No Longer Classic

2face Idibia
2face Idibia

Opinions are divided as to whether Nigerian musicians of this generation merely make noise with their songs or produce classic songs that can outlive them

|  By Vincent Nzemeke  |  Apr. 15, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

TO make Chris Etaghene, a lecturer at the Music Department of Delta State University Abraka, lose his temper; just start an argument about Nigerian music of this generation. If you are bent on drawing his ire, insist that the likes of 2face Idibia, Terry-G, Wizkid and Banky-W are great artistes who can hold their own anywhere in the world. He will probably lose the argument, but he will leave you with a message that Nigerian musicians are no longer producing classic songs that will outlive them.


Etaghene, who prides himself as a music critique, would go to the extreme to convince whoever cares to listen, that Nigerian music had seen better days. To him, many of the artistes rocking the airwaves with various tunes now are charlatans who know little or nothing about music. “I don’t begrudge any artiste now, but we cannot shy away from the truth. As a music critique and teacher, I can categorically tell you that they are not producing good music, all they do is to churn out noise without any message,” Etaghene posited.

It is not only Etaghene who holds this position about the present crop of Nigerian musicians. There are many others who agree that there is a dearth of classic music in this generation. To this group of people, the rave making songs of Olamide, Timaya, D’Banj and many others cannot be compared to those of Sunny Ade, Christine Essien Igbokwe,  Shina Peters, Ebenezer Obey and other artistes of yesteryears.

Steve Ikwenji, a business man in Lagos, is also in that company. He says Nigerian musicians of this age are too lazy to produce any song that will address social issues and outlive them. “In my opinion, we don’t have classic musicians in this country anymore. All these new artistes are too lazy to write songs and produce good sounds. They just go to the studio, mix some noise together and get people dancing. They seem to forget that aside from making people dance, music is a tool that can be used to address social and many other issues in the country”.

Ikewenji, who seems to have a soft spot for Reggae music, agrees that no Nigerian musician from the early 90’s till date is good enough to be rated as classic. “Just look at Bob Marley, Lucky Dube and Majek Fashek, they were able to use the power of music to address issues and bring about change. But what is the message in Nigerian music today? They are just making noise and dancing”.

Although there seems to be no end to the argument, those from the younger generation find Nigerian music interesting and would readily rebuff anyone who thinks otherwise. To them, songs from the generation are better composed and besides, the artistes earn much more than what they used to obtain many years ago.

“I hate it when people say we are not trying in this generation, said Olajide Ajakaye, a member of a Lagos-based musical group. Ajakaye, who is also a sophomore student of English Language at the Lagos State University, Ojo, opined that many of those who dismiss Nigerians of this age as noisemakers are not in tune with global trends.


He said: “Let’s face the fact; music has changed not just in this country but everywhere in the world. The kind of music that will thrill people in those days will not appeal to anyone of this generation. Anyone who says artistes from this generation are lazy or don’t know how to sing is definitely not in tune with global trend in music.”

Corroborating Ajakaye’s view point, Ruben Oje, a banker, said even though Nigerian musicians of this age are not singing like the ones of older generation, it is not enough reason to dismiss them as quacks. He said the fact that the artistes are smiling to bank is an indication that they are providing something that this generation needs. “We can’t dismiss these guys as quacks. The fact that they are making money is an indication that they are providing something that this generation needs. Those that are a bit older must realise that the taste of the young generation is quite different from ours”.

While admitting that many Nigerian artistes are still below par when it comes to sounds and depth of lyrics, Oje singled out the likes of Asa and  2face Idibia as good artistes. “I know that many of them have empty lyrics, but you can’t dismiss the likes of Asa and 2face as not good enough. These are people who have proved their mettle as good artistes.”

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