The New Era Music
The New Era Music: With a new day, comes a new wave! Evolution is paramount in our everyday living, it is inevitable for us humans. We must evolve, and rightly so, in every ramification— science, technology, sports, fashion, academia, the economy, the arts, and yeah of course music. Music, the food for the soul, oh! Music is my first love, so wholesome and fulfilling.
You must have heard the boomers label it as “new school”. A term which has become rather too condescending, oddly enough. The conservative lot do not want to accept that music has changed, is changing and would still change. They do not want to let us enjoy it. Music changes with the times, the times change. Even Eunice Kathleen Waymon, popularly and professionally known as Nina Simone says :
“…how can you be an artist and not reflect the times?”. How my guy?!
Music would invariably change and as long as it sounds good and original, we should all learn to accept that change eventually. It would be a gradual process but we the Neo conventional are here for you, we can hear for you and interpret while you catch on at your own time and pace. It would all make sense, soon enough, trust me.
Now, what are these changes I speak of even, I’m an Igbo Nigerian, so allow me to flex on the novel discovery of a sound so pristine and elegant it could only be executed by the one and only, “bad musician, bad producer”[foresight], my brother, our brother, CKay (The First). Conceivably, the number 1 artiste in Nigeria at the moment, OBO proclaimed. So it is only right I do this. Now, what does he call this sub-genre— Emo Afrobeat. I would be focusing
mainly on CKay for this article for reasons best known to the whole wide world, ya heard?! If you don’t gerrit, forgerabowrittt.
This sub-genre is just like any other, a fusion, as it should be. We already know what Afrobeat is, one of the most influential genres out there, ask Wizkid, he knows what I’m saying. Now, what is even this Emo?. Emo is a style of rock music characterized by melodic musicianship and expressive, often confessional lyrics. It originated in the mid-1980s
- hardcore punk movement of Washington, D.C., where it was known as “emotional hardcore” or “emocore” and pioneered by bands such as Rites of Spring and Embrace.
Emo music is a subgenre of punk rock, indie rock, and alternative rock music defined by its heavy emotional expression. Popular emo bands include My Chemical Romance, From First to Last, Fall Out Boy, Jawbreaker, and Dashboard Confessional. If you recognize some of these bands, you should be given a medal lol, ‘cause emo is sort of novel, yeah, sort of. Emo may also construe a fashion/style mode of expression. Goth or Gothic in nature, you may have seen our beloved (misanthropist) westerners clad with black clothing (skinny jeans and leather wears) really dark eyeliners, multiple piercings, black lipstick, and listening to heavy metal, but not that Emo, at least I am inclined to believe so.
THIS EMO IS SOOTHING, not smothering. Haha, but no offense sha.
So basically, it stems from the word “emotional”. A genre characterized by emphatic emotional expressiveness laced with sultry confessional lyrics for the gyal dem! Now imagine what this combo would be like, almost like you’re having kpomo and lobsters. Enigmatic.
Africa’s Boyfriend, unlike African Boyfriends, has been everything but unfaithful to his fans as he stays steady repping on a global level, racking up the streams and I’m not talking about the other one in your head, damn. My bad. The Love Nwantiti crooner has projected his talent by unfathomably writing a song with very few lyrics and for the most part, just melodies and harmonies. Brazy. Oh! Shoutouts especially to Tiktok for coming through again and giving us that hit song remontada (remontada is a Spanish word for a comeback for you lot that doesn’t watch football, sigh). Anyways, we all know Tiktok has hacked the system, which is feasibly beneficial for artists out there, with its ability to resurrect songs from the dead and take the most obscure songs to hit status. We saw what it did to Aurora’s 2015 “ Runaway”. This right here is also living proof as the record was initially released in 2019 on his debut EP, CKay The First EP. Track 2, 2 be precise. (See what I did there?). Yeah, I know my CKay don’t play with me. The remix with Joeboy and Kuami Eugene came in February of the next year, as well as some other continental remixes, followed suit, you know that’s a “must-do” for Nigerian acts scoring a global hit. Dj Neptune shouldn’t read this.
