Monday 23 May 2016

The Art of the Nonsense Remix: The Case of Davido and Osinachi - By Chilee Agunanna

Nigerian singers are known for remixing their songs; and while some artists improve the original song in the remix, others literally kill the soul of the musical creation. Chilee Agunanna here, analyses the remixing prowess of pop star Davido.

The remix has always been a popular part of the music industry and adds a different flavour to an already good song or gives a new lease of life to a song that initially did not perform so well. A remix simply means another artist’s version of a song where he or she must have added something to it. And while the remix mustn’t necessarily be better, it largely involves an ‘addition’ to the original song rather than removing ‘something’ from it.
That being said, some of the songs remixed in this country in recent times have actually removed `things’ from the original songs and one example of this is Davido’s remix of Humblesmith’s Osinachi.
The young singer had already introduced himself to the Nigerian music audience with Chairmo and then in August 2015 dropped a career-defining single which he titled, Osinachi, featuring Phyno. The song was an immediate hit and the fact it combined excellent Hip Hop elements with didactic lyrics was a plus and in that regard somehow similar to Korede Bello’s Godwin which led to the latter’s controversial invitation to some church programmes.
Osinachi had an even cleaner claim to church performances but Humblesmith may have closed that door by allowing Davido to burden it with his Dubai-infected baggage.
Osinachi, an Igbo word, literally means ‘It’s from God’ and can be figuratively adapted to mean `Destiny’ or ‘blessing’. It’s also a beautiful name which many parents have gladly bestowed on their offsprings just like Godwin. A look at the original lyrics makes for an interesting read and further highlighted the very essence of the song as originally composed:
Plenty people don dey ask,
Na which baba do the jazz,
Say the baba do well for me oh,
Now my life don better
Not because I suffer pass
Not because I pray and fast
No be osho no be jazz, okwa chinenye
Also look at Phyno’s verse with some loose translation provided in brackets:
Ibe, ekene kenelum olisa bi ne nu igwe (Greetings to God in heaven)
Daddy ne mezi nu m obi oma (Daddy has made me happy)
Nwanne inee aya, n’ime ndum o (Brother if you look into my life)
Iga fu na chukwu emego nu aka boys achaa (You will see God has blessed boys)
God I dey beg you don't leave me oh
Okwa ikwelu nkwa si na ima rapum oo (Remember you promised you won’t leave me)
Baba obi ni'gwe o-oo-o (Father in heaven)
Wee simu golibe oooo (Told me to enjoy)
Hey, nwanne okwa ima na oke chineke di okpotopo (Brother you know God’s grace is big)
Amamihe gi kam choro (I want your wisdom)
Maka m di ogogoro (Because I’m empty)
Some dey think say na jazz how the boy came up fast
Mana ha maro na ngozi gi na di ogonogo (But they don’t know you blessing is long)
Okwa, everyday nne kpe ekpere (I pray every day)
Chineke iwee nyemu the reason m ji enye ekele (God you gave me to give thanks)
Now m nanwuli with my family and friends (Now I’m rejoicing with family and friends)
Ayin n’eme the money down ka (We are doing the money down like)
Nwanne oburo jazz (Brother it’s not jazz)
The lyrics of Davido's remix is a sharp and confused contrast that not only presents a total deviation from the initial spirit of the song but also reduced it to a platform for advancing some personal issues which is a complete let-down to such a beautiful song.
My humble father sinachi
My loving daughter sinachi mo
My baby mama sinachi
Dele Momodu sinachi mo
No be by force to go Dubai
Abi na wetin cause the fight
And I just dey my own dey laugh eh
Because God dey my side
They want to take away my favour
They want to spoil my career
Them no know say I get flavour
You fit ask Nabania
I forgive and forget
Baba God knows the best
My papa just buy jet
And about to take off everywhere oh
Humblesmith in allowing this remix may have mortgaged his immediate progress for a few coins from the Omo Baba Olowo as this remix has stunted his immediate growth because, one, it removed attention from the main song which was doing marvellously well and redirected it to Davido.
Secondly what Davido brought to the song was immediately expendable as the Baby mama drama while being stupidly negative and shouldn’t even come close to a song like Osinachi, it died once Davido moved on from it and in this sense, the Sony signing immediately took over the Davido narrative and Humblesmith is now left with the few Judas coins he made from betraying such a good song.
Apart from being one of the most hardworking and talented artists in the country, Davido is also one of the most mischievous—scheming out one publicity scheme (positive and negative in same measure) immediately after the other, and the narrative of Humblesmith’s career as regards the attraction he would have gained from his hit song has now been subsumed in the shenanigans of an already made act.
This is the danger ‘upcoming’ acts face when they excitedly allow bigger artists to buy into their arrival and remix their already successful songs. This happened to Kiss Daniels when he allowed Davido once again and Tiwa Savage to guzzle up whatever attention and goodwill he had garnered with his hit, Woju, and his successive attempts to resurrect that success with new singles using virtually the same beat, have largely failed.
Another sad case is Oritsefemi whose struck gold with his version of Fela’s, Double Wahala, but he then allowed a fading D’banj to hijack his song. Not to mention what D’banj also did to Iyanya’s Kukere but by then, Iyanya had already exhausted the song’s goodwill and revenue, so D’banj’s remix never really affected the success of the song or Iyanya’s progress.
A new ‘upcoming’ artist is supposed to ride on the back of the success of the older artist he features in his song, not the other way round. Naeto C did it for Davido and Phyno has already done it for Humblesmith on the original Osinachi track, so there was no need for this remix, not at this time.
Humblesmith is no doubt a good artist and would most definitely release other good songs who knows how long it will take fortune to smile on him again with another hit seeing that he humbly threw away the `Destiny’ already given to him?

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