In general terms, contemporary African popular music is referred to as “Afropop”. Afropop does not refer to any specific style of sound and rhythm. Most contemporary genres of African popular music build on cross-pollination with western popular music. Among African popular music such as blues, jazz, salsa, zouk, rumba, and makossa is the trending genre “Afrobeat”
Afrobeat has adopted western styles like musical instruments, recording studios, labels, big budget videos, blending soft, hard and fast electronic rhythms with sweet and danceable melodies garnished with African vernaculars, proverbs, slangs, colonial parlance and largely Pidgin English.
Afro beats: Nigeria vs Cameroon
Afrobeat: Nigeria vs Cameroon Cameroon and Nigeria share a lot in common ranging from territorial predestination to share socio-cultural similarities. Note that when I talk of Cameroon more focus is on the English part of Cameroon. Historically Anglophone Cameroon had been part of Nigeria for 34 years (1919 – 1953) this implies that they should share a lot in common music and movies inclusive.
Talking about music producers in Africa big names like Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, South Africa and Ghana comes to mind respectively. These countries got the biggest content in the African musical lexicon.
However, the bone of contention is with the trending genre Afrobeat which is our point of focus in this cultural and diplomatic write-up. When afrobeat took over makossa in the 2000s, Cameroonian youths were left in the cold watching and admiring their counterparts in Nigeria enjoy fame from the new style afrobeat.
Haven considered makossa as an old school, the Cameroon music industry became very dormant thus, permitting Nigerian music to penetrate through the youths and dominate especially the English part of the country
Little efforts from the Mel Bs, Daddy cool, West Don, General Toxic, Big G Baba, Excelante gave no hope for Cameroon urban music.
It was not until 2011/2012 when Jovi, now Mboko God released the street anthem “Don 4kwat” that a new feeling aroused in Cameroon urban music. Then came Stanley Enow’s “Hien pere” which took Camer hip-hop worldwide. Now with the era of Mr. Leo, Locko, Franko, Reniss, Magasco and a cream of 237 hip hop talents, Cameroon has put a stamp on the Afro-pop fact book at the international level and it will not be surprising that other countries see her as a threat.
While writing this post I decided to sample the opinions of some Nigerians in Mboppi, Douala concerning their take on the Cameroon urban music and here are some of their opinions:
“Hmm! Camerooooon music wow! Mr. Leo! I think they sing so nice and their music makes more sense than our Nigerian Artists sef!” said excited Olama while hiding her face
“No! Cameroon music is very good, you can see on my phone nearly all songs are Cameroonian songs but they have only one problem tell them to sing more in pidgin… that their Cameroon pidgin is so sweet in music… even back home my friends and younger ones will scramble to transfer Cameroonian pidgin songs”. Obaka noted
When I tried asking them what they will prefer between a Cameroonian artist and a Nigerian artist, the general answer was “I prefer Naija because their songs relate with my culture”.
Why Cameroon is a threat to Nigeria
Study this table carefully
AFROBEAT PRODUCING COUNTRIES IN AFRICA
The table above illustrates that as far as African popular music is concern (afrobeat) Nigeria got the biggest share in terms of the market and content, South Africa unbeatably controls the media while Cameroon comes with a great share in content but has no market nor media.
The logical interpretation is that Nigeria as an entertainment giant respects South Africa as a monopolist in content exposure but fears Cameroon as she is a competitor in content production.
Read also: Leading countries in afrobeat now: Top 5
Nigeria’s entertainment strategists see the potential in Cameroon exploiting their vast market and supplying South African media with excellent content once the Cameroonian policymakers and music strategists realize the formula.
This logical illustration is empirical in the sense that the Nigerian entertainment market has been structured to operate in a closed system which makes it practically impossible for foreign artists especially from Cameroon to penetrate.
Nigeria will prefer to align musically with other French African countries like Cote d’Ivoire and Congo because they are not rivals in the leading urban music genre.
Cameron remains a threat to Nigeria because in a club in Europe or America, for example, the instrumentals and sound from Davido, Techno, Wizkid, Run Town, Wizboy, Timaya, Yemi Alade, Mavins will only clash with a similar instrumental and sound from Mr Leo, Magasco, Locko, Daphne, Bless B, Blanche Baily. This is because the Dj must have entered the afrobeat slot.
Speaking to qfricaninfolookthe CEO of SAB Movement Clovis Akuchu, noted that Cameroon could be a threat to Nigeria because first, Cameroon is a bilingual country and most of the artists now try singing in English and French. Which means after exploiting the francophone market they could actually penetrate the Anglophone market including of course Nigeria thus, logically dominating the whole continent.
I spoke with one of Cameroon’s afrobeat up coming Bala 2K and asked to know why as an upcoming artist he thinks it is very difficult for a Cameroonian artist to make waves in Nigeria
You know Nigeria considers us a francophone country music wise and they value artists featured on MTV Base than on Trace Africa. Local artists find themselves aired on MTV Base only on the Franco chat which is very insignificant. Back home the industry is still young and the economy is hard… so artists are forced to sing in French in order to get bookings in Douala, Yaounde, and Bafoussam for them to put food on the table before thinking of international adventures”
If you still doubt the fact that there exists an urban music clash between these two countries, then ponder with me:
Knowing very well that afrobeat is a fusion of pop makossa and highlife why is it that no Nigerian superstar has remixed or even featured a makossa legend in a song
Apart from Techno why is it so difficult for Nigerian stars to recognize makossa from Cameroon openly?
Why will a learned superstar like Davido in his song “One of a kind” vehemently say “dance makossa in Congo” or in his recent outing say he knows only Samuel Etoo and Stanley Enow in Cameroon?
These and many uncited instances show how Nigeria is skeptical aligning with Cameroon in urban music. Just like Nigeria, Cameroon clashes with Cote d’Ivoire where Ivoirians accuse Cameroonians of stealing their music style to make waves. For example, Ivorian Vlogger WillSteph accuses Franko and Maalox of exploiting Coupe decaler beats to shine in the name of 237 rap style.what is your thought?