- In 2021, it funny how this jam blew out of the blues, but it’s Emo Afrobeat. Lol, text me when you get that reference. This song trended for the longest and even if your boyfriend lies, Africa’s Boyfriend, CKay doesn’t lie (well he may, tbh idek know him personally to vouch for him, but yeah he’s my guy still). But you know what else doesn’t lie, and I’m certain of this? Numbers! Numbers definitely do not lie as CKay’s smash record was able to attract a jaw-dropping 15 billion views on our oracle app, Tiktok, a massively impressive 238 billion+ Spotify streams— a logical geometric figure commensurate to his 31.8 million monthly listeners, a sale of 200,000 copies (and counting) in the UK giving him a Silver plaque certified by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), number 1 song on Shazam’s global charts, and was able to peak at august heights for an artist of his prior caliber.
- See my small table below :
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard) 33
US Rhythmic (Billboard) 10
US Rolling Stone Top 100 9
Fashi the table. No strength again, LMAO.
It also peaked at number 3 on the UK Singles Chart and reached number one on the UK Indie Singles Chart. It also reached No. 31 on the US Billboard Hot 100, it peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Global 200 & Billboard Global Excl. The U.S. on Chart dated Oct. 23rd, 2021( and appeared on the Canadian Hot 100. It went on to be nominated for the City People Music Award in the “Best Collab of the Year” category, and although he didn’t go on to win the award, he certainly won world hearts with the original audio amassing 5.7 million views on YouTube and the first (West African) remix also racking up 147 million views. Need I mention his North African Remix with the high profile Moroccan rapper, ElGrandeToto doing 31 million views in a month, my days!
This song is only but a fragment of the beautiful sound CKay has created for our ears, you hear more and more of this on his debut EP (“dtf” is a personal fave on this project, love that tune so much!), his very own earlier hit single “Felony” which had girls spiraling into an intense crush with the young gent, also songs on his Boyfriend EP too.
- He also incorporated elements of this sub-genre in Davido’s “La La” and the much recent feature titled “Shakara” owned by Ice Prince. CKay is manifesting to us that Emo-Afrobeat is here to stay whether we like it or not, I mean the man makes these beats himself. So who’s stopping him? The sound has shown it has worldwide appeal. Sooner or later, he may inspire other artists to tow this line. I hope so. Welp! at this point, special shoutouts to Nonso Amadi, Odunsi (The Engine), Rema, Flash, Alpha P, Tomi Agape, Bella Alubo, etc who have in one way or the other subsumed elements in foresight of this beautiful sub-genre in their works. Especially those first two guys, they are surreal. I love them! Arguably, pioneers too.
Yo, I bet you 5 years in hindsight you wouldn’t want to even harbor the idea of fusing the Afrobeat sound with such an esoteric genre as Emo, you would have called it sacrilege may be, inserts stan tweet *the African urge to hold Afrobeat in such a sacred status that should only require the most selective picking for fusions and all whatnots and it should be done by the A-listers, the experts*. Not that there’s anything wrong with that tho, but who made the A-listers the experts? Any good and actually talented musician with passion and work ethic can do it. Please. Any other genre please but not Emo, Emo is for weirdos, for goths. You may say. Okay, what if it worked with Trap, Soul, R&B, Pop, Rap, etc. Why would it work with Emo? Hell, why should it? But what if it does work, darling? You would frown upon it, you would call it crazy, you would call CKay crazy, how dare you even?, now here you are shouting “Unle!” upandan ‘cause it did work darling! Why can you not open your mind to new things? why can we not do that? I am guilty of all of these too, but that’s not the point guy lol. I would now shortly brag about how I have known CKay since like my SS1/SS2, when he recently got signed to Chocolate City (before the Warner Bros. merger) and dropped “Bad Musician, Bad Producer” one of his very first singles, it was freestyle though. And his “Who You Epp?” cover with Pryse. Omo! Good old days! Okay, I’m done, I’m an OG like that, yeah I know.
Wait hold up! forgive me, now back to the point, the point is that we are evolving, we are currently on a cusp to greatness. Nigerian music is playing, the world is listening, let’s make it worthwhile as we have always done! Let us all welcome this change, this paradigm shift, with the widest of smiles and the warmest of hugs, these are metaphors biko. Our music is evolving as it should, we are now at par, at pace, at peace,…with this art piece. The experiments were not futile. We should be happy. We should embrace that. We should drink and dance to that, too bad I can’t do any of those…
- Till we meet again music lover, look after yourself. � ❤
piece by Gabriel Iloh