In late 2016, pop singer, Tekno, released ‘Rara’, a feel-good song that was heavy on political commentary and criticism, while still, fundamentally, per Tekno’s signature style, a feel good and danceable song.
Rara was a hit – and it still is a hit, a surefire song that ups the groove at any Lagos owambe, party or event.
But Tekno’s Rara was an exception, not the norm in a country where a woman’s waist and poetics showered on the female anatomy are the most talked about issues by contemporary Afro-pop singers.
Even though Tekno has had several hit songs under his belt since 2016, he is yet to release another song with heavy political commentary.
And that’s fine, no pressure, really.
Afro-pop(or Afrobeats) is the heady, but ambiguous, offspring of Afrobeat. While Afrobeat, started by Fela Kuti, is heavy on commentary and criticism and live instrument, Afro-pop isn’t, neither does it hold any pretensions or illusions of being anything but fickle.
Although Nigerians might argue otherwise, we love our fickle. It is the groove we dance to. It is the life blood of our pop culture. It is a much-needed distraction from our daily disheartening reality.
Then there is Mr Eazi, whose latest project, ‘Keys to the City (Ogede)’, takes the same route as Tekno’s Rara: heavy on political commentary, still a feel good song. But while Tekno’s song is clearly literal in its interpretation of misgovernance, Mr Eazi layers his in metaphors and, per his music video, humour and a lack of vision both in the story it tells and how it is told.
In the video, the singer is running for the office of the presidency of a fictional state, Ogede, which clearly from the video is set in London.
Cruising around the fictional town in his limousine, saving babies, cautioning lazy youth and generally making news headline, candidate Eazi is the embodiment of a typical Nigerian politician.
It has been a good year for the singer. In fact, the past three years have been good for the Banku music champion, who has seen his celebrity rise so fast it’s a wonder he isn’t dizzy from it all.
Mr Eazi’s latest song, while fundamentally lacking in scope, still has markings of a typical Afro-pop song, the most obvious being its repetitiveness and easiness. Primarily, ‘Keys to the City (Ogede)’, is entertainment, it offers little in the way of commentary apart from humour and well-shot visuals.
Do not approach it expecting anything deep or woke.
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