Except you are under the rock, you will have heard the news. The two major Nigerian representations at this year's Grammy awards lost nevertheless, one is more louder than the other.
Wizkid's Made in Lagos Deluxe edition lost the Best Global award category to Angélique Kidjo's Mother Nature album. He also lost the Best Global performance category to the Pakistan Arooj Aftab.
As expected, the loss has generated mixed reactions from the fans, music critics, and industry lovers. In 2021, Essence, a standout song off Made in Lagos was unofficially tagged the song of the summer—in retrospect, it was. The album broke into the Billboard Hot 100, soundtrack a lot of parties, and was on the list of major music magazines' end-of-the-year songs list.
Grammy award voting members know better as they have settled for Angélique Kidjo's climate change pivoted album “Mother Nature”. The deed has been done, where does Wizkid go from here, what does he need to do if he wants to cart home the plaque?
Bar the creation of the Afrobeats category.
Some ‘Over Sabi’ fans said Wizkid doesn't need a Grammy or any awards. Artists want awards, they crave for it, it has always been a form of validation for them. They bask in the euphoria of their victory. The Grammy is the biggest award in the world. Wizkid needs it, if the feelers from his camp should be taken into consideration, they all anticipated his victory.
With months or weeks to the release of “More Love, Less Ego ”, Wizkid and his management need to go back to the drawing board. There has to be a narrathatwhthatrives the album. In 2020, when Burna Boy lost the Grammy to
Angélique Kidjo, he went back to the drawing board to draft an Afrocentric conscious album; met with the woman who helped him in crafting an album. Burna Boy co-opted Grammy winner and music mogul P. Diddy as executive producer. The narrative being peddled by his publicists was very simple; here is a very conscious man, his grandfather managed Fela, he is set to bring Africans/African American Americans back consciousness, his music also walked the talk. He was that conscious.
The voting members of the Best Global category are still not aware of modern African music works, they still believe the continent lives on one dollar per day—still on point, they are ravaged by poverty, war, corruption, and famine. These are some of Africa's country realities. They don't believe in the posh cars, women, etc. While Burna Boy gives a small amount of this trope on Twice As Tall, he was more focused on issues Africans battle with.
2022 is another chance for Wizkid to go for the Grammy, the lapses of 2020/2021 must be avoided. His sparse interview should be brushed up. It should be more deliberate and more narrative-driven and please, he should get a songwriter and expand his themes.
Grammy has always been political, Burna Boy understood this, I think with the right tweak, reorientation, Wizkid might one day bring home the award.
Emmanuel Daraloye is a music critic.