Only real music is gonna last, all these other bullsh*t is here today and gone tomorrow– Drake
I was tuned-in to a show on rhythm 93.7, when the OAP Rezy narrated how he encountered an album, on his way to work and buying it off the hawker instinctively-without prior plans. The album was Wande Cole’s Mushin2Mo’Hits. Previously that week, I had bought the same album in a similar narrative.
There and then, I had this rather sad epiphany; the industry has grown lean on classic albums. I mean the kind of record you pull-out the shelves ~10yrs after, dust the cd, bump it and re-live moments when the album was hot way back when.
So what exactly is a classic?
A classic is an outstanding example of a particular style, something of lasting worth or with a timeless quality. A work of art that’ll persevere generation-after-generation, such that generations (unborn) can draw creative inspiration from.
Thinking of it, I find that there are only a handful of albums I can buy more than once, like Face2Face; Talk About It by MI (mentioning M2M again is redundant I guess); all Fela’s albums (maybe I’m a little biased here); CEO by Dagrin; everything in the afro-pop/afro-beat genre.
Wait a minute, isn’t classic defined by time?
By definition it might be too soon to tell if there really are no new classic albums out there anymore. However, there have been instances when albums were instantly certified as classic. Aside time however, there are indicators that hints at sustainability. Aside from time, there are indicators that hints at sustainability. Unique stories behind some works, like the untimely death of Da’Grin propelled the popularity of a well written, previously-unheard delivery of a street-hop album.
Most of the aforementioned albums were critically acclaimed and certified classics when they were released because of the level of creativity reached by their respective authors.
I don’t think Nigeria is short of talented young people, rather it seems to me that laziness has been more rewarding of late. An artist needs only to drop 2 hot singles, and by hot I mean club banger, and boom! the millions starts raining in via endorsement deals. Who needs an album when just 2 singles can fetch you 11 million naira worth endorsement, right?
Another factor critically limiting album creation, I believe, is the dismal revenue record companies generate from record sales. This coupled with the fact that there are only a handful record companies out there, so most artists are just winging it.