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Wizkid’s “Superstar” at 10: A Timeless Classic

An avid lover of music with a flair for writing. A core hip-hop fan with a thing for boom-bap beats and bars.

"Superstar" album cover

"Superstar" album cover

"Superstar" Album Review

I cannot begin to phantom the fact that it’s been 10 years since I first listened to Wizkid’s “Holla at your boy” which was the lead single from his Superstar album. The exceptional vocal performance, the impeccable songwriting, the confidence of his delivery, and the production of that track were exquisite and it gave rise to a masterpiece, Superstar, which was his debut studio album. Seeing Wizkid create a documentary tagged “A Superstar Made in Lagos” celebrating the tenth anniversary of the album release made me feel nostalgic and I felt an urgent need to review the album.

Filled with several club bangers, street anthems, and soothing tunes alike, Superstar became Wizkid’s magnum opus, a critically acclaimed album often used as a reference point for great Nigerian albums. Superstar is one album that defined an era in the Nigerian Afro-beat space and it vastly contributed to making Wizkid the global superstar he is today. However, one thing from the Superstar album that always amazes me is the fact that most of the tracks on the album were hits. It’s a type of album that can be categorized under the “all hits, no misses” umbrella as it is one album that almost every Nigerian has heard at least one song from and yeah, I am not exaggerating.

"Tease me" official music video

Another thing that makes Superstar a classic is the production quality. The production of the album and the way Wizkid rode on every one of those beats just made the album perfect which contributed to the album’s replay value. It is hard to think of better production choices that could have accompanied the album. This was made possible thanks to the production team consisting of Segun Demuren, Banky W, Tunde Demuren, Stanley Ekuro, Samklef, Masterklef, and others who put in a great shift on the album All tracks on the album were exquisitely produced and the beat selection was topnotch. It was a perfect job from everybody involved in the album all-around.

A major talking point of the Superstar album was the rawness of his songwriting which oozed throughout every track of the album. There was just this element of his lyrics that made them so relatable to almost every Nigerian. An example of this can be seen on the track “Oluwa Lo Ni”, where he gives thanks to God for life and his success, his lyrics on that song resonates well with me and an example of such lyrics is “ my brother stop crying, just count your favours and name them one by one / my sister stop wailing, say look your neighbor, you go know say God do am”, Every time I listen to that song, it reminds me of one of the things that keep most Nigerians going as they go about their daily hustle trying to make ends meet. He had a way with words that you were able to hear his thoughts and feel his pain as he penned down those hard-hitting lines. This is probably why his fans popular known as “Wizkid F.C” have always supported him wholeheartedly till this day, such brilliance with words perfectly enwrapped into one single project is something special, and the way they go all out for him till this day is beautiful to see.

Another highlight of the album for me was his hunger, you could feel that will and strive to become a superstar as he crooned over all of those beats on the album. One of such songs that showed me how hungry he was then was the track “Scatter the floor”. The delivery of his lines was so exquisite that anytime I listen to that song I just have a gut feeling that he could not have done it any better. The delivery and execution and even the use of adlibs on that track just merged together perfectly.

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A superstar Made in Lagos Docuseries

Superstar had something about it that just made it so unique to me and it was its cohesiveness. For an album littered with hits, it was surprisingly cohesive - tracks on the album don’t feel out of place (at least to me), and it was certainly well structured. It flowed seamlessly from start to finish which is not something you get from many Nigerian albums nowadays. The album also highlights Wizkid’s range, as it showed he could hop on any genre of music and still make good music. This range has been seen over the years as he has been featured in hip-hop tracks where he held his own, however, this range is reflected in Wizkid’s latest studio album, Made in Lagos where he taps into the R&B genre fully.

Wizkid’s debut album, Superstar marked an era in the Nigerian music industry and it is one of the many reasons why Nigerian Afro-pop is gaining momentum all over the world. That album influenced some of the new artists we have today in the Nigerian music industry such as Fireboy DML, Rema, Bella Shmurda amongst others.

Superstar might have had its flaws ten years ago but now, the whole album sounds perfect probably due to the change in the Nigerian music space at the time. Wizkid and his management team pulled off something special with that album, something we might never witness again in our lifetime. It began the journey of a living legend in the Nigerian music industry and all over the world. An album that breathed in some fresh air into the Nigerian music industry which it desperately needed at the time and since then, the Afro-beats genre had never been the same.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Fawaz Akintunde

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