“Bumping Fela on the Puma Jet like we from Lagos“ Hov’s line in ‘mood 4 Eva‘ giving a shout out to Abami Eda “Fela Anikulapo Kuti” and Lagos is definitely brag material; but the biggest song off the album has our very own Star Boy “Wizkid” giving us huge dose of flav in Brown Skin Girl, a phrase which has become one of the most trended words with several pictures using it as caption.
Lupita Nyong’o posted videos of herself vibing to it, and who can blame her? I’ll probably do more if I was referenced in a song which is unarguably the biggest jam off the album.
So after listening to The Lion King: The Gift album, well I have my reservations.
Firstly, I feel Beyoncé wanted the hype, to try out the Afro-beats genre which is currently making major headway in the international scene and gain a grand entrance into the African market, creating a body of summer laced feel good vibe to ensure it gets into the countdown and still get the spot for World Album of the year at the Grammy’s.
Unarguably, the growing influence of Nigerian musicians and their massive success with international collaborations has led to major Record Labels like Warner Bros, Universal Records, and Sony Music creating partnerships with the biggest and the best Nigerian artistes with hopes of grabbing a share of the lucrative African market.
The collaborations were carefully selected in my opinion, as musicians with huge fan following, controversial and whatnot that could drive sales and influence were handpicked and not necessarily for the motherland influence that it was touted for “A love letter to Africa”, she called it.
For her voice range, dexterity and all, imagine the likes of Nonso Amadi, Tay Iwar, MI Abaga, Mafikizolo, Bez, Asa, Ndlovu Youth Choir, Diamond Platinumz, Shekhinah, Sauti Sol, (Lion King is set in Kenya (East Africa) but yet no Kenyan nor East African artists were featured on this piece of work) and the plethora of amazing musicians we have churning great awesome works compared to some on the list who were absolutely cringe worthy.
Most of the songs on the album were bland and would require multiple listens to grow on you. Maybe three songs at best are an instant vibe and that in itself is somewhat the strength of the album.
Though a deliberate business move, the impact it would have on the music industry in Nigeria would be profound if properly harnessed.
By Uduak Ekpedeme