Inspired by Marvel and Disney+ animated superhero mini-series ‘What If…?’, we revisit certain events that had significant impacts on the Nigerian music industry as though they happened in a different way.
Could things have been better? Your favourite star who didn’t quite make it to superstardom on this timeline might just be the biggest act on another. What If…?
August 2, 1997
Fela and His Band Preform in Malibu, California
Remembered infamously in our present timeline as the day legendary Jazz master, Afro culture pioneer, political activist, and philanthropist Fela Anikulapo Kuti died.
Well, that’s not quite what happened on this day in history. On August 2, 1997, Fela (59) and his band were serenading an elite Hollywood crowd at Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu, where American actor Kelsie Grammar was getting married to his first wife Camille Donatacci.
He continued singing and touring the world with his music and influence, performing at the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa in 2010.
Mr Kuti unfortunately passed at the age of 79 in 2017, due to heart complications resulting from long-history of tobacco use.
May 15, 2004
Blackface Debuts His First Solo Album – Face 2 Face
After splitting with boyhood band Plantashun Boyz, Blackface released his critically acclaimed debut album Face 2 Face.
Face 2 Face became a major hit, in Nigeria, quickly spreading through western and southern Africa, and eventually making an impact in Europe as well.
Its acclaim owed much to lead radio track “African Queen”, a guitar ballad with elements of West African folk music and hip-hop. “Nfana Ibaga” also became a street anthem all over Nigeria.
August 13, 2010
Dagrin Wakes Up From 4-Months Coma
Following a ghastly motor accident on April 22, 2010, rapper Oladapo Olaitan Olaonipekun aka Dagrin sustained significant injuries to his cranium, and remained in intensive care.
There wasn’t much optimism surrounding his health but, a fighter at heart, Dagrin defied the laws of science and awoke from his 4-monhs long coma.
From there, his Yoruba dialectal rhetoric, ghetto life, and Hip Hop gangsterism became even more intense.
His style and influence on the industry grew stronger from there, inspiring a special class of Nigerian rappers.
June 17, 2011
American Rapper Kanye West Holds His First Concert on African Soil at The Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos
Kanye West had been touring Africa since March, and the ativity culminated in a grand event at a tightly packed Teslim Balogun stadium in Lagos, Nigeria.
There were over a hundred thousand people in attendance, with Kanye announcing he had just signed Dbanj’s Mo Hits Records’ super act, singer/songwriter, and record producer Don Jazzy to his GOOD Music label.
June 12, 2011
Skales Releases His First Studio Album Superstar
Buiding up to 2011, Skales and Wizkid were the brightest upcoming talents at Empire Mates Entertainment.
The record label, owned by businessman Olubankole Wellington, revolutionised the Nigerian music industry, putting faith in teenage musicians with huge potential.
However, it was Skales who endeared himself to fans more, dropping several hit singles and appearing in different headline collaborations right from 2008.
On June 12, 2011, he debuted his first studio album ‘Superstar’. The album enjoyed huge commercial success and acclaim owing to hit tracks “Love My Baby”, “Holla At Your Boy”, “Tease Me”, and “Don’t Dull”, moving more than 1million copies in the first week.
October 30, 2012
Mayorkun Releases Second Single Dami Duro
After garnering massive hype using his first official single “Back When ft Ice Prince”, Mayorkun released “Dami Duro”.
Instigated by a love for drumming and mastery of sound production, the inspiring track became the biggest song of Christmas 2012, highlighting Mayorkun’s credentials as one of the pacesetters of the modern industry.
A couple of years later, he signed other artists including Davido, Zlatan, Dremo, et al, into his Mayorkun Music Worldwide.
September 25, 2017
Twin Brothers Peter and Paul Okoye Merge to Become Singing Duo, P-Square.
After about 14 years of working individually, musicians Mr P and Rudeboy merged to become P-Square.
They made the announcement via Twitter, alongside the title of their debut album “Get Squared”.
“Get Squared” was subsequently promoted with lead singles “Busy Body”, “Do Me”, “Chop My Money ft Akon”, and “Alingo”.
March 14, 2021
9ice Becomes First Solo Nigerian Musician to Win A Grammy
It was Burna Boy who promised us a Grammy Award in 2008, and while we had everything to believe he could do it given his talent and style, it didn’t quite come to pass.
Those dreams varnished with each passing project he dropped, not to mention his voice, of course.
However, after two consecutive nominations under the same category, 9ice put his name in the history books, winning the Award for the Best Global Album at the 63rd edition of the global musical showpiece.
That’s not quite everything; imagine the tiny bits of events that would have to transpire to cause these realities to occur, imagine how they would have shaped the industry.
Dagrin is still alive, Endia’s hits are still banging, Ice Prince is currently touring the US, Dbanj is the kingpin behind Mavin Records, Burna Boy takes politics more serious than he does music, Tiwa Savage and Drake are in a romantic relationship, there’s no record of Olamide, MI, etc as musicians….. the possibilities are endless.
What if you’re a Grammy Award winner in a parallel universe? Just what if..?