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The Politics of the Nigerian Music Industry

Dissecting the tension between the older "gatekeepers" and newer artists in the Nigeria.

"It feels like I am working, but I can't enter the inner cycle of the music industry," says Dimeji (not his real name). He is a 27-year-old singer based in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital and music hub, where thousands of musicians hustle daily in the search for opportunities for their careers.

"Everyone needs to know someone to get a leg in, and the industry is all about relationships. I'm tired men," he despondently declares as we sit in a roadside restaurant in Victoria Island. Victor isn't the only hopeful artist with that feeling. There is an unspoken consensus about the Nigerian music industry that the scene is ruled by a political circle of powerful people, who control key affairs and opportunities within the space. They are regarded as both gatekeepers and chess masters, dictating the pace of movement, who rises and falls, who is blacklisted, and who receives a fair share of favours, deals and endorsements.

On Saturday, May 5, 2018, the country's most prestigious music award ceremony—The Headies—was held, in Lagos, with winners in the 25 categories. The aftermath of the awards saw a backlash on social media from viewers and music enthusiasts who believe that the recipients of key awards were undeserving of their trophies, citing industry and tribal politics as the reason why they carried home accolades.

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Photo by Joshua Kissi

Meji Alabi Is the Creative Force Behind Your Favorite Afrobeats Videos

We speak with Nigerian director, Meji Alabi, about the process of creating unforgettable music videos for the likes of Maleek Berry, Tiwa Savage, Runtown and more.

Shot on location at The Shrine, Meji Alabi's video for “Ma Lo" by Tiwa Savage depicts Lagos nightlife as a heady and hedonist bliss featuring large amounts of smoke and drink, scuffling thugs, loving couples, steamy dancing, palm fronds and the tag-team of Savage and Wizkid—a visual feast that improves on an already winning song produced by Spellz. The video went on to shock Nigerians online by amassing 500,000 views in its first day.

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Maleek Berry's Bob Marley Cover on BBC Radio 1Xtra Is Everything

His rendition of "Turn Your Lights Down Low" will smooth out your day.

Maleek Berry's newest cover is surely going to help get you through hump day.

The crooner and producer performed a wavy rendition of Bob Marley's "Turn Your Lights Down Low" on BBC Radio 1Xtra, a solid week after he dropped his highly anticipated EP, First Daze Of Winter.

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