Written by @ehiscombs
I’ve had this topic in mind for a very long time, I even debated it with a couple of friends but was too lazy (my standard lazy self) to find time to put down my thoughts, hence this article.
Collaborations are meant to be a mash-up of two distinct creative worlds aimed at providing a glimpse into more artistic possibilities. I remember some years back when 2face featured Grammy Award winner Beenie Man on the remix of his smash hit “Nfana Ibaga”, his then Record Label Boss; Kenny Ogungbe proclaimed that this collaboration will help push ‘Nigerian music’ to the International Music Market and draw more foreign entities into supporting the industry aand investing in our emerging sound.
Fast forward many years later to 2014; over the past few years, we’ve had P Square & Rick Ross (Onyinye Remix), D’Banj & Snoop Dogg (Mr Endowed Remix), Pulse & Busta Rhymes (Sotey Remix), Dbanj & Kanye West (Scapegoat Remix), P-Square & Akon (Chop My Money Remix), Ice Prince & Gyptian (Magician Remix), Davido & Akon (Dami Duro Remix), Sound Sultan & Wyclef and recently Wizkid & Wale, 2face & T-Pain (Rainbow Remix), Mode 9 & Canibus (Super Human) and countless other real or imagined collaborations (feel free to add more below) but our music videos still aren’t getting heavy rotations on MTV America and other Music channels and other than the occasional premiere on BET’s 106 & Park.
At the BET Awards, the winner of the ‘Best International Act: Africa’ category doesn’t get any stage time (performing or accepting the award) at the main awards show, all the artists get cramped at a backstage presentation before the main event. Our Superstar’s major “European Tours” still end up in a hall or bar filled with 90% of our countrymen in foreign lands. The international labels are simply not attracted. No concrete deals are being signed with our acts (even the daring D’Banj deal with G.O.O.D Music has yielded almost nothing). Our industry is still as unstructured as the meat market at Mile 12, What then is the idea behind a foreign collaboration? Is it just something to have on your ‘CV’?
The blogs went haywire with rumors that Darey paid Kim Kardashian over $500,000 (a figure which has since been denied) to co-host the second edition of his ‘Love Like A Movie” concert. There were also rumors of P-Square paying about $100,000 to have Rick Ross on ‘Onyinye Remix’, not to talk of the many foreign acts that have performed on stages in the country for heavy sums of money and are treated like heavenly citizens while our own artists are treated unfairly in comparison, my question is this; If we invest this much in making these collaborations happen, to what end is it really?
Is it just to have the mention that a foreign act was featured? Is it with a view towards expanding your market? Are these collaborations necessary? Are they having any positive impacts on the industry? Have the artistes benefited from the anticipated hype (getting larger audiences interested in their music, leading to increased single/album sales)? If the central aim is to push Nigeria music into the international scene, to what percentage has this been realized?
I just feel too much effort has been put into some of these international collaborations that have added nothing to the Artiste or the industry, whilst some of these collaborations have come out good, some have been unnecessary but at the end of the day, my question remains, at this stage, today, are foreign collaborations the final ingredient required to push us to the next level?