We don’t have summer in Nigeria. The increased use of summer as a modern day reference based on weather conditions from the other side of the world is pretty ludicrous. Funny how we’re always in the thick of the rainy season when it’s ‘summer’, no? But somehow it has stuck and it didn’t start recently. Remember those holiday lessons during the long break back in secondary school, those were tagged summer lessons.
Since summer has been officially adopted, it makes sense that summer songs by Nigerian artists are becoming a thing. One of such is ‘Summer Body‘ by Olamide, which it features Davido. The right adjective to describe this song – horrible. The motive of this song is clear; portraying raunchy lustful thoughts towards ladies with the ideal summer bodies – whatever that is. Instead, from the overall song structure, you can definitely feel its anorexic construction.
Olamide is a studio
rat lion, he lives to create music. It’s admirable that he’s always had the fire he started out with, and his huge success is a testament to his herculean work ethic. In a slippery slope career path where artists aren’t assured continual success, Olamide’s position as a tour de force in the Nigerian music industry has not waned since his emergence at the beginning of the decade.
6 studio albums in 7 years is the count on his discography. Numbers that are beyond impressive when you consider that each album went to experience massive commercial success. Each album has a runtime of over an hour, something that’s possible only when you either don’t leave any song(s) on the cutting floor or when all you do is keep creating. There is quality in Olamide’s lengthy album roll call, but it is clear that Olamide favors quantity over quality.
Olamide is one of the most marketable artists in Nigeria, he knows this and he always bets on himself. He’s yet to lose because he knows how much attention he garners from releasing a song or an album. Olamide captures attention on a large scale because his propensity for creating hit singles is uncanny. Since his emergence, there has been at least one hit song by Olamide every year. His insatiable quest for hit songs is like a leprechaun looking for gold. Until recently, it seemed like Olamide had the mechanics of making hit singles down to a science. But the quality of his recent releases have been spotty and his hit making prowess seems to be tanking.
Olamide’s arsenal isn’t very expansive but he’s mined every inch of it, twisting and turning to keep from being obsolete. He’s done that amazingly well but from his recent singles, you can’t help but feel that he might be running out of tricks. His biggest hit songs of 2016 were ‘Who You Epp‘ and ‘Konkobility’, both of which are very unlistenable after about a year of their release. I will definitely hoot and probably yell when ‘Bobo‘ (2015) or ‘Durosoke‘ (2013) comes up on my shuffle or at a party, not so much for those two formerly mentioned songs.
The best thing about Olamide’s track record is how durable majority of his singles are, but the only song with such attribute Olamide came up with last year was ‘Owo Blow‘, which created a mild thud in comparison to the sonic boom his big singles cause. Athough ‘Owo Blow‘ didn’t cause high seismic activity, it is vintage Olamide and one of the best songs in Olamide’s lengthy highlight reel career. The cut landed on Olamide’s last album, The Glory, his best since his sophomore album.
In a sprawling time of just over an hour, The Glory sounds quite compact and more than two-thirds of it is and will remain listenable, which is something that can’t be said for his previous couple of albums. Even though The Glory was released with an anticlimactic rollout at the last minute of the year, it still ended being the highest selling album of 2016. A lot of people pay attention when Olamide releases anything and it shouldn’t change anytime soon.
That grace that comes with such clout might soon wear out though, if Olamide keeps throwing out mediocre singles. In his usual manner, just about 6 months after its release and some run-of-the-mill post-album promotion, Olamide has left The Glory to fend for itself while in search of the next conquest. While Olamide’s quest for the next thing is applaudable, his new set of singles have been anything but applause worthy.
‘Love No Go Die‘, ‘Wavy Level‘ and ‘Summer Body‘ are his three solo singles this year, so far. The latter song has seen some success thanks in part to a Davido feature, but the crowd hasn’t been very kind to the former singles. Considering that Olamide and Davido are two of the biggest artists in the country, ‘Summer Body‘ was always going to be a commercial success. That doesn’t make the song any less horrible, it even puts holes in the question of their chemistry when you realize they’ve gone 2-for-2 in terms of nonsensical summer songs this year. The other is Wale’s very jumbled ‘Fine Girl‘ which features both artists.
Derrick Rose still believes he’s the elite, athletic point guard he was back in his prime, without fully acknowledging the life changing injury that is limiting his quality. Instead of adjusting to the demands of his limitations, Rose is still playing with his trademark vicious style but isn’t exactly helping him come anywhere near the numbers he put up in his prime years. Olamide is heading down the D. Rose lane and artistic burnout is the bane of his career currently.
Looking at the disparity of the sonic textures of his 3 recent singles, it’s safe to say Olamide is shooting in a blind alley just to see what sticks. He’s wiggling into everything that he thinks he can fit into, with the belief that he can turn every song into a hit. Olamide can still drop big singles but not with the same proficiency he’s used to, and that’s not a problem because he’s made enough of those to last a lifetime.
Whether you want to admit it or not, Olamide is a modern day Nigerian music legend. Very few artists have had the type of impact Olamide has had on the music landscape since the turn of the decade. Tagging Olamide with the legend bit doesn’t mean his career is over – far from it, but like the author of Ecclesiastes wrote, “There is time for everything”.
An expansive catalog and a surefire star power means that Olamide could easily continue making money by getting booked and setting up his own concerts and tours, over the next couple of years without the pressure of releasing new songs. There’s no more shock value to his cyclical release schedule, putting out songs that seem destined for the trash can will only increase the number of people with more blank stares.
Being in the spotlight constantly has been a byproduct of Olamide’s big songs. But churning out half ass songs in the bid to remain in that spotlight will only alienate those that are meant to watch you under those bright lights. Any good artist has the unending desire to create music, but those that respect their craft know when to take a step back in order to be at their optimal best. Replacing speed and youthful brawn with smart, well thought out moves will serve Olamide better in the long run.
Even if he’s not releasing music at a feverish pace, there are other ways for Olamide to continue to impact Nigerian music in the long-term. One way is via his fledging imprint, YBNL. After a couple of false starts, the label finally rose beyond being just an Olamide caucus, with the explosion of Lil Kesh unto the scene and shortly afterwards, Adekunle Gold. Both artists have since exited the label on good terms and better standing, testament to Olamide’s star making power when the right talent comes along.
But for successful ventures like Adekunle Gold and Lil Kesh, there’s the unrealized with an artist like Chinko Ekun and others languishing on the sidelines like Davolee and Temi Ovwasa. Temi was unveiled about 2years ago and touted to be YBNL’s first lady, but it’s been mum on her career since then. Davolee snatched a very decent guest feature on The Glory standout and catchphrase hit of early this year, ‘Pepper Dem Gang‘. That feature was supposed to be the launch pad for Davolee’s career, especially when you realize he’s followed up with a very impressive single, ‘Festival Bar‘. But the song hasn’t gained massive traction, it would be a shame if it led to a career in permanent stasis.
Olamide has given us a lot, and the battery in his back doesn’t seem to be exhausted. For an artist of his caliber, he should be able to choose how and when the battery eventually empties not when the public’s ovation wears out. The popular saying is “where there is a will, there is a way”. Sometimes, sheer will doesn’t mean the way is always right, wisdom could also be an apt substitute.
Words by Dennis, aka Dennis Sneh, aka @ayo_dennis.