A decade ago, Grammy award-winning Nigerian recording artiste, Ayodeji Balogun released his debut studio album titled, Superstar. It marked the commencement of the Afropop boom in Nigeria and across Africa.
The album title, Superstar was a prophesy, today, Wizkid is a Grammy award winner, one of the bestselling Afrobeats artistes in Africa and the most popular vocalist in the globe.
He has worked with notable musicians across the world such as Drake, Beyonce; Chris Brown; Skepta, Justin Skye, Trey Songz; to name a few.
Indeed, Wizkid is a superstar; his career is the definition of the word.
A young man from the streets of Ojuelegba, Surulere, Lagos state; Wizkid kicked off his career in the early 2000s. He commenced his music career with the pseudonym, Little Prince.
He was described as a studio rat growing up; it was gathered that Wizkid watched veteran artiste, 2 Baba Idibia record his first solo project, Grass 2 Grace in producer, OJB Jezreel’s studio in 2004.
At the time, Wizkid was honing his skill and developing his talent as the next big thing to emerge from Nigeria, Africa.
In 2008, several months after he rounded up his secondary school education, Wizkid began to work with the rapper, MI Abaga.
At the time, the youngster yet an unsigned artiste fascinated numerous several record labels because of his undiluted talent; passion, and youthfulness.
He featured on M.I Abaga’s single, ‘Fast money & fast cars’ in 2008, then an unknown artiste; his carriage and charisma on the song enthralled listeners who urged to know more about the emerging talent.
It wasn’t until 2009 that Wizkid signed with Banky W’s record label, Empire Mates Entertainment, (EME) Records.
It was the commencement of the greater things to come.
The moment after signing with Banky’s label served as the gradual unraveling of the then 20-year-old.
Wizkid didn’t immediately release a single, he was mentored and nurtured by Banky W.
He made a guest appearance in Banky W’s late 2009 smash hit, ‘Lagos Party. Wizkid also co-wrote the single, “Omoge you too much” off Banky’s album, The W Experience.
Wizkid also worked with Naeto C, Ikechukwu and MI Abaga.
As s Wizkid’s fame continue to grow, he dropped out of Lagos state University (LASU) in 2009.
In February 2010, Wizkid’s first official single, ‘Holla at your boy’ debuted.
There was no turning back from here; Wizkid’s prominence could only grow as the single topped charts for several years and it certainly enthralled a younger generation that has grown to be know as WIZKID FC today.
The follow-up single to the single, ‘Holla at your boy’ further catapulted Wizkid into the hearts of Nigerian music lovers. The singles, ‘Tease Me’, ‘Pakurumo’ and ‘Don’t dull’.
The album incorporates elements of Afrobeats, R&B, dancehall and reggae.
While working on Superstar, Wizkid collaborated with record producers such as E-Kelly, Jay Sleek, Shizzi, DJ Klem, Masterkraft, Q-Beats and Samklef. The album features guest appearances from Banky W, Skales, D’Prince and Wande coal.
It was initially scheduled for release on 14th February 2011 but was later pushed back. On 12th June 2011, it was finally released.
The legacy of Superstar
There is no doubt Superstar solidified Wizkid as a household name across Africa. Today, he is one of the biggest artistes from this part of the world.
At the 2011 Headies Award, Wizkid was voted the Next Rated artiste.
In addition to winning the award, he was awarded a 2012 Hyundai Sonata courtesy of the organizers.
The music video, ‘Holla at your boy’ was also nominated for Most Gifted Newcomer Video at the 2011 Channel O Music Video Awards.
Superstar garnered Best Album of the Year at the 2012 Nigeria Entertainment Awards and was nominated for Album of the year at the Headies 2012.
Wizkid’s fanbase dubbed themselves, Wizkid FC. A coterie of people who show love and support for the favourite Afrobeats act.
It is inarguably one of the biggest fanbase in Nigeria and across Africa.
The fanbase is believed to have developed in the early 2010s following the release of Wizkid’s ‘Holla at your Boy’. The slang, fashion style and mannerism resonated with the young populace at the time. Wizkid who was 20-21 at the time enthralled the young fanbase who were just being introduced to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
Also, it was a period were most youths and even Nigerians no longer had to await radio stations to enjoy music. The use of Symbian phones, BlackBerry phones, Java phones and the relatively unknown Android phone at the time helped in the combustion of Wizkid’s popularity.
A decade later, the teenagers of the late 2000s and early 2010s are in their mid-20s-early 30s, hence, Wizkid’s role as the voice of a generation can never be argued.
Other artistes such as Davido, Rema, Fireboy have spoken greatly about how they were influenced by the self-acclaimed Star Boy.
Of course, Superstar is certified Gold due to the influence it has on the Nigerian and African populace. Though, some listeners argue that it is not Wizkid’s best album, it remains the one that introduced who Big Wiz is to the world.
It defined a man; then it became the hymn book of a generation and the masterpiece that defined the Afro-pop genre.
Today, Superstar is a decade old and both the artiste and his work have attained legendary status in the entertainment sphere.