Post Date: May 05, 2017
On July 2, Wizkid, the “Starboy” and “Prince of African Pop” — an African-to-worldwide pop star who can possibly follow in a line that extends back to the era of Akon — visits the Nation’s Capitol. Whereas Akon is of Senegalese descent and was born in St. Louis, Wizkid is Nigerian, and probably someone that you’ve heard on a few of your favorite songs, but likely had no idea. However, with his increased global exposure and a third studio album forthcoming via a new record Sony/RCA, this is a tremendous time for one of those “before they were superstars” moments. Here’s five reasons why Wizkid is a star on the rise, and well worth purchasing a ticket to check him out at Echostage.
1. He’s The OTHER Rapper On Drake’s “One Dance”
Billboard’s “Song of the Summer” for 2016 was “One Dance,” Drake’s tropical hip-hop dancehall pop champion sound. Drake and Wizkid had collaborated one year prior alongside UK grime rapper Skepta for Wizkid’s single “Ojuelegba,” making “One Dance a case of Wizkid returning the favor. Rolling Stone noted that the “tropical summer jam with a Caribbean lilt that evokes Lionel Richie in pastel-shirt mode. When he mixes in Nigerian singer Wizkid and London diva Kyla, he turns ‘One Dance’ into a utopian fusion of global styles, by way of Toronto.”
2. He’s Also Recorded Songs With Wale, Major Lazer, and R. Kelly
Key as well to what will be Wizkid’s likely American crossover success is his ability to excel at the merging point that Diplo’s tropical production team Major Lazer represents between hip-hop culture and electronic music. In the past two years, breezy house-aimed Major Lazer single “Boom” and Wale’s Major Lazer-produced album track “My Love” have been aided by the Nigerian vocalist’s tenor. Infectious and dancehall-inspired records more aimed at the festival crowd than top-40 radio, they’ve definitely increased familiarity with his artistry in the American-to-worldwide mainstream.
3. He Already Has An Incredible Built-In 18-35 Year Old Audience
Here’s a few interesting facts about Nigeria. The country’s population is 184 million, roughly half of America’s population. However, unlike America which has 1/10th of it’s population as being 18 and under, 1/5th of Nigeria’s population is between 18-35, and the country’s median age is 18. Furthermore, YouTube is Nigeria’s largest music streaming service, and overall worldwide, it’s used the most by those aged 25-34. Therefore, this bodes well for how his music appeals so quickly, and so well, to so many.
4. He Has A Collaboration Coming With Sia
Yes, Sia, as in the singer/songwriter whose Sean Paul collaboration “Cheap Thrills” was a platinum seller, #1 in over 20 countries in 2016, and was Spotify’s #5 overall streamed song of the year. Similar to “One Dance,” it was described as a “bouncy and reggae-tinged synthpop song.” Whatever the teased collaboration sounds like, the idea of Wizkid pairing with an artist who’s had easily a dozen groundbreaking smash hits in the past five years can only mean amazing things.
5. He Already Has 100 Million Streams Via His Official Vevo
WizKid’s been Vevo official on Youtube for just over a year, and has already clocked in at over 100 million total views. Though his Drake collaboration “One Dance” has no official video, the Saturday Night Live performance featuring ONLY Drake has over 22 million hits. Comparatively, Sia’s been Vevo-official for seven years, and has SIX BILLION HITS. Could something similar be in the offing for Wizkid? Possibly.