DIASPORA—We’ve seen it happen too many times.
The D’banj’s of this world dip their toes into the major markets of America and Europe but in the end, and despite the high-level co-signs, they fall short.
Whether these stars should even be looking to cross over or build their African fanbase on the continent, is a whole other question.
But there’s no denying that once these musicians reach the top tiers at home and in their region, the large majority look towards the West for their next move.
Wizkid, the biggest artist coming out of Africa right now, is the latest to be knocking at the doors of global pop stardom—and we’re all rooting for Starboy.
His brand new album, Sounds From The Other Side, is his biggest cross over move so far, boasting big time collaborations with Drake, Ty Dolla $ign, Trey Songz, Major Lazer, and Chris Brown. You can hear it now on Spotify, Apple Music, and on Wizkid’s VEVO channel, as well as purchase it on iTunes.
However, in a fair world, with all his hit singles, collaborations, and endorsements, shouldn’t have Wizkid made it in US and UK markets by now?
We all know the world isn’t fair, so here’s 7 times Wizkid should’ve already crossed over.
He already released a tour de force
Wizkid’s sophomore album, Ayo, is triumphant. The 2014 record was lead by singles like “Jaiye Jaiye” alongside Femi Kuti, “Show You The Money,” and “In My Bed.”
More so, the album featured “Ojuelegba,” the track that Drake and Skepta would famously jump on in 2015, almost a year after its initial release, to further launch the Starboy craze—but more on that later.
When it came out, Ayo already boasted international collaborations with Akon, Tyga and Wale. It also included the massive bonus track “Caro,” featuring L.A.X. How did this album not blow Wizzy up more in the international scene?
“Pakurumo” was ahead of its time
If “Pakurumo” was released properly across U.S. radio these days, it would stick the same way Ayo Jay‘s “Your Number” did last summer.
The addictive 2011 single, produced by Samklef, offers up a highly-original take on the syncopated afrobeats-dancehall-reggaeton fusion that’s become the backbone of so many pop songs nowadays.
“Pakurumo” was ahead of its time and still bangs in 2017. Revisit it above (the track starts at the 3 minute mark).
He’s won all the awards
The global music world should’ve really noticed a young artist taking home trophies at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards, The Headies, Ghana Music Awards, Channel O Music Video Awards and, even, winning ‘Best International Act Africa’ at the BET Awards back in 2012, much earlier than it did—an award which he won again this year.
The Drake connection/misconnection
As we all know, since the “Ojuelegba” remix, Drake kept a close eye on Wizkid, which lead to the global dancehall-meets-afrobeats phenomenon of “One Dance.”
Despite going number one in over 15 countries and cementing Wizkid as the first Nigerian artist to top the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, the song still hasn’t made the Starboy a pop name in the U.S. and U.K.
Many blame Drake for this, as he took Wizkid’s writing and production work but failed to prominently feature his vocals in the chorus of the hit song.
He’s collaborated with top acts like Vybz Kartel and more
Aside from Drake, Wizkid’s had a long string of top shelf collaborations that should’ve pushed his name further by now, to name a few:
- with Vybz Kartel on “Wine to the Top”
- with Tinie Tempah on “Mamacita”
- with Drake and Skepta on the previously mentioned “Ojuelegba” remix
- and, unfortunately, also with Chris Brown and R. Kelly on separate tracks
On top of that, he also routinely gets love on social media from stateside stars like Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz.
He had a sold out Brooklyn stadium singing his songs
The man headlined a sold out show in the heart of Brooklyn, at the One Africa Music Fest, and had the entire stadium singing along to every song.
He’s “Come Closer” to global stardom than ever
Despite all that, we have faith that Wizkid’s new album Sounds From The Other Side, out now on RCA Records/Sony, will finally break him through.