Determination, Destiny, and Persistence Interwoven in an Album
Destiny has a way of locating a man even when in his lowest ebb. In the same regard, the assertion that “first impression is important” is quite true, as Wizkid proved his worth as a musician with this album. His life story and subsequent venture into the world of music were filled with sad tales, ranging from his ghetto upbringing through his different struggles, before his foray into the music industry.
Superstar is the debut/first studio album by Nigerian singer extraordinaire, Wizkid. Released on June 12, 2011, the 17-track album was solely written by the singer with few inputs by notable acts, including Oluwabankole Wellington (Banky W), and Charles Enebeli. The album also featured other artists in the Nigerian music industry, such as Wande Coal, D’Prince, Banky W, and Skales. It’s worth mentioning that the album, “Superstar” was released by Empire Mates Entertainment (EME), a record label owned by Oluwabankole Wellington (Banky W). That informed the prominence of EME acts like Samklef, E-Kelly, Masterkraft, Jay Sleek, DJ Klem, Q-Beats, Vebee, and Shizzi (producers of the album). It also went on to become the second most anticipated album released by a Nigerian artist in 2011. At the time of its release (2011), the album ranked as the second most-selling music album on Nigeria’s foremost multimedia platform, NotJustOk.
As mentioned earlier, Wizkid’s story is that of “grass to grace”, as he was not only determined but also had destiny at his side. The album didn’t come easy, as it took a span of two (2) years (2009-2011) to get the singles together before the subsequent composition into an album. Now that we’ve learned some facts about Wizkid’s debut album, “Superstar”, it would be great to learn about the artist.
Ayodeji Balogun, popularly addressed by his stage name, “Wizkid” is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and producer. He is truly a “Wizkid” as symbolized by his rise to prominence not just in the Nigerian music industry but also in Africa and the world at large. It would be ironical to posit that Wizkid didn’t have a vision, as his album’s title already revealed his state of mind, and the quest he has for success. Starting off as a youngster in the slums of Lagos in the South Western part of Nigeria, Wizkid later went on to become an artist under Banky W’s record label, Empire Mates Entertainment (EME). It’s worth mentioning that the communal/family-like composition of the record label was one of the factors that helped in boosting the success of the young act, Wizkid. Also, for someone “coming from the ghetto”, such an environment was of the utmost importance to help him organize thoughts into actions. The result was what we saw in his first studio album, “Superstar”.
One of the facts that any music lover and fan of the artist wouldn’t forget in a hurry is his ability to adapt to different environments. This was not only made prominent in his working relationships with other artists, but also in his multiple music genres, including R&B, Afrobeat, Reggae, Dancehall, and Afropop. These lay credence to the fact that Wizkid is multi-talented.
A look at the album shows a thought-out set of singles that have distinct messages. Although many people are conversant with his hit single, “Holla at Your Boy”, and can reel off the lyrics without additional effort, there are many other captivating singles in the album that promise to grab your attention. The single, “Wad Up” was a clap-back at people who literally detested him while he was struggling. It simply translates to “what do you think of me now?” He went to describe his struggles and determination to succeed in “No Lele”; and he highlighted people’s addiction to successful people and their quest to identify him using his single, “Call My Name”. The singles, “Holla at Your Boy”, “Love My Baby”, and “Gidi Girl” was about his love life. Without forgetting his helpers and all those that stood for him in trying times, Wizkid composed the single, “Shout Out” as an appreciation of their effort in making him successful.
Following the successful debut of his album, “Superstar”, Wizkid, through that medium, carved a niche for himself in the music industry, as many encomiums were showered on him. In some spheres, analysts compared him to the legendary Nigerian singer, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, whom many believed had another younger version in Wizkid. Although some critics weren’t at home with his inability to bring a female artist into any of the tracks, they didn’t fail to commend his feat of recording 17 songs and converting the same into an album.
Wizkid later went to get endorsements and nominations for musical awards, notable among which are the Best R&B/Pop Album, and the Album of the Year (which he got nominated for in the 2012 edition of The Headies), and the Best Album of the Year in the Nigerian Entertainment Awards of 2012. Indeed, Superstar paved the way for the legendary musical act we now have in Ayodeji Balogun, the once “ghetto boy” that crossed the slums of Ojuelegba, Lagos Nigeria to become a force to reckon with in the global music industry.
