Life isn’t so Eazi! “Ghana’s influence on present day Naija sound cannot be overemphasised”

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Life isn’t so eazi.

Anyone who knows me or knows of me will know I’m a HUGE fan of Nigerian music. You guys that follow me on Twitter will know. I can’t say all genres of Nigerian music but definitely popular Nigerian music of the last decade and even longer. I believe some would refer to this as Afro-Pop.

From Styl-Plus to D’banj in the Mo-hits Era. You name it, I loved it all. As young as 10 years old I would play these songs till I and everyone around me got fed up and yes I was the life of every hall party from 2000!

The beauty of growing up in London is that we are exposed to other African cultures. Surprisingly, I believe a bit more exposed than I would be if I lived in Nigeria. Despite the love hate relationship between Ghana and Nigeria, I grew up around Ghanaians, as a lot of us did. Some of my closest friends till date are Ghanaian. They have beautiful culture with beautiful people. Sometimes we hate to admit it, but that’s one of the ways in which we are the same.

I grew up watching channel OBE, and programmes like Taxi driver. It was through this I became more acquainted with Ghanaian music and culture. My clearest memories are Mzbel ’16 years’, VIP ‘Ahomka Womu’, and Bollie ‘You may kiss your Bride’.
I wouldn’t say my hip life knowledge is the best but I knew my fair share of jams.

From around 2011 onwards the dance craze Azonto became a global phenomena amongst Ghanaians back home and in the diaspora. It also became big amongst other Africans. It was no surprise that I got caught up in this dance craze too. I would tune in every Saturday to DJ abrantee’s show on Choice FM and practice my azonto to Buk Bak ‘Kolom’.
Believe me it took me months to get my hand and leg co-ordination right. I guess the dancing gene y’all have just isn’t in my DNA. We Azontoed until we were TIYAD!

I am giving a bit of background knowledge so you guys can get where I am coming from.

As the Azonto era died down, let’s say within the last year 3 years, I became less of an avid listener of Ghanaian music, not for any particular reason. I still remained very familiar and up to date with the sound having listened for so long.

I became aware of Mr Eazi in late 2015, but I wasn’t really checking for him. I wasn’t gripped or convicted by his sound. Nevertheless I was glad a young Ghanaian artist was making waves in the UK, As a fellow African and as an African Music enthusiast in general. Or so I thought.  What further caught my attention was that my general assumption that he was Ghanaian, was wrong.

It caught many of us by surprise that Mr Eazi isnt Ghanaian but he is indeed Nigerian.

Full blooded Naija boy through and through.

I can often be so patriotic, that when someone doesn’t also display the same, I assume they aren’t proud to be Nigerian.
Which I agree is a little over the top.
People show their National pride in different ways.
I was more intrigued by Mr Eazi because of this. A full blooded Nigerian who sings Ghanaian music, with a huge fanbase in the UK? Hmm. It was interesting to say the least, and definitely something I hadn’t seen before.

So I started paying attention to his music more.

I decided I preferred ‘Hollup’ and ‘Shitto’ a bit more than ‘Skin tight’ which everybody loved. Being stubborn and not following the crowd and all.
I got into watching his interviews where I learnt he was born and raised in Nigeria but went to University in Ghana.
He also hosted events where the likes of Sarkodie performed.                      Somewhere along the lines I’m guessing his love for music developed and he found his sound. His “niche”.

Still, I was shocked to find out his name was Tosin. OLUWATOSIN at that??!!! Typical Yoruba name?? Haba!

We Nigerians never run away from an opportunity to scream from the rooftop that we are Nigerians and proud. So what happened here? I saw an interview where he said he answers to Kwame which left me thinking “Oh no you didn’t” and  “Boy bye’ simultaneously.

Now of course there is nothing wrong with showing appreciation to your 2nd home but it almost felt like If it didn’t come out, he would’ve easily played on the fact that many believed he was Ghanaian, whilst abandoning his Nigerian roots.

Last year Wizkid signed Mr Eazi to his label Starboy. I was surprised and happy about his progress. I hoped that the signing with Wizkid would propel him onto greater heights and give him wider exposure especially with the Nigerian audience. But I still felt like Mr Eazi wasn’t bothered about us Nigerians really. I felt quite isolated.

As expected I noticed he continued to grow in popularity especially in Nigeria. As a Londoner I base that on what I hear through friends, family and social media.

Many disagree, but I personally believe a lot of Nigerian artists have been influenced by typical Ghanaian sounds and beats. It’s become clearer to see and hear in recent times. Runtown’s ‘Mad over you’ is a typical example of this. Whilst some argue it is paying homage to Ghana I would not call it that. Although people disagree, I see a lot of similarities between some Ghanaian songs I have heard in the past and Korede Bello’s ‘Do like that’. I just can’t quite put my finger on it.

Since as far back as we probably even realise, musicians have been incorporating different styles and sounds into their music. I spoke about this in my Burna Boy piece. It is normal and that’s how music grows and evolves.

As someone who has been listening to Ghanaian music for over a decade I am familiar with it. I try not to be biased as a Nigerian and I speak on music for what I hear.

I expressed my observation on Sunday evening on Twitter. I explained how I’ve been listening to GH music for years and it’s funny how Nigerian artists are jumping on the GH style.
You know. It’s like the person who buys those pair of trainers that are in trend. They jump on the bandwagon a little late yet they STILL want to show of abit . I expressed that. I also questioned, why is it now, all of a sudden?

I also expressed that I believed Mr Eazi’s popularity in Nigeria contributed to the rise in this. Yes, it isn’t the first time Nigerians have incorporated GH style in their music. Someone corrected me with the example Olamide ‘First of all’, which was very much a Nigerian azonto track.
To me it is no coincidence that Mr Eazi sold out a concert in Lagos during a similar time where the 2 tracks I mentioned earlier were released.

Mr Eazi came into my mentions co-signing my tweets but I couldn’t help but be cheeky and ask why he doesn’t tell people his name is Tosin unless it’s mentioned first.

Last night the TL went CRAZY when Mr Eazi tweeted “Ghana’s influence on Nigeria’s present day sound today cannot be overemphasised”. His tweet was very similar to what I stated earlier in the week however the reaction was very different. Mr Eazi got dragged right left and centre. Some tweets were funny whilst some were just uncalled for.

Angry Nigerians hurled insults and he was read-for-filth.

I agree with Mr Eazi 100%. The Ghanaian influence on the new emerging Nigerian musical style today, for me, is undeniable. Is this a bad thing? No it’s not.
Both Nigerian and Ghanaian music have done amazingly well to get to this point. They have both done a lot for the progression of African music. But one should never forget to give credit where it is due. Nor should any rip any off of their sound and try to claim it as their own or have a “We did it first” mentality, when both are learning and growing from each other. It’s no competition.

When it comes to Afrobeat as a whole we can’t deny the stamp that has been left by Nigerians till date. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. Making a lot of what we do the centre of attention. But does this mean we cannot be inspired or influenced by other cultures. NEVER. We should continue to inspire and be inspired.

Patoranking has collaborated with 2 Ghanaian artists recently. Sarkodie and Bisa Kdei and both songs are amazing. Just to show what happens when Ghana and Naija meet. The sooner we all realise the better.

Most importantantly we are all Africans.

I’d also like to just add that Mr Eazi is undoubtedly a very talented artist, I hope he continues to grow and progress.

I didnt realise my Initial tweets would start such a riot and as funny as it is, It’s ridiculous honestly. I just want world peace and good music.

Chale, stop all this wahala.

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