In the last half of the decade Wizkid, Davido, Olamide, have always made the top four ranking of the hottest Nigerian artistes. Clearly, they have been the most consistent bunch within this time period with the biggest catalogs of hits in their repertoire and the largest fan base nationwide.
Although Nigeria which is a primary market for the three named artistes, Davido and Wizkid have clearly made more global penetration than the YBNL boss. At different times and at different levels the Starboy and OBO have proven they are closer than ever in gaining mainstream global recognition which is a far cry from where Olamide currently stands.
Firstly, it would be recalled that international music companies, Sony and RCA took interest in Wizkid and Davido offering both Nigerian pop stars deals.
In the past 12 months, Nigerians have hailed Wizkid and Davido for selling out big concert grounds outside their home territories. We have also witnessed both music stars work with international brands, get featured on international publications, graced international stages to perform before new audiences and have recorded songs with international artistes. However, that hasn’t really happened to Olamide as he has failed to get more international exposure as would be expected.
Here are some of the reasons why the street mafia has failed to gain international breakthrough with his music.
Olamide’s too street, razz and raw.
Since his debut in 2011, Baddo has always maintained his indigenous and razz form of music from his debut single ‘Eni Duro’ through singles like ‘First Of All’, ‘Omo To Shan’, ‘Duro Soke‘, ‘Bobo’, ‘Story For The gods’, ‘Wo!!’, ‘Woske‘, etc. Baddo has also stuck with his Yoruba origin, incorporating it in 95 per cent of his discography whether he is rapping or singing as the case may be.
Again, he has always remained loyal to the street, making razz tunes reminiscent of the ghetto wherein lies his inspiration. There are certain atmospheres Olamide’s songs can never get played, because of the manner it was tailored and the audience it targets. The YBNL honcho’s music does not pick foreign interest because of its razz street vibe and raw nature. His inability to make a deliberate switch up from what he is known for makes him lack international appeal. Sticking to your roots is important but selling your roots to the world is ‘importanter’.
Olamide makes music firstly for the street wise, agberos, street urchins, taxi drivers, gangster wannabes. Music of this quality would rarely be noticed by the international market because it fails to strike a chord, they can’t relate to it, they can’t consume it.
In fact beyond the West which is his stronghold and the South-South to a large extent, he can rarely pull massive following or sell out concert in the Northern or Eastern Nigeria.
Olamide is all about nothing in his songs.
A common trait about his music would be the fact that it really lacks quality of content and it is mostly shallow. The goal of most of his music release is to sail on an ongoing wave while there is no real depth attached to the music. Countless times we have witnessed Olamide churn hits out of transient music trends that get abandoned for a newer wave. Olamide really has no song that turned out to be a massive hit which didn’t go with a dance step to match.
His music is only made for the spur of the moment, an ‘indomie’ kind of music that brings quick satisfaction and wanes off within a short period of time. The template here would be to make something catchy, a power phrase or slag to hang onto and an undoubtedly dope beats then a hit is made.
Olamide is complacent with the status quo.
Going international takes deliberate effort, you don’t just wish it upon yourself. In the past three years while the Davido, Wizkid are making serious moves to take their craft more international than they already enjoy, Baddo has been indifferent about getting internationally recognized. He hasn’t been really strategic about capturing more audience beyond Nigeria. His scope of thinking and execution centers around his home country and the bulk of the Yoruba block. Artistes like Burna Boy and Mr Eazi have shown more zeal in taking their brands to the international community. It shows in their music releases, tour execution and networking. Besides Wale Olamide has really not attracted or made any other collaboration with any known international music star or producer.
If you say, Baddo is primarily concerned about keeping his Nigerian audience satisfied with his music then you’re not far from the truth. It almost feels he doesn’t want to try something out of the street, making music that would be 90 percent in English or pidgin.
The simple truth about going international would be singing in terms a foreigner can possibly grasp what he is listening to although he may not fully understand. Fela made music in pidgin English, Bob Marley sang in plain fluent English when he made music.
Frankly, Olamide hasn’t changed anything about him that would show is interest in going international. Yea he performs in London yearly however, majority of the audience are Nigerian migrants in the UK.
Maybe the YBNL boss loves the status quo, he loves being a local champion.