When Nigerian musicians release music, an average music listener can easily determine if it will be an instant hit or not. The reason is not far-fetched, they just want something that won’t stress or challenge their mental health, they want to listen and have instant idea without necessarily understanding what the musician sings.
What qualifies as weak lyrics, may be brilliant lyrics to someone else, it depends on the directions the listeners are coming from. An average Olamide fan, knows what to expect. While an average Brymo fan also has the idea of what the singer will bring to the table.
The reality is, songs considered to be commercially successful in Nigeria of today lack the capacity of challenging listeners’ sense of reasoning; you can call the artistes mediocres if you like, but they are on top of their games, churning out hits on hits
If you’re not educationally grounded, you’d likely not understand most of Brymo, M.I, Falz, Vector, Timi Dakolo, Johnny Drille, Waje, Asa, Omawumi’s songs; not that their songs cannot be digested, but it it takes more than first listening to understand them – at times you have to listen three to four times to get what they sing about. On the commercially side of these songs, they tend not to enjoy more attention than their peers who sing just for the instant attention. As a listener, you have to be more attentive to grab what their songs entail… you’re going to listen like you want write a review .
When an artiste release a song without profound lyrics, easy chorus, laced with memorable hook that average Nigerians can relate to, such song gets heavy rotations online, radio, TV and before you realise, it becomes a hit. This is why Olamide, Davido, CDQ, Phyno, Wizkid will easily make eight hits out of 10 songs and they will at times tell you “my last song was made in less than one hour.” Musicians don’t need a year to make a good song, at times, it takes less than one hour to truly get a good lyrics, depending on the artistes state of mind. But for artistes releasing songs almost all the time, it means “let me just give these fans what they can dance and sing along to, without necessarily communicating or addressing any issue.” Hence, they say they have released a commercial song.
What then is a commercial song? Going by what we have in the industry right now, commercial song is a song you really don’t need to know who sang it, however, you can dance to it, sing along to the lyrics because it will sound like something you’ve heard before and importantly, will get played almost all everywhere you go and get the artiste that sang it shows at almost all events… this means cashing out.
Only artiste like Adekunle Gold, 2Face Idibia, Sound Sultan, Simi, Falz, Tiwa Savage and few others have mastered the art of releasing (socially)-conscious songs that blend with ‘commercial’. Not that the core commercial singers are not talented or not good enough to churn out music that will challenge listeners’ sense of reasoning, it’s just their focus that is different — they focus more on their songs going viral, not the impacts and lasting impressions the songs tend to create on listener’s.
Most artistes are in music to make money and they will strive hard to make the money by following what works for them. Look at Kizz Daniel, Burna Boy, Mr Eazi, Seyi Shay, Yemi Alade, Niniola, they have their different directions that is working for them, their songs can be considered commercial as well, but with an ‘upgraded art that defines them differently’.
It all boils down to those listening to songs, and how they perceive what they listen to. Anyway, right now, commercial music is winning in the industry, just like usual and it remains the heart of the music industry, pumping the blood that keeps it running.