Sho Lee? Ko Lee!
Before I continue with this, I’d like to state that this post is not in any way intended to slander Sean Tizzle. I am a huge fan of his, and he is really good at what he does, whatever that may be.
Weeks back, I posted photos from Sean Tizzle’s recent trip to South Africa, where he took his team to shoot videos for songs intended to be on his debut album. As I was posting, it hit me that Sean Tizzle had come a long way in an abnormally short time.
While I had heard of Sean Tizzle way before Sho Lee (he had been working with D’Tunes for as far back as 2011, when he featured on a track for him), there was no actual indication that he was pursuing a music career. There were no songs, no other features, and it didn’t seem like it was a name I’d hear again.
Fast forward to February 2013, where after D’Tunes and Iyanya separate, the hit producer moved to start his own label, and picked up Sean Tizzle as his first artist. Sean Tizzle released his first 2 singles that month, Sho Lee and Boogie Down, and the rest is history. He moved on the shoot the video for Sho Lee in April, and by the second half of 2013, Sean Tizzle was everywhere.
In December, he had already started acquiring luxury cars, purchasing a brand new Chevrolet Camaro. He then went on beat Burna Boy and Seyi Shay to the much coveted Next Rated award at the Headies. Sean Tizzle had officially arrived, and was, by every definition of the word, a star.
Sean Tizzle’s meteoric rise to fame however highlights the decaying structure of Nigerian music. Sho Lee is a good party song, yes. And that is where it ends. I doubt Sho Lee would enter the top 100 Nigerian songs of all time done by someone who actually knew music, but in today’s Nigerian pathetic music industry, it is a one-way ticket to fame.
Success in a field as competitive as the music industry is never put on a platter of gold, but the music industry has gotten so bad over the years. Let’s look at the early careers of some of today’s stars to understand this.
Case 1: The Plantashun Boyz/ 2Face. The Plantashun Boyz released 2 very, very good albums, Body & Soul in 2000, and Sold Out in 2003, before they could garner any real fame. It took arguably the greatest Nigerian song in recent times, African Queen, for 2Face to actually achieve fame. The rest of the group’s members have floated in and out of the limelight, Faze a little bit more than Blackface.
Case 2: D’banj. D’banj’s first album, No Long Thing, made him a known face in the industry, alongside his gruffy-voiced producer Don Jazzy. But the fame and endorsement money and all that didn’t come to them until after the release of their second album Rundown (Funk You Up), and its hit single, Why Me.
Case 3: Wizkid. Wizkid had been a popular name in underground music circles. He had a couple of singles to his name with then group SI Units, and a number of features including M.I’s Fast Money Fast Cars, Teeto Ceemos’ Leave ‘Em Alone and Kel’s Turn By Turn. Wizzy’s career finally took off when he joined Banky W and EME, and his debut single for them, Holla At Your Boy was the beginning of his rise.
Case 4: Davido. I basically didn’t have an inkling of who Davido was when I saw his turtle-headed figure on my TV in his 2011 debut Back When with Naeto C. Back When made us aware of Davido’s talent, and his second single, Dami Duro confirmed him as an A-list Nigerian entertainer.
If we follow the trends, we can see an obvious reduction in the time needed to “blow” going from 2 whole albums to just 1 single. You can attribute this to better publicity and social media and what not, but it doesn’t take away the fact that the quality of Nigerian music is reducing over the years, and the populace is accepting the trash with more and more ease.
Nigerian music is now so bad to the point where all you have to do to make a hit song is find a party beat, develop a corny slang or phrase, and you’re good to go.
I said I wasn’t going to criticize Sean Tizzle because majority of the blame is on the blogs and media houses and the entire music community that continues to accept and glorify artistes for making average music.
There are very few singers in the Nigerian music industry. What we have now are entertainers. And if this trend continues, artistes will start “blowing” from snippets and even photo shoots, and soon there shall no longer be a Nigerian music industry, but a Nigerian entertainment industry.