This discourse about Wizkid being called a legend has been going for a long time now. Sadly, as if the above topic is not too much to chew, the star boy has been ignorantly or deliberately put on the same par as Fela again. Probably because die hard fans of the ‘Ojuelegba’ crooner really don’t have enough things to say about Wizkid and Fela without having to put the two Nigerian music icons on a weighing balance.
Apparently, the latest reason fueling the very unfortunate comparison between Fela and Wizkid comes on the heels of a successful sold out concert at Royal Albert Hall in London by the latter. As far the story goes Wizkid is the first African artist to have a sold out show at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall with a sitting capacity of 5, 000.
Social media, especially Twitter broke loose with praises for the 27 year old artist. The frenzy orgasmed when folks began placing Wizkid on the same revered legendary status as Fela. This one too many comparisons between Wizkid and Fela is at the moment unripe.
Firstly, all eulogies to Wizkid for how much he has been able to accomplish in his less than a decade long career in music. What more can I say, the star boy keeps hitting new milestones every year and sometimes we can only gap in awe of his ‘doings’.
Ascribing Wizkid as a legend and more saddening picturing him in the same light as the Afrobeat progenator Fela is shallow for the following reasons.
Fela Pioneered The Afrobeat Genre.
One of Fela’s biggest legacy is the innovation of the now globally recognized and curated genre of music classified as Afrobeat. Afrobeat which is directly linked to Fela Kuti is mainly a blend of Jazz and highlife which is resultant in a rich syrupy music. Many contemporary African and international artists have sampled Fela’s works on their music. Even Wizkid in whom we are well pleased has been largely inspired by Fela, ‘Ojuelegba’ says it the most. Meanwhile, Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun has actually not done anything out of the ordinary with the his sound.
Wizkid’s Music Rarely Goes Beyond The Superfluous Themes Of Youthful Exuberance, Money And Infatuation.
Fela Kuti used his music not only for entertainment but consciously as a weapon. The Afrobeat originator is best known for criticizing and opposing ‘bad government’ during his time and he paid dearly for it. He and his immediate family were antagonized over and over. Wizkid’s entire discography has no song which stirs a certain consciousness like Tupac, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson etc.
Without Social Media And PR Fela Was Able To Craft A Formidable Brand Image For Himself.
Welcome to the era of social media and PR, where money is thrown around to help build or sustain an image. Fela needed none of those PR stunts to be heard and known. The Nigerian music legend knew how to conjure an image and brand with everything he did. His music performances were eccentric with semi nude stage appearance which was rare during his age. Fela had it all when it comes to stage craft. From his perculia dance steps, costumes, live instrumentation etc. Oh let’s not forget he was notorious for the use of marijuana, explicit sexual lyrics and the women. All these we’re components of the Fela Kuti branding.
Wizkid Is Actually Not Doing Anything New He Has Only Finessed The Art.
To be very honest Wizkid has brought nothing new to the table much more being compared with the legendary Fela.
The Sony Music star is only polishing what his predecessors started painting. He isn’t the first to go international or earn a feature with a foreign act. Before him certain Nigerian born artists have been nominated and have also won the prestigious Grammy Award. He isn’t the first to get an international recording deal, Majek Fashek has been there, done that.
At best Wizkid is a just a youth living his dreams to the max.
The incessant comparisons between Wizkid and Fela are unfortunate, unripe, and shallow if not superfluous.