Editor’s note: There has been several arguments as to whether popular musician Wizkid could be called a legend. Writer Tobiloba Oluwatoyin writes on why he hasn’t attained legendary status yet.
First, let me put this disclaimer out, “I’m not hating, Wizkid is a star”. With that said let me burst your bubble, your favorite artiste, Wizkid, is not a legend and there are numerous reasons why. Chill, we will get to it in time so far you don’t send me a series of tweets before you finish reading this.
Starboy has done some amazing things over the past year and it has been extraordinary, in fact, there is no other Nigerian artiste close to him presently. He has songs with artistes that most Nigerian artistes only see through the television. He has trailed a path that those before him have gone and found little success.
With his new body of work, Sounds From The Other Side, one would think Wizkid has arrived and deserves the legendary status most of his fans have been adorning him with but he is still way far from that pinnacle yet. He is not the first to try to break into the American industry and succeed, the likes of D’banj has tried it and after some time found it unwelcoming.
Unlike D’banj, Wizkid was more methodical with his approach. Rather than confront an American artiste at the airport, he worked his way one artiste at a time. Recall that he has been seen hanging out with Chris Brown way before he dropped his greatest hit ever, Ojuelegba. Now he is hanging out with world stars each week like they live on the same block growing up.
Now the little kid with a dream in Ojuelegba is now a super star and has songs with Drake, TY Dollar $ign, Trey Songz, Chris Brown among others, but he can’t be called a Nigerian legend because what he has achieved are what every artiste (not just Nigerian) always dream to do.
First, to be regarded as a legend you need to have been consistent for a long time. Even in his rather short career, Wizkid was not consistent every single year even though he had songs that spilled over from the previous year (a major example is Ojuelegba, a song on his AYO album (released 17 September, 2014) which became even bigger in 2015 and beyond. There were years he sacrificed for his foreign ambition, years Davido and Olamide took advantage of and ran riot. Although credit needs to be given to Wizkid for keeping his fan base salivating for his sound as he continued to drop at least a song each year.
Secondly, what will Wizkid be remembered for if he decides to retire now? He isn’t a pioneer, other artistes have been there, done that. He is not a revolutionary; in fact, Wande Coal is the trailblazer of the “new sound” as we know it.
Finally, it is rather too soon to regard Wizkid as a legend just because he broke into the American industry. There are other artistes that have the record deal Wizkid has with RCA, and having your album on the Billboard charts is not a legendary trait. In 2014, Reminisce was featured by TIME Magazine as one of the world rappers you should meet (he was the only rapper out of Africa), does that mean Reminisce should be regarded as a legend now?
Don’t get it twisted, Wizkid is a star and he obviously wants to achieve lots more. However, regarding him as a legend is simply premature. He hasn’t done something extraordinary, he doesn’t have a movement that is revolutionary, he is not influencing the youth into doing something extraordinary. He is simply living the dream every kid round the block would wish to have and quite frankly, there is nothing special about that.
To be a legend you must have something you are remembered for. Fela is remembered for his statements and stance against the government, his interviews make you want to listen to every word and join him in that struggle, his lifestyle tells you the same story, and his music simply solidifies it by making you live it, love it and want to confront people about it. We still listen to those songs and believe he is talking about our present life. Fela’s music is evergreen and timeless.
Another example is 2Baba. 2baba is still the most relevant example of someone that broke out of a group and succeeded, he’s still succeeding. He also left a record label and started his own. I mean, he faced armed robbers and was shot on two occasions nearly losing his life. He was the bu*t of all jokes because of his escapades but he rose above it all and gave us timeless music. Album after album and the message didn’t change with what the industry wanted, it was still strong in every album he dropped.
See what a legend is? It’s not about if you’ve become a world star or if you’ve done what others haven’t alone. It’s about you being an epitome of a certain belief. It’s about identifying with something, about having timeless music, about giving more than just your music, being more than just your craft.
Wizkid is a legend in the making, not a legend. With time and something to be remembered for, he can become timeless and even create a fairytale in Ojuelegba where young ones will look on and say “if he can do it, I can too. He is surely hours away from being known as one of Nigeria’s greatest but for now let’s stick with Starboy.
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Watch Harrysong tell NAIJ.com TV why he shouldn’t be called a legend yet below: