In every generation, there comes a genre of music that steals people’s heart. In The United States, there was the Rock ‘n’ Roll in the 1960’s, Disco reigned supreme in the 1970’s, Dance music and New waves in the 1980’s, Hip-hop was the gift from Compton in the 1990’s. Now, Autotune is the in-thing (but that is another gist on its own).
Let’s talk about Fuji, the genre of music that stole the Nigerian dance floor in the 70’s. Everyone loved it, everyone was crazy about it. It was a blend of Juju, Apala, Sakara, and Highlife.
Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister is often credited not only as the pioneer of Fuji music, but as the one who popularized it. His tour through Europe, Asia and North America in the 1970’s pushed the genre to the world.
The Pioneer’s most popular apprentice was Wasiu Ayinde Anifowoshe. Wasiu Ayinde started as any other apprentice- from the bottom, until he got the chance to drop his most popular album in 1984; “Talazo 84”. It was an instant hit, so were all his subsequent albums. The man dropped so many hits that his name came to be associated with the Fuji genre.
No wonder he proclaimed himself the King of Fuji, rechristened himself King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall. But Fuji is dying and by extension it’s King. I’ll tell you who is responsible for its death.
When ID Cabasa’s Coded Tunes signed young Olamide Adedeji, nobody ever anticipated that his genre of music would be the end of Fuji. The self-proclaimed “Baddest guy ever liveth” has a style that appealed to the street more than Fuji ever did.
The down to earth appearance of Olamide helped his genre of music reach a larger percentage of crowd that can relate with his lyrics. The fact that he recorded most of his lyrics in Yoruba also helped. It isn’t really Olamide’s fault that Fuji is dying, it is the times.
We now live in the age of “Afro-pop” a fusion of Africa and Hip-hop. It basically means we start singing more in our mother’s tongue. A song can never be complete without an element of Yoruba or Igbo in it.
It doesn’t help that Pasuma (another prominent Fuji artiste) has switched to “Afropop” in a bid to remain relevant. Of course it worked, he was probably the most successful “Fuji” artiste last year.
Favored music genre changes with generation everywhere in the world, Nigeria is no exception. Without any doubt, the end of the 70’s generation is the end of Fuji. The few people still singing are the endangered species we are not interested in saving.
In this new generation of mine, Don Jazzy owns the beat, Olamide owns the stage.
Rest in Peace King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall,
RIP Fuji Music.