@MrEazi, one of the standout Ghanaian/Nigerian Afrobeat Artistes of 2016, on Twitter yesterday January 11, 2017 tweeted “Ghana’s influence on present day “Naija Sound” cannot be over emphasized!!!” And Nigerian twitter went nuts.In a matter of hours, various accounts on how Fela Anikulapo kuti studied highlife in Ghana and how Igbo highlife had other African influences surfaced. But what does the data say?
There is no argument that Runtown’s hit “Mad over You” is influenced by the informally termed “Alkayida” movement sweeping west Africa right now. The movement, which started in Ghana boasts a mid-tempo swaying beat, typically with minimal instruments, and its own accompanying dance movements. Mad over you is the number one song in Nigeria and in Ghana this week according to both PlayDataCharts and Youtube Music Charts, however, @MrEazi may have been a little emotional to paint the entire Nigerian music industry with such a broad brush.
Here are the facts. Looking at PlayDataCharts Top 100 songs in Nigeria for 2016, songs that seemingly borrow Ghanaian influences are 10% of the top 100 songs.
Below are the only songs with identifiable Ghanian influences from 2016 PlayDataCharts Top 100 songs in Nigeria.
Pana – Tekno
Final (Baba Nla) – Wizkid
Omo Alhaji – Ycee
No Kissing Baby – Patoranking Feat. Sarkodie
Kolewerk – Koker
Soft Work – Falz
Skin Tight – Mr Eazi Feat. Efya
Skibi Dat – Viktoh Feat. Lil Kesh
Excuse My French (Excusez Mon Francais) – Mr Olu Maintain
My Woman My Everything – Patoranking feat. Wande Coal
Many artists tend to mimic whatever is relevant at any point in time with hopes of scoring hits in a similar manner, this is arguable the case with Runtown’s mad over you which many believe to be the real target of @MrEazi’s tweet. @MrEazi, a Nigerian artist himself has no doubt become one of the influencers of Nigerian music, with his most recent rise to fame. It is important to note however that @MrEazi, like every other artist, is influenced by his immediate environment, his being the Ghanaian environment that launched his music career.
According to PlayDataCharts’ fact checker, a 10% influence is not significant enough to backup @MrEazi’s claim.
If you are interested in doing fact-checks on any of your favorite songs or artists, please tweet your questions at @playdatafacts on twitter to get data driven and fact based results. PlayData monitors radio stations and charts songs based on the total number of plays.
Interestingly, Ghanaian songs and playlists are much more significantly Nigeria-influenced as is reflected in this week’s YouTube Music Charts for Ghana, where Nigerian songs are an overwhelming 60% of the Top 10 songs streamed in Ghana.
The video below confirms some growing frustrations in Ghana over the influence of Nigerian music. Personally, I feel these comparisons are unnecessary and it is important that DJs in every region are responsible enough to make more deliberate attempts at supporting their local talent.