Success arrests Attention and Breeds Friendship
WIZKID “SAY MY NAME”
Success is not only measured by efforts but also by the ability to have positive effects on those within you. Before his foray into the Nigerian music industry and indeed the global music scene, Wizkid, just like every other optimistic individual, had a vision of his destination. From his chosen stage name, “Wizkid” to the title of his first single on his debut album, “Say My Name”, it was evident that the artist understood his background and was ready to change his story, courtesy of music.
In this 3 minutes and 56 seconds long track produced by E-Kelly, Wizkid highlighted the importance attached to him after he found fame. According to him, “see everywhere I go and everywhere I will be, from Lasgidi to Overseas, everybody call my name”. In essence, he has surpassed his immediate background as a “ghetto boy” to become an acclaimed musician with his name written on marbles. Call My Name, which is the first track in this 17-track album, primarily focused on Wizkid’s massive acceptance after he became a figure in the global music industry.
Although the track focused on his massive acceptance, the track also holds the same for other individuals out there who tend to come into a fortune. As the cliché “success has many friends” signifies, many people would be willing to identify with you after your breakthrough but would give a blind eye to your plights in trying times.
The Bad and Good Sides of a Coin
WIZKID “TEASE ME/BAD GUYS”
It would be recalled that before his venture into the music industry, Wizkid was living and eking out a living in the slums of Ojuelegba, Lagos State, Nigeria. Hence, it wouldn’t come as a surprise that he has some “gray sides” as an individual. As is common with people resident in such areas, he tends to pick up some habits, which would in the fullness of time, be dropped. Following his integration into the Empire Mates Entertainment (EME) family/record label, Wizkid went on to forge synergy with other artists, such as Ice Prince, Skales, and D’Prince. These acts and many others were acknowledged in his single, “Tease Me/Bad Guy’. While he urged the imaginary woman to “tease him”, he also pointed out his familiarity with some “bad guys”. Thus, this single is a mixture of the good and bad, which helped the young act, Wizkid to become prominent later.
The Friendly Sides of a Music Star
WIZKID “HOLLA AT YOUR BOY”
When regarding the songs that led to the rise of this young artist, one of the tracks that would readily register in the minds of people is “Holla at Your Boy”. This is yet another version of Wizkid’s friendly side. While centering the theme of the track on his affections for a girl (who later turned out to be his classmate as highlighted by the visuals), Wizkid didn’t fail to admonish her to literally bring him back to his senses when he derails. He sang, “If you see me get bad, holla at your boy”. Holla at Your Boy remains one of Wizkid’s singles from the debut album, “Superstar”, which literally shot him to the moon.
Your Helpers deserve some Accolades
WIZKID “SHOUT OUT”
Wizkid depicted humility by recognizing the sacrifices and inputs made by different individuals at specific points in his life and that of his career. Top on the list is Oluwabankole Wellington (Banky W), who did not only sign him into his record label, Empire Mates Entertainment (EME) but also offered professional advice.
In recognition of these helpful gestures by Banky W and other notable artists, Wizkid dedicated 2 minutes and 54 seconds of his 16th track, “Shout Out” to his helpers. Indeed, it pays to help someone in need, and it is noble to appreciate such gestures when they come your way. Wizkid did just that with “Shout Out”.
The entirety of Wizkid’s debut album, “Superstar” centered on his struggles, starting from his attire of “one shirt and one shoe” to his rise to stardom. As signified by his narratives, the quest for survival solely depends on your struggles, with inputs from destiny. This album and its contents are symbolic because they are quite persuasive to spur you into action. The journey to becoming a Superstar is not rosy, as the road is filled with bumps. With determination, knowledge of your background, and of course, God’s intervention, there would be no end to the height you would attain. These formed part of the basis of Wizkid’s success story as highlighted in “Superstar”, and are still prominent until this day.
#Hollat at Your Boy