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And the year 2017 belongs to…DAVIDO

Davido still bears the palm as 2017’s winner of most hits in Nigeria. Why? ‘If’ was intense…[and] ‘Fall’ wasn’t as melodious as ‘If’, but [it] came with a slang that still graces timelines and tweets to this day.

The Nigerian music scene has grown as competitive as the rodeo. There are so many talented singers trying to outdo one another to be the song in every street, club, bar, breath. This is arguably a good thing considering it has spurred creativity with every artiste coming into his own in order not to be forgotten. It, however, has produced degrees of shallowness in certain quarters with the urgency to blow, to hit the market, to make a ‘banger’. And this is why recent songs have developed short shelf lives, as compared to the times of singers in the seventies and eighties whose songs are deemed evergreen.

Our singers are therefore on their toes, some releasing as much as four, five singles a year, some albums, EPs, mixtapes, year after year. For Davido, he didn’t just sing and feature in a lot of songs in 2017, he equally made a lot of hits, perhaps more hits than all of his contemporaries.

What makes a song a hit? One may easily respond without much thought: airplay. But there’s usually more to a hit than just airplay. There’s the number of downloads to consider, the number of slangs that evolve from said song, the acceptance of it on the streets, and even perhaps dance steps generated for it. Judging by these criteria, the biggest Nigerian song of the year would probably be Olamide’s ‘Wo’. It would have been contested by Davido’s ‘If’ or ‘Fall’, but none of these have created a dance style.

The above notwithstanding, Davido still bears the palm as 2017’s winner of most hits in Nigeria. Why? ‘If’ was intense, took the whole nation by a tornado, got covers and remakes and a remix featuring America’s R Kelly. ‘If’ was the biggest song of the beginning of the year, only replaced in intensity by ‘Fall’, a song also by Davido. ‘Fall’ wasn’t as melodious as ‘If’, but ‘Fall’ came with a slang that still graces timelines and tweets to this day. People still send birthday messages with ‘Money Fall on You’, ‘Cake Fall on You’, and summon other things to fall on the recipient or celebrant.

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In October, Davido was in the news a lot in relation to the death of his friend Tagbo Umenike. As soon as the singer was acquitted of all charges, he released a song, ‘Fia’, that spoke volumes in its discreetness, while still being a smash hit. But again, its Davido, the one who never takes his experiences for granted, but makes music of it. Again, world people have found a lot of Fia’s lyrics relatable, and made a slangs out of it within only three weeks of its release. This week alone, I have heard people say ‘If you no get money, hide your face’, something not originally attributed to the singer seeing Omo Iya Tisha, Small Doctor, had made a song earlier with this same line. However, one can tell this is most likely the Davido brand of the saying being repeated because before Fia, it wasn’t such a thing on many lips.

While ‘Fia’ was still gathering steam, Davido released yet another song (and even though I initially saw this as a wrong move, I am now convinced otherwise), ‘Like Dat’, a song that currently already has over a million views on YouTube in just about a week. Perhaps Like Dat would have been another street anthem as big as ‘If’ or ‘Fall’ if the singer had waited a little longer; perhaps it is too early to determine that it wouldn’t. With David, one cannot be too sure of anything. But one thing the world can agree upon is that 2017 has been a great year for the OBO boss, and the twenty-five year old singer is arguably the Nigeria artiste with the most hits, a feat that has earned him awards such as MTV EMA’s 2017 Best African Act, African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA)’s Artiste of the Year and Song of the Year for ‘If’, and tons of nominations.

Ifeoluwa Olujuyigbe was the 1st runner-up in The Critic Challenge 2017. She is a writer, editor and film critic. Her short stories, reviews, essays and flash fiction pieces have appeared on Brittle Paper, Akoma, The Naked Convos, Storried Nigeria, The Scoop, Pulse Nigeria, Words are Work, Writivision, Paragraph Planet UK, Short Sharp Shot Literary Magazine, and 'A Mosaic of Torn Places' anthology, to mention a few. She won Flash Fiction Competition, Blackout (2016), and the SGNT Media Short Story Prize (2016), and she was a runner-up for the iWriteArt Competition (2016). She currently writes movie reviews for True Nollywood Stories (TNS) and edits for gemWoman Magazine.

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