In the last quarter of 2017, Lynx Entertainment-recording artistes, Kidi and Kuami Eugene became established stars with chart-topping singles, but the fame and popularity came with some backlash as critics castigated the duo for sounding Nigerian – with regards to the adoption of the Nigerian pidgin, accent and style of music.
Predictably, Richie Mensah, the head honcho at Lynx Entertainment dismissed such criticism: “I disagree to those who say they sound Nigerian because the style they’ve been doing is a combination of Highlife and Afro pop – that’s the trending Afrobeat so it’s really a Ghanaian thing,” he told Kwame Dadzie on Celebrity Radar on Citi 97.3 FM.
The Headies, the biggest music awards show in Nigeria and one of the highly patronised in Africa is out with its nominations and predictably, especially for the critics of KiDi and Kuami Eugene, the organisers nominated KiDi for one of the highly-contested categories, Rookie of the Year.
Being an all-Nigerian scheme, it was bizzare that KiDi was nominated but according to the organisers – they had the inclination that the Odo hitmaker is a Nigerian.
Oops! His nomination has since been revoked after the organisers realised the anomaly.
“They told us that they made a mistake because Odo had hit so much in Nigeria that when they were putting together the songs, they assumed KiDi was a Nigerian,” Richie Mensah explained to Naa Ashorkor on Showbiz A-Z on Joy FM.
In his explanation, Richie said the organisers’ blunder with KiDi’s nomination is an attestation of the fact that his song was big in Nigeria.
He also stated that the popularity of the song can be attributed to the remix which featured Nigerian music stars, Davido and Mayorkun.
He explained further that the remix, which became a hit in Nigeria, also pushed music lovers to check out the original song – increasing the level of fixation on that first make.
The music video to the remix, released on December 13, 2017 had accumulated 2,781,522 views on YouTube at the time of going to press and the original song, released six months earlier, July 27, 2017 – has amassed 3,533,231 views.
A Flippant Excuse
The Headies have been organised since 2006 and the organisers display quite a high level of competence to the categorisation, nomination and selection of nominees and award winners, so, for them to miss the nationality of KiDi poses a serious problem.
The excuse by Richie that the howler was due to KiDi’s song being big in Nigeria is not convincing. Ahomka Wom by VIP is arguably the biggest Ghanaian tune ever to hit Nigeria, yet, VIP, as a music group – has never been tagged Nigerian.
Tic Tac’s Fe Fe Ne Efe was another big track in Nigeria and just like Kidi’s Odo, the song featured the biggest Nigerian act at the time, Tony Tetuila, but Tic Tac was not tagged Nigerian.
You May Kiss The Bride, the banger from Bollie was a big song in Nigeria but the artiste was never referred to as a Nigerian.
Becca, R2Bees, Efya and others, all have hit songs in Nigeria but have not been tagged Nigerians.
The Lynx Problem
Kuami Eugene and KiDi are extremely talented and in Richie and Lynx, they have the best label to steer them to become two of the biggest stars in Ghana and Africa, however, in their respective breakout hits, Angela and Odo – the two sounded Nigerian and that’s a fact!
The use of the popular Nigerian pidgin was heavily felt in Kuami’s Angela’ and for KiDi, the pronunciation of the ‘Thaar-ty’ billion in the Odo song was all it had to take.
If Richie asserts that these two did not sound Nigerian in those hit songs, then he is clearly jaded -but unfortunately for him, Ghanaian music lovers and critics are discerning too and they definitely know how a Ghanaian sounds on a song and how a Nigerian also sounds.
Yes, the guys at the Headies could have done better with a proper check on who KiDi really is but not too much blame should be directed at them; that ‘Thaar-ty’ billion phrase was the biggest catch on the song and especially when Nigerian artists are now speaking Twi in their songs, it is pardonable to have any Nigerian presenter, DJ, event promoter and awards organiser in Nigeria branding KiDi as Nigerian.
Whose Fault Is It?
The strategy to allow his (Richie’s) artistes to sound Nigerian on their songs is quite understandable.
At a time when Ghanaians have grown attached to Nigerian songs and artistes, to the detriment of Ghanaians, it is only right for any Ghanaian record label, production house or artiste to try to act or sound like a Wizkid, Tekno, Davido, Korede Bello, Yemi Alade or Kiss Daniel to get some of the attention.
Kuami Eugene and KiDi produced songs before their breakout joints, which were not very big tracks but when they decided to sound like Nigerians, the rest is history!
The reference of KiDi as a Nigerian by a Nigerian award organiser is also due to the refusal or inability of Lynx Entertainment to project the narrative that KiDi is a Ghanaian artiste.
With the soaring popularity of Odo and KiDi in Nigeria, it was expected that the label would link up with industry folks in Nigeria to arrange radio/TV interviews, events and hang-outs in Nigeria to project and cement the narrative of where he’s from.
Lastly, with the notion of wanting to appeal to music lovers outside Ghana, Ghanaian labels and artistes blatantly refuse to show with their videos that they are indeed, Ghanaians!