Could I help ignoring the fact that my colleague and writer, ‘Tope Delano listed the legendary afro R&B music sensation, 2Baba amongst those other guys that have lost their mojo in music? Hell nah!
And what was even more intriguing to note was the fact that we’re so many who shared conflicting views on the 2Baba subject. I mean, it wasn’t so intriguing at all. Of course, it obviously wouldn’t have gone down well with a lot of us. Thus the reaction it was greeted by, was only appropriate and normal at best. Some of you called it total disrespect but I honestly thought it was a crazy and purely uninformed utterance. That’s why I’ll be speaking the minds of the disagreeing others… as a vocal piece that I is now.
To start with, what’s a music industry without 2face Idibia? Can you picture it? Let alone imagine it? I guess not. Truly, there was a misnomer of a Nigerian music industry before the era of 2face but this guy evolved himself into becoming an ideal standard for the propaganda of music in Nigerian entertainment. He didn’t even stop there, he willed himself and ran tirelessly till he assumed a pivotal position upon which the industry stands today. He hasn’t stopped even, he is still running.
His artistry is so broad, boundary defying and versatile, making him the only and perhaps the first largely successful Nigerian artiste to conquer demographic factions of both the young and old ages with singular music hits. This, he even did time over and again. And he still didn’t stop there. His career gave insight, direction and illumination to a whole lot other aspiring careers. Some of which have entered the category of budding and now, buzzing artistes. Just last year, the industry held sway for the iconic musician who traversed the turfs of the African music terrain when they celebrated his over 2-decade achievement. At Fortyfied, industry veterans and executives the likes of Cobhams, Victor Olaiya, 9ice, Omawumi, D’Banj, Wizkid, Vector, Patoranking, M.I, Olamide, Banky W, OJB and DJ Jimmy Jatt were literally singing his praises while heralding his high-flying flag. I can’t think of anyone else who would have pulled off such a breaking tribute feat at this time.
However, because our industry has neither structure nor strategy for artistes who have crossed the youthful benchmark, it appeared that the singer was done and dusted shortly after a decade into the millennial era. Because we didn’t find his newer singles as spell-binding like those from Olamide and Wizkid who had pretty much become the new school cats, and his albums which were still never short of their essential standards weren’t raking in expectations doesn’t mean the Benue State-born superstar had lost it. These so-called ‘new school cats’ had unknowingly pulled a stunt with music releases that totally revolutionized the Nigerian music scene. For good though, but definitely not the better off anyways. Sounds began to change. Even musical content too experienced a downward overhaul. But 2face remained. This tectonic shift left us in an abysmal wonder why the living legend didn’t quiver at the thought of evolving trends. But like a leopard wouldn’t ever lose it’s spots, the only transcend we got was a name change from 2face to 2Baba.
The later title would immediately suggest the welcoming era of a new don. 2Baba perhaps had understood that the industry belonged to the youth folk (not even those at heart) and decided to make a move of necessary ascension. He’s definitely not into a competition with anybody. Not with his high rolling colleagues, M.I, Sound Sultan or even D’Banj, and definitely not with these new school cats. He’s their daddy sef. So was 2Baba wavered? But of course, yes! That’s what gave rise to his reinvention itinerary. Where D’Banj, 9ice and Kcee continue to miss it in their desperate hustle to be associated with the trendy bandwagon, 2Baba is holding it down by simply being himself. Yet, this gravitational pull we experienced that yanked us distances away from where good music once refuged has totally obscured whatever new focus in music that his programme can concoct. His musical persona is intact as it always ever was. He’s even a better musician now, content-wise and vocally too. Just that he’s not doing it like we expect him to.
So ask yourself, what should expectations be for a 2Baba-type music? When you’ve figured, then do a quick analysis on whether he is meeting them or not. You’ll come to realize that 2Baba or his mojo even, is not the problem. Is there even one (a problem) if I’m to say? It’s more like a reason being the bane of this conversational principality instead. And by now you should have happened upon the conclusion that you and I, are that reason. Maybe you haven’t moved on yet but best believe that the entirety of the Nigerian music folk have. We’re now too atuned to a new order of sounds patterned after our foreign counterparts in our heinous quest for approval of our African music template. That’s why every other tomorrow to come will leave us in suspense over what Baba Nla‘s next single would sound like, and if OBO really is already chickened by the fast-changing dynamics of the industry right now. I mean who has heard Sean Tizzle and Tory Lanez’ Hit & Run? The fear of keeping up to trends now, has to be every artiste’s beginning of wisdom.
2face conquered and reigned, and just as every good thing occupies it’s own time and season, 2Baba has lived a fair share of his game while he played it. But still, the interesting thing is he’s not even done yet. There’s a little more left for him to give and he’s doing so with stylish, skillful precision. This further calls to question, what else do we want from the person of 2face? A man who’s professional test is in the experience of things seen and an evidence of all of them, done? What more really? And so I draw my closer with an assertion made by my friend ‘Dayo Davids saying ‘even if 2Baba decide to hang boot now, he has tried‘. Let’s agree to disagree!
Written by Jim Donnett