Renowned Naija artistes staging a comeback
Two decades after, many of these great names silently blurred out from the scene, leaving the doors open for many new schools acts to emerge. While most of these artistes have long since accepted their unplanned career retirements, some others have decided to pick up the microphones one more time.
I want to know the price of democracy. I want to know before I go crazy,” Anthony Awotoye sonorously notes on his 2004 hit-song, E Go Better. As with many Nigerian musicians at the turn of the millennia, the Kwara State native’s music was laden in socio-political commentary and feminine adulation. While much has not changed about the country, the Afro-pop veteran has re-emerged with a fine-tuned sound direction.
In his new song, released during the peak of the Coronavirus pandemic, last year, Tetuila enlists Afro-pop/Life powerhouse, Duncan Mighty, in a song titled Shepe. The dance-heavy track bares Tetuila’s party-loving, light-hearted persona, which Duncan Mighty harmoniously compliments with catchy vocals.
Tetuila began his music career in the mid-90s, as one-third of the popular Hip-hop group named Remedies, which comprised veteran rappers Eedris Abdulkareem and Eddy Montana. The group thrived under Kennis Music until Eedris and Eddy were re-signed a few years later as independent artistes under the label. Tetuila also debuted as a solo act on the label, with his 2001 smash single My Car. The song exploded his fan-base and inspired a full-length album released under the same title.
Tetuila’s music was vibrant for its relatable storytelling, humour and a rich blend of Afro-fusion melodies – a style, which has now been popularised over decades. As he bares his veteran fingerprints once again, on the microphones, hopes abound for a lasting rebound in the industry.
IF Eedris Abdulkareem’s music were a picture, it would be a portrait of a teary-eyed, bruised individual called Nigeria. A vibrant ‘vocal’ activist, like many in his time, Eedris Abdulkareem became one of the most-popular African rappers in the 2000s, with several hits such as Jaga Jaga, Mr Lecturer, among others, being bold descriptors of the country’s litany of problems.
After an impressive run, he snowballed away from the limelight, as new acts emerged in the country’s musical arena at the turn of the last decade. Now, he has resurfaced with Nothing But The Truth, a 20-track album released late last year. The Kano indigene remained true to his style, colouring his latest project in hues of harsh criticism on Nigeria’s incessant travails. “Republic of suffering and smiling,” he notes on the album’s lead single, Country Hard.
Prior to this album, Eedris released a single titled Letter to Obasanjo in 2018, where he blamed the former militia and president as the “problem of Nigeria.”
Beginning his career as the lead rapper in the 90s hip-hop trio, Remedies, Eedris became a musical moralist under the management of Kennis Music. After the split of his group, he debuted as a solo act with his 2002 album titled Pains and Stress = Success (PASS)’. He later released several acclaimed compilation projects such as Mr. Lecturer (2002), Jaga Jaga (2004), Letter to Mr. President (2005), King is Back (2007), and Unfinished Business (2010).
If Eedris is notable for one thing, it is his die-hard musical ingenuity, which flexes his storytelling and rhyming prowess. Most activists never throw in the towel, as long as there is a fight. For the time being, “Fans should watch as conscious music makes a much-awaited rebound,” in the industry, Eedris says.
PAUL Play Dairo was the iconic lover-boy of Nigeria’s music scene in the 2000s, with multiple arresting songs on diverse love perspectives. Among the myriad of musical hits he made, Angel of my Life was the song that survived the sudden silence from Paul Play’s camp.
For many years, the song triggered several conversations about his disappearance from the industry, while unlocking nostalgia into the skin-pinching RnB love ballad. It was shocking when fans heard a remixed version of the same song, featuring Afro-pop heavyweight Runtown, mid last year.
The remixed version retains Paul’s affectionate lyrics and soothing vocals while adding layers of polished sound-production, as well as Runtown’s dancehall melodies and soft-hearted lyrics.
The RnB singer also re-emerged with a remake of his 2007 hit, Forever, collaborating with Afro RnB singer, Nonso Amadi. The Afro-soul/RnB project flushes with new vocal directions, lyrics and vibrant melodies, which leaves the new version distinctly appealing from the classic.
Paul Play came to limelight, endearing Nigerians with a cover of his father’s popular Juju song, Mo So Rire. He had watched his father, Ik Dairo, rise to fame as one of the country’s most celebrated Juju/Folk musicians, and clinched a deal with Kennis Music as a solo act, in 1999. The Award-winning artiste released his debut album titled Project I, that same year. He followed up with a sequel, in 2002, titled Project II, and disappeared for 12 years – due to an undisclosed illness – until 2014, when he resurfaced with Best Thing.
Paul Play was a conscious and prolific songwriter, churning many unforgettable classics. And with his return, not much is likely to change about that.
WHEN her catchy Afro Rnb song, Kuchi Kuchi dominated the airwaves in late 2010, Joy Odiete was the talk of the town. Her music arrested ears from left to right, as radio and TV stations played the West African Idol’s runner-up endlessly across the continent. She dropped a 10-track album titled African Woman in 2012, and slowly slid off the music scene, leaving hearts restless about her musical whereabouts.
After a long struggle with several issues, involving her child’s illness and her marriage divorce, which influenced her career re-evaluation, Jodie has surfaced again with a 4-tracker RnB Extended Playlist (EP), titled Songs of Truth released last month. While the singer maintains her ageless vocal prowess, her music direction has changed, reflecting more of her messages on Christian gospel.
The Delta native, who grew up under staunch Christian parents, noted that her music had always been tilted towards the gospel, and the switch is one that she always preferred. Songs of Truth reflects various angles on the Christian philosophy on life, such as patience – Seasons, All of My Days, Psalm 27 and Goodness of the Lord – all of which profess trust in God.
SHORTLY after his emergence in 2004, having featured in the first edition of the West Africa Project Fame, Dare Art Alade released his debut album From Me 2 U, which earned him a top spot in the country’s music scene at that time.
Darey steadily built a successful music career, releasing hit projects such as unDAREYted (2009), Double Dare (2011) and Naked (2015). Like with Naked, Darey disappeared once again from the music space for five years, focusing on his creative entrepreneurial projects.
Now, the award-winning singer has joined the list of veterans resurfacing to the music scene with his new album titled Way Home. The storytelling singer once again bares his infectious RnB vocals in this Afro-fusion project that reflects the importance of heritage and identity as a human person. On the album’s lead single, he enlists Afro-Pop songstress, Teni Apata, on Show Me Love.
Darey began his music career in the early 2000s, after having watched his father the legendary Afro Jazz entertainer, Art Alade. His musical prowess has propelled him to grace stages with global heavyweights such as Beyonce, Usher, Jay Z, Lionel Richie, among others. He is well renowned for his well-woven storytelling style of songwriting, as well as his vocal dexterity.
As he finally returns home to music, amid his creative business exploits, his music career is likely to avoid the docks for a long time.