The Nigerian entertainment scene is a battleground, and for a country that has talent in a limitless fold, the competition that breeds within the music sub-sector is more than enough motivation to catapult one to stardom.
To some extent, the survival of many artistes in the Nigerian music industry has been backed up by competition, which fuels re-invention and consistency.
The Nigerian music culture is fluid even to the extent that if one cannot hold his own, they get carried along with the tides of the endless cycle of struggles for relevance.
For the few who have been enshrined in the books of legends, they had the advantage of a less complex system and a special reception of their craft.
It has often been said that the lifespan of a Nigerian artiste is well within the range of 2-4 years, given the consistency and level of work they put into honing their talents and moving with the times.
For others, it can last as much as the quality of their music can carry them. The craft is the antidote to obscurity.
Now, time and time again, music analysts, enthusiasts and the general audience both online and offline, at some point have had to argue their way through conversations like who is the most talented or most successful artiste/talent in the industry.
From artistic comparisons to material and financial net worth, the validation for who reigns supreme blooms large.
Depending on what day it is and the agenda being driven, the crowd is influenced by different sentimental values while the artistes, on the other hand, secretly sniff for importance and position.
A few days ago, Davido set himself up for a social media whirlwind when he named himself and Wizkid “the two greatest of all time” causing major havoc on Twitter and Instagram.
While it brought smiles and a series of embracing from Davido and Wizkid’s camps and fanbase, some others felt displeased about the public revelation.
Apparently Burna Boy who paraded himself for the better part of last year as the ‘African Giant’ took a fatal hit and went on a defense spree.
His subliminal response to Davido reads in part:
“everybody knows you cannot play football, but your daddy bought the football team”.
Unarguably both Burna Boy and Davido have done incredibly well for themselves, rendering hit after hit, year after year, and the currency/relevance of the music has earned them awards, endorsements and a discography that speaks volumes artistically.
The question now is who deserves to be called Odogwu?
For more context, Odogwu is an Igbo word that describes a champion and conqueror.
Burna Boy recently released a track titled “Odogwu” which also points back to his African Giant claim.
Davido, on his part, has also earned his success and name by dint of hard work just like Burna Boy.
In terms of the music craft, global reach, market penetration, awards, and endorsement, both artistes have grounds for a spin-off.
This is not another article that has its focus on comparing and contrasting, No. Art should be appreciated in all the forms that it is presented, the same goes to the creator.
Whether we like to admit it or not, our reality is that the conversations that seek to drive friction between artistes will occur, but it is up to the parties involved to rise above the antics and move on to partnerships and collaborations. Call it a neutral stand, but it is what it is.
Who deserves to be called Odogwu?
For this writer, it would amount to being objective. We didn’t just get here, Davido and Burnaboy did not make it this far just by their doing.
So the answer suffices that every artiste/talent that has contributed and is actively contributing to the Afrobeats scene is an ‘Odogwu’
The vanguards, the torchbearers, the producers, the songwriters, the sound engineers, the mixers, and all the others championing the course of our music and sounds so that they can travel here and beyond are Odogwus in their own rights.