Who paved the way: Julius Berger vs Burna?

The African Giant album musician has been in the news recently for a reason that other artists have always been in the news for; controversy. The self-acclaimed African Giant took to twitter to state that no one paved the way for him in the music industry and he was the best thing since (no, not slice bread) Fela.
This is a list of artists who have come before Burna Boy and can be said to have paved the way for him in the last two decades.


The living legend himself, popularly respected by fans and artists alike as one of the pioneers of Nigerian hip hop as we enjoy it today. Even Dbanj who is often regarded as one of the best entertainers to come out of Nigeria was quoted by M.I as saying to him at the beginning of his career that 2face has paved the way for them all. 2face was not the only musician in his time that remained at the top of his game for a long time due to his consistency. Even two decades after he began, he still drops at least one hit every now and then and remains very relevant in the game.


The Kokomaster, Bangalee or Ejanla as he is referred to in the entertainment space is often credited for making Nigerian music international. Dbanj had what is arguably the first contact (not with the white men or missionaries) with a foreign artist/record label. His song Oliver twist had Kanye West, a world-renowned artist in its music video. Nigerians have always listened and vibed to foreign music but this was the first time they came closer (disclaimer, no Drake involved). It was a victory and pride for the Nigerian music industry.


This is where it gets really interesting. Wizkid is arguably the first of many things in the Nigerian music Industry. He was already seen hanging out with American superstar Chrisbrown as far back as 2013 and rumor had it they had made music together, music that would later be put out in 2017. He had a remix to one of his most famous songs ‘Ojuelegba’ done with drake. Asides being the first Nigerian artist to have sold out world-famous venues like the Royal Albert Hall and the 02 arena to name a few. His songs with different foreign artists have topped the chart in those different countries that include the USA, France, and the UK to name a few. He is also the first to sign with major international brands like Pepsi.


Omo baba olowo(OBO) as he referred to himself since entering the Nigerian music space. He is mostly regarded for his hard work. He is known for his wealth and large spending. He also since coming on to the music scene has been first Nigerian artists to perform in certain parts of the world. Asides selling out famous halls, he has also recorded songs with top artists across the world including Migos and Chris Brown.


The last on the list of artists that paved way in the Nigerian music industry would be the self-acclaimed African Giant himself with afro-beats and lyrics as near to Fela (some are actually sampled from Fela). Despite being the subject of one too many controversies and being regarded as underrated for years, his hard work finally paid off in 2018 when the song YE out of an album he had released that same year made it into the international space. The rest they say is history.

Although Burna Boy rightly claims that everyone in the industry is only working to advance their own career, deliberately or not they have taken Nigerian Music out to the world and have had significant effects on the worldwide acceptability of our sounds.

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Written by Jessica Oguh


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