Wizkid: A Superstar Properly Made in Lagos
I watched the clip of Wizkid grinning and spraying wads of Naira notes as the fuji veteran, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal (K1 De Ultimate) praised him. It was at the celebration of the life of Wizkid’s mother who passed away a few months ago. Like everyone who loses someone very precious to them, the demise of his mother also hit Wizkid, and he started cancelling shows and performances he had in several countries. He became very absent from social media and his Instagram profile picture was changed to his mother’s. For someone whose social media page is viewed by millions of people around the world, it is one of the most honouring things to do for his mother who told him to chase his dreams, as he sang in Joy.
Even though Wizkid had released Holla At Your Boy earlier in 2010, I was properly introduced to his songs when Love My Baby and one brother from the neighbourhood won’t stop playing the song. This time, I could sing the song from top to bottom but I didn’t know the face of the voice behind the song. I just knew the name, Wizkid, and I never bothered to know who the artist was as there was no access to search for that; internet was scarcely expensive. But it didn’t take long before my friends started coining nicknames from Wizkid’s name and suffixing their names with “Kid”. There was Slimkid, Jaykid, Fine Kid, Dopekid and other kinds of kids that my friends and schoolmates adopted. This ignited my interest in the artist and I found myself following him as he progressed. It was the same time he teamed up with Olamide to release Omo Toh Shan.
Since Holla At Your Boy, Wizkid became unstoppable, an ordained international artist made out of Lagos. It takes more than prophecy for an artist to title their debut album Superstar. It’s like a revelation and even though the stardom was yet to be felt around the world, he knew he was onto something, something grand, something different, something his mother would be eternally proud of.
Everyone, millennials especially, witnessed Wizkid’s growth from home to abroad. We all witnessed him crawl out of Ojuelegba in Lagos, to countries across Africa before affirming his presence in the world. He sings in Ojuelegba, “Ni Ojuelegba/ They know my story/From Mo’Dogg studio/I be hustle to work/Ni ojuelegba ooooh/Me and CD/From Mo’Dogg studio/We been hustle to work.” And truly that is where everything started, from the streets of Lagos. This is why his fourth studio album is titled Made in Lagos – an album made by an artist born and raised in Lagos. He doesn’t take away this root from his craft and we can see from the kind of people present at the burial: kings, chiefs, and even a fuji musician and the dress code chosen for the event.
For a lot of millennials, Wizkid is the benchmark for personal excellence.
Not just artistic, but life itself. We saw him start from nothing and became the best in his sphere.
That’s the dream of every man with an ounce of sense. Self-actualization via personal application. https://t.co/hIGWmjYOCi
— Joey Akan (@JoeyAkan) October 14, 2023
As Wizkid celebrates the well-lived life of her mother, he’s certain that she lived a fulfilled life because everything she told him has come to pass. In Joy, Wizkid sings, “When I was a little boy/ Mama told me/ Love will set you free/ My boy, please believe it/’Cause this love is for real/ When I was a little boy/ Mama told me/ My boy chase your dreams/ And keep believing/ And the love will set you free.” And he is feeling the love, as is evident in the presence of people like Tony Elumelu, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall, Oba Elegushi and others present at the burial.
Wizkid is currently the most-awarded African artist with a Grammy and many other international awards. He has performed on the biggest stages in the world. The man is an example that greatness can exist from anywhere. His journey from the streets of Lagos to international stardom is a testament to the power of dreams and his late mother’s enduring love and guidance. Wizkid has not only honoured his mother’s life by becoming so great with his music but has also exemplified that greatness knows no boundaries. His story is an inspiration to young people who dare to dream, work relentlessly, and believe in the power of love and self-belief. Nigerians are known for being relentless with their dreams and they constantly show that greatness can emerge from the most unexpected places.
Photo Credit: @wizkidayo