2017 was a stellar year for the music industry in Nigeria; with the collaborations, hit songs and international attention on our music, it can well be termed as the year that Nigerian pop music really took over the scene and grabbed the attention of music enthusiasts worldwide. Despite complaints in certain quarters about the absence of a break out act this year, the heavy weights stepped up to the plate and raised the bar of excellence and competitiveness even higher.
A roll call of the numerous achievements and landmarks attained by the likes of Wizkid, Davido, Mr Eazi, Tiwa Savage are well-documented in previous articles, and the amount of well-attended concerts that closed the year are a testament to how much growth the industry witnessed with young, relatively unknown acts being confident enough to hold their own shows at home, while the bigger names who toured Africa and Europe during the year but also felt it pertinent to end the year on home soil. 2017 was indeed the year that Nigerian pop music came, saw and actually conquered.
So what does 2018 hold? How do we top the achievements of the year that was? The team at FilterFree came together to state their expectations, the albums likely to be released, artists expected to light the candle and projections into what may just be another record breaking year for Nigerian music.
Albums to expect in 2018
Despite dropping his debut album as far back as 2012, Omo Baba Olowo still holds the title for one of the most consistent hit-makers in the land. 2015 was the year that his sophomore effort The Baddest was initially scheduled for release but following his deal with Sony Music, that was put on hold. Instead an EP, Son of Mercy popped up in 2016. Sadly, no one really showed mercy with the sound that Davido experimented with, and the EP tanked.
Thankfully, 2017 was when the raspy-voiced singer went back to basics and retraced his steps. Using a sonic formula, Davido put out singles like “If”, “Fall” and “Fia” and they became three of the biggest songs during the year. So will 2018 finally see the Atlanta-Georgia born act release his sophomore project? Or with his recent onstage reconciliation with Wizkid, will the two superstars pull a surprise and deliver a joint album as demanded by their fans?
Tekno “Teenage Dreams”
If there is one person whose album is truly highly-anticipated, then that artist is Alhaji Tekno. Slim Daddy had a memorable 2017,with 2 of his singles “Go” and “Mama” appearing on the top 10 most searched Nigerian songs on Google for 2017. Tekno is not only renowned for his song writing abilities but his production credits for acts like Davido has also embellished his profile. The recent viral picture that captured the talented act in the studio with American rapper Drake has also got tongues wagging and despite announcing a new title for his debut project far back as mid-2017, the album never came to light and many are certain that 2018 will finally be the year that Tekno Miles fulfils his ‘Teenage Dreams’.
Boogey “Nouveau Niveau”
We recently released our Top 10 Rappers in Nigeria for 2017 list and this generated a bit of furore as people challenged some of the names on the list. While any list will be subject to debate, it is fair to say that 2017 was indeed the year that the rappers just didn’t turn up, so what should we expect in 2018?
Anyone who knows me easily can tell that I am a huge fan of Boogey. Having followed the talented act from his very first project to date, it’s fairly safe to say that he has remained consistent with his art and is easily one of the finest emcees in the land today. Can he get better with his art? Surely. Will his music transcend beyond the core hip-hop fans unto a larger audience, Maybe? But with two very well-thought out singles already released, one can only hope that the album which literally translates to ‘New Level’ will earn the light-skinned wordsmith a place at the table which he surely deserves at this stage in his career. It is due for release in the first quarter of 2018.
Terry tha Rapman “The Life of Spazm”
Another rapper who owes us a project is the OG himself, Terry tha Rapman. The Life of Spazm project was initially scheduled for release in 2017, but was held back for certain reasons. However,as it is getting common these days, the mixtape will now be released on the rapper’s birthday, January 28th 2018. The Young Terry Waya is one emcee who has divided opinions amongst rap lovers; there is no doubt that on his day, Terry will probably outrap your favourite rapper, but his diversity is a blessing and a curse because many are unsure of what side of the rapper to expect from the project.
Adekunle Gold “About 30”
About 30 album has been in the works for a while now. The ex-YBNL singer, who took out time in 2017 to re-define his style and create a purposeful direction for his sound with the formation of his 79th Element band, has promised to deliver a successful sophomore effort in the New Year. 3 solid singles out already gives a taste of what to expect and if his performances at the recently held ‘One Night Stand’ concert in Lagos is anything to go by, then 2018 may just be the year when Adekunle strikes gold for the second time.
Maleek Berry “TBA”
UK-based producer, singer and songwriter Maleek Berry is the new darling of Nigerian music. Right from his break out in 2011, when he worked with Sinzu on “Carolina”, the talented producer has only known one way and that is Up. His Last Daze of Summer released in 2016 was very warmly accepted as he proved to be the perfect triple threat, hence it is only fair that this beautiful work is followed up with a sequel and the Eko Miami act has promised to release a new EP titled First Daze of Winter to be released in January 2018.
I honestly am not looking forward to another Olamide album in 2018. Yeah, he’s had 7 in 7 years, yeah, he scored a major hit with ‘Wo’, but I just would like to see him shift focus on other areas like putting out a Davolee project, but definitely not another Olamide album.
Kiss Daniel “TBA”
Name and album subject to litigation, caveat emptor.
2017 was not just a great year for the A-list acts, it was also the SoundCloud year in Nigeria. The online streaming platform provided a springboard for a generation of young, talented and aspiring Nigerian artists both at home and in the diaspora who just loved to make music and wanted to be heard. So come 2018, I expect to see these acts grow and build on the foundation that has been laid.
I am a huge fan of someone like Lady Donli and with her recent feature on Lord Vino’s Upper Echelon album, the release of her Letters to Her EP (following the success of Wallflower) and her various performances at the end of the year concerts where she performed. You get the sense that Donli is almost ready for the big stage, it will be interesting watching how she fares in the new year.
D-O too is bubbling with “Footwork” and Wavy the Creator is carving her own niche. These acts are using social media to connect with their fans and form a core listening audience. Some are also leveraging relationships to fund their own indie concerts, because ultimately the goal is to get the music into the ears of the curators and a larger audience.
I also want to see Nigerian acts pay more attention to touring locally and merchandizing, this is one key area where our acts need to catch up on.
No one can say for sure what awaits the music industry in 2018, last year probably surpassed a lot of expectations and it is expected that the year that follows will build on this success and birth greater things. But what we know for sure, is with the realization of online streaming and how technology has further transformed the traditional way of music distribution and business, more attention is now being paid to good and exciting music irrespective of the genre. The new year promises a whole new set of hit records, drama, excitement and most importantly, good music. And your favourite culture curators FilterFree will be here to give an in-depth and up to date account of every happening all through the year.