Wizkid, HMV Hammersmith Apollo
Long gone are the days when you would hear only one or two Afrobeats tracks in a club, and the rest would be bashment; now acts such as D’Banj are signed to major labels, with industry heavyweights championing them. But it’s all hard to believe that a music scene that has been vibrant and hard at work for many years has burst just into the mainstream. It's thanks to DJs like Westwood, Abrantee, Neptizzle and Edu that Afrobeats has risen so much within the past year.
This Jubliee weekend saw Nigerian pop prince Wizkid take the stage for a one-off show in London. It was great to see the British African community come together to not only support and champion a great artist but to help celebrate his achievements.
Eddie Kadi was our host for the evening; as always he kept us on the edge of our seats. Eddie kept us entertained with personal stories and commentary between the DJ and Azonto battles that took place. The highlight of the evening was when Nigerian comedian Funke Akindele a.k.a. Jennifer joined Eddie on stage; the pair kept the excitement going until the main show started.
Wizkid burst onto the stage to a roaring crowd, blasting in out of the venue's speakers to ‘What U Wanna Do’. Right from the beginning, the standard of his show was set very high and continued through to the end. Wizkid performed his smash hits ‘Holla At Your Boy’ and ‘Pakurumo’, plus many more. The audience loved every bit of the show, singing the words to every tune Wizkid performed. On stage, Wizkid was joined by various artists including Skales and Bankey which sent us into an even bigger frenzy. Around six different girls fainted during Wizkid's sensational show. We looked on in amazement as Wizkid jumped and gyrated; he even dived into the crowd, to the dismay of the security guards. His diehard fans would not let him go once they got a hold of him - watching security get caught up in the rush was funny.
Two huge spectacles took place during the show. The first was the announcement made by Akon via a pre-recorded video, initiating Wizkid into the Konvict music family - putting the 22-year-old singer on the same path of mainstream success as G.O.O.D. music’s (Kanye West’s record label) D’Banj. Secondly, Kanya King (MOBO Award CEO & Founder) presented Wizkid with his Best African Act Award, giving him the seal of approval sought by many. The evening was a huge positive sign of where we are now as African music. It was great to see Wizkid getting the recognition he deserves, and more broadly speaking, to see major labels signing our home grown artists. With Kanye West and Akon on side, it seems that African music has arrived.
Written review for MOBO by Ponciano Junior