Where Were You: BNXN Shuts Down London With ‘Bad Since ’97’ Release Party

on the cusp of further explosion

BNXN is securing his place in the Afropop canon. This year alone, the Nigerian singer has garnered worthy accolades from his coveted Next Rated win at the 15th Headies awards to featuring some of the biggest names in Afropop including Wizkid, Wande Coal, Zinoleesky and more. Less than a month ago, he returned with his well received sophomore EP, ‘Bad Since ’97’ which has earmarked him as a considerable talent and furthered his global ambitions.

Now, BNXN wants his loyal fans to experience the music with him. After gracing stages in New York and Atlanta, BNXN brought his ‘Bad Since ‘97’ listening sessions to London this weekend. Held in an intimate location in Waterloo, London, the night featured a track-by-track rendition of his recently released sophomore EP which featured Afropop heavyweights such as Wizkid, Wande Coal and Olamide.


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Given my anticipation to watch BNXN perform, I arrived early at the event’s venue in Aures London to witness the recently crowned Next Rated artist take the London stage by storm. As we waited to be ushered into the dimly-lit venue, fans were greeted by colourful and vibrant murals of several local artists. BNXN’s show was hard to miss as guests were welcomed by an abstract portrait of the man, while the booming sound of Afropop blasted through the venues speakers. Inside the venue space, vendors lined up across the hall while displaying racks of BNXN merchandise including T-shirts, album covers and posters. Projected on the walls and corners were vibrant animations and video clips of BNXN in his natural element, singing and enjoying himself, reassuring guests that we’re about to step into a world of BNXN’s own making.

While we waited for the main event to begin, guests entertained themselves with drinks while soundbites from BNXN’s discography echoed across the room. From crowd favourites like “L’enu Remix” featuring Burna Boy to the chart-topping “Spiritual” with Zlatan, and even to award-winning numbers like Ladipoe’s “Feeling” and Pheelz’s “Finesse,” BNXN’s palpable energy was felt all around me. This only served as a further reminder of BNXN’s consistency, masterful pen game and all-round ability to make feel-good music.

Hyped and prepared, the crowd welcomed BNXN on stage to one of his many hit features, Timaya’s “Cold Outside,” after which he dove right into the analysis of his ‘Bad Since ’97’ EP. BNXN got candid about the inspiration behind each track, how the project came together and what listeners can take away from the new release. He emphasised that his mission was for audiences to recognise his improved writing skills, especially in comparison to his 2021 EP, ‘Sorry I’m Late.’

For BNXN, ‘Bad Since ‘97’ was his chance to redress whatever impressions and convictions listeners had regarding his sound, as well as explore his range. During the show, BNXN holds nothing back as he invites us closer into his sonic world. He begins with the project’s first track “Bad Since ‘97,” a song about confidence, and recognising ones trajectory in life. In a rare moment of proximity, BNXN explained that during his childhood, he was mostly compliant with authorities around him, which in its own way restricted him from doing what he truly wanted to. He shares: “Bad Since ‘97” is his way of coming into his own in a reaffirming way.

BNXN also recognised the importance of featuring three of Nigeria and Africa’s biggest artists Wizkid, Wande Coal and Olamide on his second project. For the project’s third track “Many Ways” which features Wizkid, BNXN expressed his need to give people a track with a sensual feel. “I woke up in the middle of the night at a time when everybody should be asleep,” he started. “That was the only thing on my mind, making a song that was for the night time.”

He credited the track’s producer, Juls, who against BNXN’s wishes at the time, persistently checked and made sure he recorded his vocals. “When he sees a vision, he wants to make sure it’s actualised,” BNXN said. To BNXN, “Modupe” is also another special track on the project. Here, credits Olamide and is full of appreciation for the YBNL boss who added his special touch to the number.  BNXN shared that Olamide initially declined featuring on “Modupe” as he felt rusting jumping on slow records. “I brought back the old Baddo,” he shares.


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As the show is about to wrap up, BNXN announced his headline show in London which is slated for November 26, 2022 at Indigo O2 Arena. While he was encouraged to tease the night’s guest appearances, BNXN refused to ruin his surprises too soon and promised that it would a shut down like his Lagos shows. The excitement from the crowd grew as the show drew to a close, with many fans buzzing about BNXN’s return to London. With his return to London and his homecoming show slated for the end of the year, BNXN shows once again proves why he’s one of the most compelling Afropop artists of the now.

Featured image credits/NATIVE

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