Timaya

Why is the Nigerian Music Industry Successful?

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nigerian musicians

I m tempted to start this blog post with “We the best!!!!! who?!!! we!!!!” but that’s not what this post is about. As a child of the 90s, born in the late 80s and came to adulthood in the 2000s I grew up mostly loving foreign/american music. When I was a kid, I was a big fan of Michael Jackson, had a few VCRs recordings of his music videos and concerts. I used to practice the moves and would bust a move at parties I was invited to as a kid. Then at some point in the 90s I think it was 94’ I fell in love with hip-hop and my younger self really really was a fan of Tupac. I believed in the West Coast part of that beef, finger signs and all. At some point after Tupac and Biggie were killed I moved on to being a Nas and then a Jay-Z fan. Sided with Nas in that beef but that doesn’t matter now. Basically my point is that, although there was Nigerian music being made around this time I don’t think it was as popular. From the top of my head, I remember Ras Kimono, Daniel Wilson, Blacky, Junior and Pretty, Oliver De Coque, Eddy Remedy, Maintain, Plantashun boiz, Tony Tetuila eventually ( Trivia: What Nigerian musicians do you remember from the 90s and early 2000s?). Of course there were outliers like Fela who were popular even then.
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What Is The Nigerian Dream?

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If you came here looking for some sappy platitude about how Nigeria can become a great nation or a variation of MLK Jr’s “I have a dream” speech with a Nigerian tilt then I am sorry you have hopped on the wrong blog post. Somewhere between my disappointment at the Zimmerman verdict and this interview given by Chimamanda Adichie while reading Max Siollun’s book on Nigerian politics during the Buhari and Babangida regimes, I thought up this post.

A nation is often a product of its dreams. The American dream despite being difficult to attain for a lot of people still provides something to aspire to and based on my little knowledge the American dream is a dream that every American can become what they aspire to become and that if anyone works hard enough he can achieve these dreams through sheer will, perseverance and a level of creativity. This is a recurring theme in Hollywood movies with an inspirational tilt or even action movies where the little guy triumphs over the big guy despite the odds due to the sheer power of determination. What is the Nigerian dream? What does the average Nigerian aspire to? If a nation is as good as its dreams then perhaps the Nigerian dream might be a tad bit dysfunctional. What follows is my characterization of what I feel is the Nigerian dream and some responses I got on twitter.

The Nigerian dream is a dream borne out of the sheer exasperation of the Fela sung “suffering and smiling” syndrome. It is seeking to have basic amenities that people in developed countries take for granted, it is taking a poop and not having to hope that there is water to flush the toilet. It is a 50 cent album title made manifest. It is the spirit of get rich or die trying. The Nigerian dream consists of trying to make wealth whether by hook or by crook. The pursuit of “hammering” you see is the beginning of wisdom. You see everybody wants wealth but the Nigerian dream consists of wanting to have wealth not only for oneself but for one’s children up to the 4th generation as well as have money for your extended family, village and ethnic group. That’s quite a lot to aspire too and is the common trigger for corruption. The Nigerian dream means that you can sponsor your extended family members to go to school so they too can be in a position where one day you can apply the science of nepotism to put them in your workplace.



The Nigerian dream is to become a big man or woman, that sort of mini deity that exists in the Nigerian populace. The big man and woman in addition to having wealth has the influence and power that goes with the wealth, he/she might not be the president, a governor or senator but has the ability to get in touch with those in such positions and is able to get concessions and obtain juicy contracts, job positions and other forms of patronage obtainable in Nigeria. The mega Nigerian dream is to own an Oil bloc and sit around while that sweet revenue flows in. Shoutout to the TY Danjuma’s of this country and Alakija or the Dangotes and Adenugas.



The Nigerian dream is to be able to say “Do you know who I am?!!!” or “Don’t worry let me call my boys!!!” or “I will deal with you!!!” and watch people instantly squirm and acquiesce to your every demand while others observing look upon you with awe and envy. Ooh what an important person you must be. This dream is a dream of being able to talk down to those you perceive to not be of your class. It is the dream to speak in foreign accents and constantly remind people that you have been abroad. It is the dream of constantly finding fault with everything that goes on in Nigeria and analyzing it using big big words while proffering no solution.


The Nigerian dream is having an overbloated sense of national pride despite the fact that our nation has really achieved nothing when compared to its wealth. It is the loudness, it is the boldness, it is the sanctimonious and hypocritical behaviours, it is the opinionated and prejudiced views, it is the diversity of ideas, dreams and vanities that makes us who we are as a nation.

I guess the Nigerian dream is to go from being a plantain boy to become a big boy. lol. What is the Nigerian dream to you?

My Top Naija Jams at the moment: What’s playing in my Car

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MI – Undisputed

To start it off, I must go with MI, Mr Incredible himself. My favorite Nigerian Rapper hands down and he delivers on his sophomore album MI2, Which in my opinion is on its way to becoming the Nigerian Album of 2011. With tracks like One Naira, Number One, Beef, Undisputed and Epic. The track below is Undisputed. Definitely one of my favorite on the album. Enjoy

Darey – Ba ni Kidi

Another strong contender for Album of 2011 is Darey’s Double Dare Album. This 2 cd combo, comes with “Heart” which is Soulful and takes you back to what beautiful R&B is supposed to be and then you have “Beat” which gives you tracks to nod your head to and get a lil hype. On Beat, He has two tracks that make so much sense, Ba ni kidi which mixes hausa and pidgin in a comical way. And yes I like it probably cos I speak hausa and there arent many hausa jams out there.

Also for good measure, since I m on Darey, here is the the way you are

Darey – The way you are

The beat on this song is so sick. I would have sworn Timbaland made this beat but nah, its our very own Soul Muzik. Ideal for some high speed movements sha,

Wizkid – Dont Dull

I love this song and I like that Wizkid is just 21. Thats like 14 in naija years cos its so hard to make it early. His second hit single. Enjoy

Timaya – Watta Bam Bam

Good Jam. A bit old but I love it.

Naeto-C ft Asa – Share my blessings

Another strong album if you ask me is Naeto-C’s. The only MC with an MSc. Love that line. Enjoy this song with my girl, Asa.

D’Prince Ft D’banj – Give it to me

No top naija jams list will ever be complete in contemporary Nigeria without a Mohits song. This tune makes sense jo.

Over the moon – Dr Sid

My Mohits parade continues with Over the moon by Dr Sid, catchy as hell. Don Jazzy definitely knows his beats.

Danjuana – Allha ya kawo ballai

Arewa stand up! This song is old but I loves it anytime. It makes to play this if u be “malo” boy driving Honda in Abj. lol. Enjoy.

Waconzy – I celebrate

Cool jam. Relaxing.

Asa – Be my man

Love the video. The song is so chill. Love her style.

Duncan Mighty – I dont give a shot

Last but not least, Portharcourt’s first son, aka Wene Mighty aka Mr Scatta your dada with I dont give a shot,