With ‘Shall We Begin,’ Laycon Breaks Away From ‘BBNaija Winner’ Tag
When he was in the BBNaija House in 2020 as a contestant, his songs ‘Hip Hop’ and ‘Fierce’ became street hops. In fact, ‘Fierce’ was the go-to anthem for his fans – icons.
With record votes in his name and fans spread out all over the world, it may have looked like a daunting task to break away, so to say, from the show that made him popular.
A debut album, a couple of features and several big endorsement gigs later, Laycon is evolving into what he wants to be: a music superstar.
To be fair to him, Laycon has always said he was only about his music. Going to BBNaija was not about him wanting to win the prize money. He saw the show as a platform for him to promote his craft.
He was not the first contestant to have harped on music being a passion while on the show. The fate of Michael Efe Ejeba, who won in 2017, loomed over his head like a menacing spectre.
Efe, like Laycon, enjoyed popular support but NOT on the scale Laycon did.
Regardless, many had high expectations for him to ride on the back of the music he always claimed to love to cement his fame. But Efe was not able to morph from the BBNaija winner into an artist.
“The one thing I didn’t expect was to win Big Brother Naija so there was no plan for this,” Laycon told Culture Custodian in February.
While winning the show may have been happenstance, using the fame, leverage and opportunities it brings have been almost entirely deliberate.
By sticking with his circle of friends and family that rolled with him before his BBNaija adventure, Laycon is milking the opportunities that come his way.
Perhaps the most important things he did since he left the House was to retain the people around him before he went in and to transition his BBNaija fans into fans of his music.
With features on a couple of songs – remixes of DJ Neptune’s ‘Nobody’ and Mr Real’s ‘Baba Fela’ – and the release of the video for ‘Hip Hop,’ Laycon took his fans from BBN to his personal space while trying, as much as possible, to run away from controversies that could mar that journey. That they went along with along him is evident in his social media following.
And when ‘Shall We Begin’ dropped on Friday morning, icons were already there to lap up his 12-track offering.
“Laycon’s new album, “Shall we begin” makes me happy,” said the founder of Afrobeats Intelligence and music journalist Joey Akan. “The focus and presence of mind for him to stretch himself through the celebrity, to anchor it all on sustainable art, impresses (sic) me. The right way to wield fame is to use it as fuel for productivity.”
Whether the album is fantastic or not is a debate for the critics and Laycon’s icons could care less. What is almost certain, however, is that he is dropping the cloak of BBNaija. Draping himself in the robe made by his music is smart a move.
And as it is, it seems the journey is about starting. Shall we begin?
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.