Ten years ago, a 19-year-old singer left fans wondering if the song “Holla at Your Boy” was being sung by a Nigerian. In the sweet melody with lyrics imbued with western, the singer urged listeners to wave to him when they saw him pass. It was bold, fresh and a success.
The song, produced by DJ Klem (Knighthouse) and Vebee, is the first single from his debut album Superstar, during his years of contract with Empire Mates Entertainment (EME).
It was the perfect introduction to Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun aka Wizkid. Seeing then the boss of the label, Banky Wellington driving Wizkid and Skales in a school, in a clip which did not seem Nigerian, printed an ambitious image in the spirit of the teenagers who saw themselves in this singer.
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No wonder it immediately became a sensation. In January 2020, this song was 10 years old and the generation that grew up with Wizkid music remembers with nostalgia all the memories that Holla at your boy created for them.
They don’t hold back on social media and suffice to say that Wizkid has the largest and most solid fan base for an African artist.
For 10 years, a generation, on the verge of turning 30, has grown up listening to it, following and trying to understand its mystique while praising its musical abilities. Everything Wizkid breathes is a success, his fans are sure of it.
Three children, numerous collaborations with international stars including Beyonce, international agreements, several awards and multi-certified success later, Wizkid has evolved. He is still a physically small person but his influence, as an artist and African voice, has grown exponentially.
He was the first Nigerian musician to have more than a million followers on Twitter, a feat he achieved in 2014. His videos on YouTube have millions of views with ‘Fever’, released in 2018, garnering more 46 million views and the most recent video ‘Joro’ has more than 22 million views.
He has won numerous awards and has received recognition and nominations in prestigious avenues such as MOBO, The Headies, BET, MTV, Grammy, World Music Awards and many others.
Wizkid is currently one of the richest artists in Africa with a net worth of $ 20 million. He currently has the biggest music contract to date by an African music group with his 2016 contract with RCA Records.
After the hype of “Holla at your Boy” in 2010, Wizkid released more fire songs and pushed several musical collaborations that stunned fans. It lived up to its name. As fans began to get used to the domestic Wizkid, ‘Ojuelegba’ arrived.
The song, a simple melody with meanings, sparked a new fire among existing fans and created new ones. One of these new inductees was Drake, who later collaborated with Wizkid. This important decision remains a critical moment in history that solidified the crossing of Afrobeats on the international scene.
The official remix of the song includes voices from Drake and Skepta; he premiered on OVO Sound Radio in July 2015. Wizkid first announced that he was working on a new album during a visit to London in October 2014.
He later revealed “African Bad Gyal” as his collaborative single with Chris Brown and said it would be the first single from his third studio album. In April 2015, Wizkid and Chris Brown performed “African Bad Gyal” together during his concert in Durban, South Africa.
In 2016, Wizkid gained international recognition after collaborating with Drake on the world hit “One Dance,” which reached number one in 15 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. .
The song also made him the first Afrobeats artist to appear in Guinness World Records 2018.
All these and more international works have resulted in a level of influence that only a few artists in the world have been able to achieve. His cult fan base can be compared to Beyhive (Beyoncé’s fan base), which explains the success of his collaboration with Beyoncé on the song “Brown Skin Girl”.
The catchy and colorful woman Ode is a gift that keeps on giving, maybe it follows the name of the album in which it was presented, entitled “The Lion King: the gift”. Wizkid is credited with the widespread influence of Afrobeat on the international scene.
In a December 2019 article, Billboard wrote: “Currently, Afrobeat is the next international pop music. Big stars like Kanye West and Rick Ross have all collaborated with Afrobeat artists. Drake’s international hit in 2016, “ One Dance ”, once the song was most broadcast on Spotify, starred Nigerian artist Afrobeat Wizkid, who would continue to sign with RCA Records in what has become the biggest never made recording contract for an African artist.
“Last July, Beyoncé released“ The Lion King: The Gift ”, the album for the soundtrack of the 2019“ Lion King ”remake, which featured African and Afrobeat artists such as Wizkid, Burna Boy, M. Eazi and many others. With major labels like Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group betting on Afrobeats, all eyes are now on Africa. “
It is true that “Ojuelegba” is the song that caught the attention of the intentional scene but for the unconditional fans, who were teenagers and young adults in 2010, “Holla at your Boy” remains the song of the decade. Wizkid still wants you to greet him but he is now Starboy.