By Abioye Damilare
The past six years have been quite phenomenal for the Nigerian music industry, specifically with the crossover of Afrobeats into the global music scene. Amongst other perks, this has provided a great platform for so many emerging African creatives ranging from songwriters, producers, managers, influencers, A&R, and creative directors.
With the advent of technology and integration of social media engagement – like TikTok and Thriller – the music industry has evolved to the point where it’s hard to predict a hit song. You can create a song, and make it a hit the next day. In 2020, when the whole world was on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and all we had was the Internet to communicate, everyone caught up fully, and skit makers/stand-up comedians decided to also tap into the goldmine that is Afrobeats, by creating music. They are blurring the lines between comedy and music.
We have had, and still have, the trend of Nigerian musicians making guest appearances in Nollywood movies, while some, on the other hand, have made the transition from being mere cameos to building their brands as professional actors/actresses. Worthy of mention is Folarin Falana, popularly known as Falz. While some comedians are talented musicians, working tirelessly to sharpen their art, keeping their talent sharp and fresh, some comedians collaborate with upcoming artistes to create music and build a strong musical base.
As the rate of comedians/skit makers-turned-Afrobeats-artists increases daily, here is a list, in no particular order, of those who have ventured into music, regardless of their success or lack of it.
Otolorin Kehinde is one of the top-rated standup comedians in Nigeria. His stage name, Kenny Blaq needs no introduction. He has proven over the years to deserve every flower and accolade he gets. Blaq’s comedy thrives mostly on his facility with sweet vocals to sing and also make people laugh. Kenny Blaq doesn’t do too much to make his fans laugh; it’s just him and his mic. He has been seen, most times, mimicking popular artists like Davido, Wizkid, and Olamide, amongst others.
Last year the music-comedian released a song titled, “Je Breakfast,” where he sampled Burna Boy’s lyrics along the lines of “e don cast, na everybody go chop breakfast.” The post-heartbreak Yoruba song pays homage to Apala, a popular percussion-based style of music that originated in the late 1930s with Haruna Ishola Bello, Yusuf Olatunji, and Ayinla Omowura.
Anyone who has listened to the song, and other songs, released by the comedian, will surely attest to Kenny Blaq’s versatility.
“Fresh and clean me looking, say you know the vibe, man no send nobody, I dey live my life,’’ was one of the most sung lyrics of 2022. Since Wizkid got the ‘Machala’ tag, Oderhohwo Joseph Efe, popularly known as Carter Efe, has been idolising the name. His obsession with the top Afrobeats act led him to create a song with Berry Tiga. Carter Efe, the man behind the hit song, was quickly transitioning from Instagram skit maker to artiste of the moment.
Building on the success of “Machala,” and the online clash with Berri Tiga over song rights, Carter released another song that he titled “Ololade Mi Carter,” a track that rides on Asake’s style of music. Efe further cemented it with “Ikebe Super,” where he featured Ceeza Milli.
Lawal Michael Nasiru Bolaji is renowned for his artistic flair and uncanny ability to make people laugh. But Nasboi isn’t your regular skit maker. He’s one of the most popular ones who have amassed over one million followers on their Instagram pages.
After he graduated from the University of Uyo in Akwa Ibom State as an engineer, Nasboi tried music. He moved to Lagos to chase his music career and got signed with Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde as an artist. Comedy came his way and put him in the spotlight. But for someone who has a strong penchant for creating music, he went back to explore his first love, which gave birth to the love song titled “Lover Boy.” With this romantic song, laced with infectious melodies and smooth, catchy lyrics, we can all agree that Nasboi is one to look out for in the times to come.
The name Josh Alfred doesn’t sound familiar, but the brand name, Josh2funny, or his hilarious demeanour would have flashed on your social media app once, twice or more is. The Instagram skit maker hit gold after his “All my guys are ballers” skit went viral, and when his “Don’t leave me” challenge travelled beyond the shores of Nigeria and trended worldwide on TikTok and other social media channels.
Josh2funny capitalised on this trend to release a humorous track titled “Don’t leave me” which featured more hilarious puns over groovy Afropop drums. The skit maker didn’t stop there, he released tracks upon tracks, and then an album project he titled Kingdom Boy. He also has different covers of popular songs like “Ozumba Obadiwe,” “Stand Strong,” “Under the Influence” to mention but a few. With this, we are sure that music is Josh, and comedy is the fun that makes up the name, “Josh2funny.”
Emmanuel “EmmaOMG” Edunjobi is who you can refer to as the embodiment of talents and versatility. On some days, he’s a comedian; other days, he’s putting up his acting skills on display. On most days, he’s a musician, recreating songs in a band-like manner. In one of his interviews with Punch Newspaper, he said, “Honestly, I don’t even know if I am in the (comedy) industry. When I was in school, I used to do stand-up comedy and I also played musical instruments.”
He’s the brain behind “Faaji Friday,” an evening event of unwinding with family and friends to serenading sounds, laughter, songs of praise, and party vibes with his band. His flair for music has earned him well-deserved recognition in the industry as a sound connoisseur, an entertainer, and a live band musician with several songs — mostly Gospel — and albums to his credit.
Abioye Damilare is a creative writer, a storytelling geek who’s focused on telling resplendent stories about the African entertainment industry and pop culture. He’s a big fan of Burna Boy and Fireboy.