Why Are Wizkid Interviews Sooo Boring?

Wizkid gives the blandest interviews. Like fried eggs without salt. No real worldview, no substance, no pepper, no humour. Not even a slang. I just read his Rolling Stone interview and it’s clear that after Burna Boy’s win, his team is trying to position him for a Grammy. The interview is even part of the magazine’s Grammy forecast, his hit with Tems, Essence, having given him crazy attention in the west.

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So, yes, it is quite a nice place to be. But I don’t see how any member of the Recording Academy would even be tempted to listen to his album after reading that interview. Say what you want about Burna but the man grabbed his chance with both hands. Wizkid’s fans are likely to say it’s calculated, this apparent vacuity. He’s “unbothered.” (You can see his stans struggling to defend the emptiness of his interview with Complex if you look through its YouTube comments.)

I think the thing is a lot simpler: Wizkid never had the kind of ambition we assume he would have given his massive pop talent. He wanted to have fun and make money. He has succeeded in doing both in spades. I used to say that in most cultures, the big popstars cared about the two main elements of their art: the melody and the words. Nigeria in the time of Wizkid and Davido (before Burna Boy joined them) was the aberration. These guys cared only about the sound.

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Over the past few years, I think that has changed for Davido in some way. Even those that came after him are different: listen to Bella Shmurda on World and any Fireboy DML song. Argue with their thoughts but they are telling you how they see the world. Check out for the biggest western acts for their time: Michael, Prince, Kanye, Beyonce, Kendrick, JayZ, U2, Drake, Kurt Cobain, Taylor Swift, Phil Collins. Even when they didn’t write their songs, they cared enough to get people to do so.

I think what this care about lyrics does for the artist is force them to have a worldview. It makes them able to articulate what they stand for in some way. Wizkid has always sounded like the gods blessed him in that incredible way that he could convert anything into an engaging melody.

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So he’s never really had to think about his own beliefs in his music, although there were signs he may have done so when he was with Banky W. Never has the ability to freestyle been so profitable. So now that it is time to play the game that takes him to a level he may neither crave nor recognise, it is not possible for him to begin to do what he has done successfully without. He has always been about vibes in his music. Turns out it is the same thing in real life.

I wonder if he would end up being one of the biggest artists in a culture that cared a little bit more about personality and personal philosophy. Also: how would he fare if he was female? Just look how we treat Yemi Alade.

A country gets the politicians it deserves; ditto its popstars. If Nigeria is a country where nothing but how much money you have matters, and it is, then Wizkid is the country’s ultimate mirror image today. (Back in the day, as I once wrote, that position was occupied by P-Square.) Ambition doesn’t matter, a way of looking at the world is even less desirable. Brains are optional. Just have money. And Wizkid has money. Just ask UBA.

In some way, the blandness of Wizkid is an admirable trait. If it was a conscious disavowal of western validation, that is. Kinda like the pop music version of Herman Melville’s hero Bartleby. But you and I know Wizkid hasn’t thought that far. His interviews are only getting published because he’s important and I’m sure the traffic is good and he has one of the Big 3 labels in his corner. Otherwise, none of the major publications would run his stuff. Or maybe they keep hoping he would say something interesting at some point. That seems unlikely, though. As with the rest of us, Wizkid just can’t give what he doesn’t have.

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Oris Aigbokhaevbolo

Oris Aigbokhaevbolo

Nigeria’s most acclaimed writer-reviewer.