From 2baba to Simi, The New Yorker spotlights Nigerians ‘Changing Sound of pop’


For the past few years, there has been an increased interest in contemporary pop sounds coming out of Africa – particularly Nigeria, which is home to some of Africa’s finest musicians.

With Drake and Skepta jumping on a remix of Wizkid’s Ojuelegba (and subsequent collaborations between Wizkid and Drake), Afropop became a major contender in the world music stage.

For its latest edition, US magazine, The New Yorker, joined an increasing list of major international media paying attention to the growth and place of Nigerian pop in world music.

“The Nigerian musicians who are changing the sound of global pop,” the magazine described the spotlighted artistes.

The photo shoot of the artistes was co-produced by Nigerian music journalist Joey Akan, shot by Swiss-Guinean photographer Namsa Leuba, and the words written by music critic, Kelefa Sanneh.

The piece, which featured a wide range of singers from different genres, begins with a focus on Innocent ‘2baba’ Idibia.

The ‘African Queen’ singer was described as an Afrobeats pioneer and godfather, with the report adding that he is “less a virtuoso than a brilliant synthesist, with a knack for drawing together far-flung influences to create songs that seem plainspoken and homegrown”.

Other artistes featured in the piece are Seyi Shay, Maka, Adekunle Gold + the Ninth Element, Simi, Niniola, Davido, Falana, Mars and Barzini, Skales.

Wizkid, who has seen his career take on a meteoric rise in recent years, owing to his status on the international stage as the face of Afropop, was prominently absent from The New Yorker piece.

His absence is quite loud as Wizkid was the first Nigerian artiste top a US music chart, after scoring a number one Billboard hit with his assist on Drake’s 2016 ‘One Dance.’

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