The ultimate goal of any musician would always be to deliver that body of work with which they would be forever remembered for. Global music legends always have that one or two maybe three (which would be genius) album(s) which are highly regarded as all time classics.
The likes of Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, 2Pac, Biggie, The Beatles all have that classic album with a whole lot of reference and accolades. Folks like Lauryn Hill, Jay – Z, Kanye West etc have made classic albums too.
Once upon a time when in Nigeria, albums were well appreciated by music lovers and critics alike. There was that urgency for an artist to put in great detail and loads of hard work into making an album some years back. The passion invested in making these LP’s (Long Play) was well appreciated when these albums eventually dropped.
Our Nigerian music greats like 2face now 2Baba gave two evergreen albums ‘Face 2 Face’, ‘Grass 2 Grace’, of which he still receives decent amount of accolades till date. Styl-Plus, PSquare, D’banj, MI, Wande Coal, Wizkid also share one thing in common, they all have a classic album to their respective names. Then, though a few years ago, seem like the time when and if you make a great album it was almost guaranteed you would reap a bountiful harvest from your work mostly from the fans.
At the moment all that has changed, the current dynamics of the Nigerian music industry doesn’t run on albums any longer. All a Nigerian artist will ever really need these days is a sound and robust single and he or she is made. The appreciation for a well thought out and executed album has dwindled as the days go by. This rather pathetic state of the music industry has dampened our favorite musicians appetite to churn out an album because ‘nothing come out’ like we say in pidgin.
Perhaps the fans are to blame or our exposure to the Internet and all its pheriperals. The attention span to songs (singles) are short and a lot shorter towards an album. On the flip side, our musicians are also culpable for fans lack of interest in their LPs because most come out as hasty without much creativity applied. A chief culprit is Olamide who has been dropping half-baked album yearly for the past six years with only one or two hit singles to back up. Suddenly other artists feel the pressure to drop hit singles to match the market demands. Less and less thought is given to making an album.
It’s no surprise a supposed musician can go five years without releasing an album, however, would very consistent in putting out singles. TripleMG lead act Tekno has achieved all he has got on the power of smash hit singles, best part is that he is unbothered. And many more still fall under this category.
In the reality of things, it is no surprise Nigerian artists now embrace putting out an EP (musically known as ‘Extended Play’ – a composition of more than just a song but substantially less than an album). It really seems like everyone is waking up to it as a bridge between churning out random singles and dishing out an LP.
EPs are now the new drugs, especially soothing to our short span of attention than monotonous albums. EPs are they new quick fix. At the moment fans respond positively to these ‘quick meals’. Some of our top musicians are exploring its power and its works.
After what seem like limbo after signing a record deal with Sony Music Davido held things down with his ‘Son Of Mercy’ EP. YCEE, Iyanya both dropped decent extended play projects ‘The First Wave’ and ‘Signature’ respectively last year. Nigerian-British singer Maleek Berry has seen his career as a singer flourish simply by tapping into the power of brief spontaneous projects with the release of his ‘First Daze Of Summer’ and subsequently ‘First Daze Of Winter’. Tiwa Savage conquered 2017 musically solely on the efficacy of her ‘Sugarcane’ EP. Nigeria’s biggest music export Wizkid plans a ‘Made In Lagos’ EP for his fans soon.
The album culture in Nigeria maybe dying a slow death but then there is a resurgence of the ‘Extended Play’. Our favorite musicians have suddenly woken up to its power and hence are putting it into good use. Why is that?
- An EP makes for a good warm up project for an LP.
- It is significantly shorter than an album hence monotony is easily eliminated.
- It is useful for experimenting with different sounds of music.
- It’s overall less expensive and time consuming than an album.