Naija Does It Again

In yesterday’s special “Africa issue” of Canada’s Globe and Mail, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote this on contemporary Nigerian music: “The music is cross-cultural, polyglot, derivative, but is also, at its core, very nationalist. It is music whose centre is its Nigerian-ness.”

A perfect example is this song, the Naija remix of K’Naan’s 2010 World Cup song, by Banky W and MI. I’ll take this over any of the official anthems I’ve heard so far.




  1. Banky W has a history of sampling or remixing (or rather what I call, downright copying) of other songs. This is no different. To me, he does not exemplify the best that modern Nigerian pop has to offer. But rather his style is a vestige of times which we would prefer to forget, times in which the mindless ape'ing of Western music was commonplace.
    I have much respect for freshness of K'Naan lyrical style and beats. Recently attended a music concert that featured him alongside Wale. While Wale was the same ol' same ol', K'Naan had an entire crowd of non-Somalis singing is his native language. Now that is a worthy feat.

  2. thanks for the comments all!

    @Sokari: LOL about the title. part of me thinks k'naan wrote that song knowing exactly where it would end up.

    @Nneoma: i actually also went to a recent k'naan/wale and was frankly unimpressed. i've been a fan of k'naan's since dusty foot philosopher and now i wish i would have seen him live then. props to him for blowing up but still… i thought tabi bonney, who opened the show, was so much better. he definitely had the crowd more hype, at least in DC.

  3. @Nneoma: On the first part of your comment.

    This is where I think Rokia Traore's comment about "authentic" media is useful:

    At least it is not what Hugh Masekela suggested on UK TV last week about electronic music in SA. I.e. whatever you think of the nonsense lyrics, at least he added something to the original (See my earlier post)

  4. @Sean, if you are referring to my comments about Banky W, I don't think the Traore comment applies. Banky W and other like him (such as P-Square, back in the day (check… had a habit of lifting hits produced elsewhere and simply changing the words for a Nigerian audience (Check semblance of "Ebute Metta to Rihanna's "Umbrella"). This is not a matter of adding something to the original…it is out and out musical plagiarism. It is inauthentic by any measure and simply, not cool. Traore was referring to infusing the modern into the "traditional" which I guess is what is going on in Nigerian hip hop circles to some extent and K'Naan…I personally think that is fantastic and worthy of praise. As for Wale, he is a DC rapper, first and foremost…I'm just not personally into DC rap.

  5. I've been trying to find the utterly brilliant lingala version since hearing it on the radio yesterday. Anyone have it? Can someone post the link here?

  6. @johan: this is the first i've heard of a lingala version! i would LOVE to hear it though. will search for it. are you based in the congo?

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