He may not have won any awards at the 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards but Nigerian singer Wizkid is having a great year. First, a collaboration with US R&B artist Chris Brown is said to be in the works. Then there was some speculation about a song with rapper Drake.
In the case of the former, photos of Chris Brown and Wizkid hanging out made the online rounds. For the latter, Instagram watchers spotted a line from Wizkid’s hit ‘Ojuelegba’ taken from his sophomore record Joy on Drake’s account. That, too, became widely shared. Then came the remix: Wizkid, Drake and UK-Nigerian artist Skepta on ‘Ojuelegba’ remix. The Drake/Skepta remix followed Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie’s remix to the song.
Since then ‘Ojuelegba’ has received several notices, with the Guardian UK publishing a piece on African pop music, Skepta’s lyrics for the song receiving attention. ‘For fans of Afrobeats, grime and hip-hop,’ said the Guardian, ‘the surprise release of a remix to Wizkid’s Ojuelegba featuring Skepta and Drake was the stuff of musical fan fiction.’
Pitchfork, the respected music website based in the US, has now featured the song as well, reviewing it positively.
‘It helps that the song is bubbling enough to be a summer sleeper hit,’ Pitchfork reviewer Anupa Mistry writes. ‘A rose-tinted Afropop gospel, sung in both English and Yoruba, about life in a hard-working Lagos neighborhood with a joyous hook fit for two-stepping in the club.’
As with the Guardian UK, Pitchfork notes the potency of Skepta’s verse on the song: ’…it’s Skepta who gives the transcontinental moment some gravity, mirroring Wizkid’s hood politics theme from a diasporic perspective.’
It may be safe to say that while Wizkid may not hold a plaque for the song, he has put his childhood neighbourhood on the map. And that should count for something.
Read Music in Africa’s review of the song here.
Listen to ‘Ojuelegba’ (remix) below.