Best New Music: #StreetTakover2017 gets off to a late-start with Olamide’s “Wo”
Best New Music: #StreetTakover2017 gets off to a late-start with Olamide’s “Wo”

Best New Music: #StreetTakover2017 gets off to a late-start with Olamide’s “Wo”

The voice of the streets is back on the streets

It may be debatable by numbers, but 2017 has been quite the odd year for Nigerian music. Top flight acts like Davido, Wizkid and Yemi Alade amongst others have continued a steady upward climb. Middleweight artists like Tekno, Runtown, Niniola and YCEE amongst others, seem to be strengthening foothold. And the internet is parading a slew of self-publishing millennial up-and comers as the future of Nigerian music.

On the flip side of this is near total radio silence from the streets. Olamide’s disbandment of his original YBNL crew (Lil Kesh, Chinko Ekun, Adekunle Gold, Viktoh) circa their album drops and contract expirations respectively, left a vacuum of an ultimate tag team to drop hits for the streets. Artists like Oritshefemi, CDQ, Reminisce have mostly remained on air with features, videos and concerts. This leaves only a handful like Dotman, Junior Boy and Davolee, with the exception of Small Doctor, who is having quite the exceptional year with smash hit, “Penalty”.

The murmurs have been low-key, but eyes have been on Olamide — the self-titled voice of the streets — to turn things around. Besides promoting his The Glory album with videos, and dropping three singles, “Wavy Level”, “Love No Go Die” and “Summer Body” to mixed reactions, Olamide has mostly remained under radar, charts wise. It may have taken a minute for “Wo” to come, but it’s the last days of summer, we’re reliving the magic of a gritty Olamide, who is sworn to the streets.

“Wo” comes as both a refreshing outtake from the mid-tempo neo-highlife sound Tekno and Davido have popularised, and as a re-invigoration of the same Young John stroke that dominated all of 2015 into last year. Olamide’s assuming brag ‘Won lo n’ miss wa ni ‘gboro’ (I heard they’ve been missing us in the streets), gives all the context you need for why a song like “Wo” is needed.

Like much of Olamide’s biggest club-inspired songs, there’s not a lot of purpose to “Wo”. Olamide’s cheeky titular refrain ‘wo’, sounds like a taunt, as if to mock those who are not quite familiar with life from the hood for all they are missing. The affect however, is in Olamide’s musty and swagger, a calibrated blend of all the authenticity that fame or wealth will never take out of who he is at heart.

Somewhere on the internet as you read this, there’s a headline saying Olamide’s new smash hit is now a public health hazard. There are two truths to this: the first is a criticism by the ministry of health for Olamide’s smoking in the accompanying video for “Wo”, the second truth is a certain fact that once again we have another Olamide song that will be played till ears bleed.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the street takeover 2017 edition.

Stream Olamide’s “Wo” via Apple Music below

Toye is the Team lead at Native Nigeria. Tweet at him @ToyeSokunbi

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