emergence, labels jumped on signing young talents and nurturing them to stardom.
You see, three major genres dominate global mainstream music; pop, R&B, and rap music. Afrobeats encompasses pop and R&B, and that probably influenced Wizkid’s preference. But even Afrobeats is gradually becoming as big as pop and R&B. While its appeal continues to soar, rap has undeniably stunted.
Wizkid is a big deal, and whatever he says or does will be carried by press and analysed by social media users. But this was just another mundane revelation; people will always have what they like and dislike. Rap, dead or alive, will always have its lovers as well as antagonists. Similar with Afrobeats, the genre Wizkid is helping to universalise, and finding intense success. Afrobeats has had its fair share of critics, even as the genre appears to be what is suffocating rap music back in his home.
Although Wizkid did not limit his comments to any territory, Nigerians seem to have been more aggrieved. Fans will always be forgiven for having opinions; but the rappers who have kicked back haven’t quite earned the right.
Look, the same rappers who have tapped Afrobeats at the slightest fear of commercial failure from their primary genre, no longer qualify to be regarded as gatekeepers of rap music. They can deceive themselves all they want. We cannot take you seriously if you identify as a rapper, but make only two rap albums, and three Afrobeats albums in 10 years. More so, if your album is released as a rap album, but you sing in more songs than you rap, where exactly do we place you?
Traditionally, it’s lazy craftsmanship; rappers trying to rebut the “rap is dead” rhetoric with social media shenanigans. That talk is as old as the genre itself, and rappers used to say it to promote the music. What the fans get afterwards is, of course, rap songs with higher quality.
Well, that was the case until “rap is dead” started shifting from a mere rhetoric to a fact. Mainstream rappers have nothing to say anymore. It’s not a lie. Rap is dead. Rap is dead on a global scale. Rap has never been more dead than it is today, and the gatekeepers know.
The rappers who still sell records enough to compete with their pop and R&B counterparts are the ones that incorporate melodies into their raps. Drake, Future, Travis Scott, Kodak Black, and Bad Bunny to name but a few, have all found success with this formula. They’re all singers as much as they are rappers. Their songs that sell more too, are songs they lean more towards singing.
Surprisingly, American rappers Kendrick Lamar and Pusha T released prime rap albums this year. But both have not performed well in the airwaves. Despite Pusha’s and Kendrick’s deftness, and refreshingly new takes on the subjects of black culture, LGBT, wealth, etc., none of their songs appeared in Apple Music’s Top 100 Global Songs of 2022… even Burna Boy made it with Last Last. Coincidence? Unlikely.
Guess what that means, people are no longer listening. Could it be that they’re also bored? Likely. During his interview, Wizkid even put his interviewer on the spot, asking them to name one rapper that currently excites them and guess what, they couldn’t.
So, Nigerian rappers can up their game or loathe Wizkid for as much as they want. In the end, Wiz said the truth. And as we know, that s**t is usually a bitter pill to swallow.