The platform is striving to preserve and celebrate our country's rich musical history.
Nigeria is blessed with a rich history of musical talents and evergreen songs. From the early 90’s down to the aughts, various genres – like Juju, Apala, Fuji, Afrobeat, and Waka – have coloured our musical history. Music from foreign shores has also seeped into the country and reconfigured by numerous gifted musicians who added their unique African elements to these western music styles. The works of these artists have gone on to influence the contemporary Nigerian music of today. The template that artists like Ras Kimono, Daniel Wilson, and Majek Fashek created is what newer acts like Patoranking, General Pype and Orezi work with. Much bigger acts like Burna Boy and Wizkid have also massively credited the great Fela Anikulapo Kuti for the blueprint he laid down, both musically and otherwise. Yet, there is inadequate documentation and recognition given to both the music and artistes that preceded what we have today. While you can trace most mainstream music’s lineage around today, we rarely give due credit as most of these older acts are simply relegated to the background.
A couple of years ago, Tekno was involved in a famous debacle involving him and veteran music duo, Danfo Drivers. The pair accused him of sampling their classic record “Kpolongo” on his single “Jogodo” without duly crediting them and getting the necessary clearance. This instance is just one of the many occasions where newer acts have co-opted styles or sampled music from the past and have entirely shunned the originator. There is a concise effort lately to both credit and celebrate these older artists. Last year, Fuji: A Opera, an event aimed at deconstructing the fuji music genre from its enigmatic past and re-imagining it for a new generation of music fans, took place at The Mike Adenuga Centre. The event was also aimed at paying homage to the various Fuji musicians who have championed the genre for several years. Another notable platform striving to preserve, celebrate and entertain both newer and older artists and fans alike is the Budweiser Smooth Kings Remix Show.
The maiden edition of the Smooth Kings Remix show kicked off on the 31st of March, with rapper Ycee and newcomer Veeiye putting a unique spin on the rap classic “Action Film” by M.I Abaga and Brymo. Helmed by crisp and creative production and instrumentation from Gospel on de Beatz and Alternate Sounds, 20 artists – who perform in pairs – are given the floor and leeway to reinvigorate and re-interpret classic Nigerian songs throughout ten episodes. The season, which is nearing its conclusion, has featured other star performances from acts like Badboy Timz and PrettyboyDo, who teamed up to perform a remix of Tony Tetuila’s magnum opus, “My Car”. Famous street-hop artist Small Doctor also teamed up with Terri to deliver an enthralling remix of Danfo Driver’s self-titled classic, “Danfo Driver”. One of the more notable performances is vocal powerhouse Niniola and heartthrob Chike’s rendition of Sunny Neji’s “Oruka”. Both artist’s synergy is unmatched as they both put their personal twist on the evergreen song.
A lovely touch by the brains behind this innovative show is allowing the original owners of these classic songs to express how they feel about these remixes. It helps bring some artists who might have been forgotten back into our consciousness while also celebrating their impact on the Nigerian music scene and beyond. It also helps inform the younger generation about classic songs and influential groups and acts that graced the music scene and left an indelible impact – one that the Budweiser Smooth Kings Remix show is helping to preserve and celebrate.