Music

7 Songs That Prove Wande Coal Has The Best Voice in Nigerian Pop

Is Wande Coal's voice unrivaled in Nigerian pop? Here 7 songs that prove so.

When asked, many will attest to how distinct Wande Coal's voice is and just how pleasing it is. But then what's in a voice? Is it its natural timber that makes it a joy to listen to? Or is it the practised way a singers articulate their vocal folds, or the precise way the lips, pharynx, and tongue are manipulated to produce particular musical notes? Or is it, in fact, the quality of the song carried by said voice?

In an attempt to resolve the matter once and for all, which will doubtless stoke further argument, here are the 7 songs which could prove that Wande Coal just may have the most amazing voice in Nigerian pop.


"Babyface"

The agile rap-singing carries on through the verses and chorus, where he rattles off the refrain "la la la la la la la ladies" with impressive pitch control, up to the 2-minute mark when the singing is effectively over. At this point, a less confident or astute singer will ad lib over the chorus repeatedly till the song fade. Not Coal, who turns the last 40 seconds into its own chamber of melodies—a feat his one time mentor, Don Jazzy, no slouch himself when it comes to melodies, couldn't have matched in his own version of the same song.

"Rotate"

A lesser singer would let the brilliant production win ears, but using remarkable songwriting instincts and tonal agility, Coal straddles Don Jazzy's beastly big body beat with practised ease, the best of a lot that includes "Baby Hello" and "Kpono."

"Ashimapeyin"

Sarz's beat is packed with wild electronic flourishes which many singer-songwriters would struggle to tame nearly as effectively as Coal has done using combative singing and varying florets of melodies. Sarz's jittery beat, as if exhausted, disintegrates in the last quarter of the song. Rather than let the producer's own showboating impress, the ever confident Coal smoothes over the disjoint with sustained notes in an impressive display only equalled by Wizkid's performance on "Samba (Beat of Life)" another stellar production by Sarz.

"Taboo"

Damn near every bar starts or ends with a floral falsetto flourish right up to the last bridge, after which it blooms into a big bouquet of sweet notes that must require high motor control into order to alternate the tension of the vocal folds and nasal passages needed to produce it as effortlessly as Coal seems to have done—a feat he repeats on "Bananas".

"My Woman, My Everything" with Patoranking

Patoranking's ragga-rap is muscular and would easily overshadow a less acrobatic singer than Coal whose own rap-singing, over the thumping beat, matches his cohorts in intensity and vibrance.

"Kpono"

What better contrast to make, once again, than with Wizkid who, like Coal, embodies the best qualities in afropop; winning voice, astute songwriting and the catchiest melodies, though with a more consistent run of success. Both artists keep up the singing pace with Maleek Berry's heaving production but Coal does a better job of varying his singing with that finer timber natural to him, while Wizkid has textured his own singing with well placed ad libs.

"Curriculum Vitae" by Mo Hits All Stars

Curriculum Vitae is the group album by Mo Hits (led by Don Jazzy and D'banj) whose run from 2001 to 2006 ushered Nigerian pop into this new era of continent-wide dominance. While D'banj's showmanship made for a magnetic presence, as did Jazzy's production, the bulk of the singing duties fell to the then 24-year-old Coal who, song after song, brought a clarity of texture throughout the entire project, saving some from mediocrity and making others an enjoyable listening experience.

The big argument here goes thus: if Mo Hits (and Mavins, its later incarnation) is the most successful group in the new era of Nigerian pop (essentially, since Plantashun Boiz), and Coal is its most accomplished singer, wouldn't this make his stature in Nigerian pop unrivaled?





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Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Image

#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

Thousands filled the streets of Nigeria to remember those slain in The #LekkiTollGateMassacre...while the government insists it didn't happen.

This week marks 1 year since Nigerians began protests against police brutality and demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The #EndSARS protests took the world by storm as we witnessed Nigerian forces abuse, harass and murder those fighting for a free nation. Reports of illegal detention, profiling, extortion, and extrajudicial killings followed the special task force's existence, forcing the government to demolish the unit on October 11th, 2020. However, protestors remained angered and desperate to be heard. It wasn't until October 20th, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators at Lekki tollgate in the country's capital, Lagos, that the protests came to a fatal end. More than 56 deaths from across the country were reported, while hundreds more were traumatized as the Nigerian government continued to rule by force. The incident sparked global outrage as the Nigerian army refused to acknowledge or admit to firing shots at unarmed protesters in the dead of night.

It's a year later, and nothing has changed.

Young Nigerians claim to still face unnecessary and violent interactions with the police and none of the demands towards systemic changes have been met. Fisayo Soyombo the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, told Al Jazeera, "Yes, there has not been any reform. Police brutality exists till today," while maintaining that his organization has reported "scores" of cases of police brutality over this past year.

During October 2020's protests, Nigerian authorities turned a blind eye and insisted that the youth-led movement was anti-government and intended to overthrow the administration of current President Muhammadu Buhari. During a press conference on Wednesday, in an attempt to discredit the protests, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed hailed the Nigerian army and police forces for the role they played in the #EndSARS protests, going as far as to say that the Lekki Toll Massacre was a "phantom massacre with no bodies." These brazen claims came while protesters continued to gather in several major cities across the country. The minister even went on to shame CNN, Nigerian favorite DJ Switch as well as Amnesty International, for reporting deaths at Lekki. Mohammed pushed even further by saying, "The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the human rights organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre."

With the reports of abuse still coming out of the West African nation, an end to the struggle is not in sight. During Wednesday's protest, a journalist for the Daily Post was detained by Nigerian forces while covering the demonstrations.

According to the BBC, additional police units have been set up in the place of SARS, though some resurfacing SARS officers and allies claim to still be around.

Young Nigerians relied heavily on social media during the protests and returned this year to voice their opinions around the first anniversary of an experience that few will be lucky enough to forget.



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