Every generation has a poster child for an ideology. The Boomers and a bit of the millennial demographic had TuBaba as the poster child for grass-to-grace. He was the handsome man who broke out from the boy band Plantashun Boiz and made hits and broke records with his talent and humility. In the eyes of the public, TuBaba can do no wrong, not in his career or in his music.
For the millennials and the Gen Z demographic, that poster child is Wizkid. We saw him when kid stars like Justin Bieber was a thing, and we wanted ours. From Holla at Your Boy to Ojuelegba, we followed the self-proclaimed star boy, clinging to every bit of his progress as if it mirrored ours.
This story of success makes him authentic to the average Wizkid fan, and this authenticity has made him build a fan base oblivious to everything but his success. Banking on this cultural collateral has been a major building block of Wizkid’s success.
On his 30th birthday, he released one song from his Made In Lagos album, after 6 years of keeping his fans waiting. This strategic move played on the sentiments of his audience towards his celebration of life and the gift of a new song.
The cloud of obscurity and suspense as he does with everything Wizkid only cleared during the #EndSARS protests and cemented his position as the voice of the people and the superstar who truly cared for his people.
His sudden change of the Made In Lagos album cover from the essence of Lagos as the art to the portrait of himself only created more stories and angles to his decision and how they fit the climate of the country.
Although mysterious, there is a method to the madness by everyone’s favourite superstar. He has built a fanbase loyal to his brand story. The boy who made it out of Ojuelegba and now lives amongst the stars.
Despite the toggle between fans on his new sound, which some have termed Afro RnB, and those who think there is nothing made in Lagos about this album, we have to give credit to the genius that is Wizkid for sentimental storytelling.
You love him not because of what he does, but for how you perceive he is. And, when the time comes for the credibility of this story to be tested, maybe at his concert or on a collaboration, his fans will show up and show out.
Although I applaud the change in his sound, the only thing made in Lagos is his brand story, and the effective use of it is admirable.