THE FANTASTIC FOUR FOR THE FUTURE
In this day and age, we have witnessed the international rise and global acceptance of the Afrobeats sound and genre. Pioneers like Wizkid and Davido, Tuface and Burna Boy have all played their parts in propagating and globalizing the sounds we’ve come to love and enjoy in the country, the continent and the world as a whole. While these OGs continue to leave their mark, there is a new school of young artistes who are determined to make a name for themselves on a national and global level, with their intoxicating new flavour to Afrobeats and Nigerian music. Introducing the fantastic four individuals that will catapult Afrobeats into a new dimension of worldwide acceptance; Buju, Joeboy, Fireboy, and Rema. This article will highlight their recent achievements and what they have in store for us in the future.
Daniel Benson, popularly known as Buju which stands for “Beauty Underneath Just Understood” is an Afro-Fusion singer and songwriter. He became popular when he released “Spiritual” featuring Zlatan in 2019. He offers something uniquely soothing and different with his style and is undoubtedly gifted. He recently got signed to Spaceship Records after getting the attention of Burna Boy, one of the dominant figures that greatly influenced his music, who couldn’t help but jump on the remix of his hit song “Lenu”.
It is quite obvious that the odds are in Buju’s favour, as he is poised to be a major hitmaker under the tutelage of Burna Boy, who would give him the proper exposure he deserves. Although there is officially no word on when to expect new music from him, I am very sure something is brewing. He is perfectly placed to take giant steps in his emerging career and he is definitely one to look out for in the industry.
Joseph Akinwale Akinfewa, also known as Joeboy is a young Nigerian singer and songwriter signed to Empawa Africa by Mr Eazi. His smash hit “Baby” was one of the top songs in 2019, gaining nationwide and international recognition. Known for his piercing voice range and catchy choruses, he kept the momentum going when he released a follow up EP “Love and Light”, which had back to back hits like Beginning, and “Don’t call me back” featuring Mayorkun. Since then, he has established himself as a prime Nigerian entertainer, gracing lots of shows and working on feature projects with other artistes. His recent collaboration with DJ Neptune and Mr Eazi “Nobody” is amongst the top smash hits of 2020.
It is almost his trademark to release songs under 3 minutes, which he was recently teased about on social media. However, one thing to admire about Joeboy is his persistence and consistency. He never rests on his laurels as he keeps on dishing delicious music as the great chef he is. With his distinct voice range, catchy choruses, and under the supervision of Mr Eazi, it can only get better for him and we expect nothing short of greatness.
Often mistaken for Joeboy because of their synonymous hairstyle, Adedamola Adefolahan, also known as Fireboy DML is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. He is signed to YBNL founded by Olamide. He came to the limelight with arguably one of the biggest songs of 2019 “Jealous” which held everyone spellbound from January till December. Ironically, the song was released under YBNL’s studio album “Mafia Family” in 2018 December, but the album wasn’t promoted by the record label. However, you cannot hide a lamp under a bushel, and this was the case for Fireboy’s Jealous. It ravaged the airwaves locally and internationally, putting close eyes on the young artiste’s next move.
Keeping up with the pace he set, he released “What if I say” and subsequently dropped his debut album “Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps”. This album has been dubbed by critics and listeners to be in the echelon of Wizkid’s Superstar and Wande Coal’s Mushin 2 Mohits, because there are no bad songs on the album. It features hit singles like “Need you”, “Vibration”, and “Scatter” which has been club/party favorites since 2019.
Undoubtedly, Fireboy has proven himself as not just an upcoming or promising talent, but an established one who is here to stay. He further rubber stamped his name in the Afrobeats scene with his latest single “New York City Girl”, which has been getting massive airplay and recognition. In recent times, we have seen Olamide take to social media to not only sing the praises of Fireboy, but also reiterate that he is the future of Nigerian music. Under the management of Olamide, the sky is just the starting point for Fireboy who is undeniably a sensational multitalented artiste. It is laughable that people mistake Fireboy for Joeboy. Besides their different style of music, Joeboy is lighter and shorter, and you’d know if you weren’t only paying attention to their hair and “boy” in their respective names 😂😂.
Divine Ikubor also known as Rema, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter and rapper. He first signed a record with Jonzing World, a subsidiary of Mavin headed by D’prince and was later signed to Mavin records. He stole the hearts of Nigerians when he dropped the hottest song of 2019 “Dumebi”. Lots of reviews from listeners all around dubbed him to be the next Wizkid because of their similar sound. He dropped an EP titled “Rema” which featured 4 smash hits namely; “Why”, “Corny”, “Iron Man” and “Dumebi”. His international” status when Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America, featured “Iron Man” on his summer 2019 playlist.
Rema hasn’t backed down since his debut year in the music industry. He keeps updating his catalogue with new singles to satisfy his growing fanbase. His 2020 release “Woman”, has received plenty airplay and recognition due to its tuneful lyrics and chorus. His style is very unique and catchy; you can’t help but sing along. The exposure and opportunities presented to Rema under the perfect management of Don Jazzy’s Mavin records cannot be overemphasized, as it is local and international in its reach, which has helped to transform him into a superstar at such a young age. His song “Alien” which features a sample from Jay Z’s classic song “Dead Presidents“, is a testament to this fact(it is not at all easy to clear a Jay Z sample; https://medium.com/the-courtroom/the-art-of-clearing-a-sample-deciding-if-its-worth-it-and-how-to-actually-do-e26fa56ad090 ). There is no doubt that he is one of the hottest in Nigeria today to have exceeded the “upcoming” level. Giving how bright his present is, it’s exciting to see what his future holds.
It is common to see comparisons between Rema and Fireboy, or Joeboy and Fireboy amongst others, as these are the young artistes making massive waves in the Nigerian Music Industry. It is however in the nature of humans to be competitive and comparative, as exhibited in the perpetual Wizkid versus Davido rivalry. Rather than focusing on the negatives, I believe these stars, who are rightly poised to be major superstars in the industry, should ignore all the negative media and even foster collaborations among themselves as they are the bearers of the future. I believe that music should unite rather than divide and, in my opinion, the comparisons are unnecessary, and will do nothing positive in the long run. Besides, I don’t think I’m the only one who would love to see these artists work together, for example Rema featuring Joeboy, or Buju featuring Fireboy.
If the world thinks it’s seen the peak of the Afrobeats movement, lol, it’s only just begun. We are undergoing a paradigm shift in the acceptance of this movement, and with these pioneers, our sounds would undoubtedly have a pandemic effect. Now let’s see what the future holds for Afrobeats, as the world marvels at these fantastic four, as they wield the baton for the next generation.
by: Dominic Alonge*
*- Dominic is a versatile freelance writer with various interests spanning Sports, Media and Entertainment. He is a Legal Practitioner with an LL.B from the University of Lagos