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Opinion: ‘Fada Fada’, ‘Pana’: Why did these two songs rule Nigeria in 2016?

Phyno and Tekno were special in 2016 due to these songs, and the overlap of their creativity is the insistence on sticking to a formulaic approach.

If Nigeria was divided into two distinct regions, and two rulers were needed to ascend to leadership via popular vote, then they would have to be as strong and penetrative as ‘Pana’ and ‘Fada Fada’. These two songs ruled 2016, one by its sheer allusion of everything to God, the other with its thematic love influence, and minimalist production.

Phyno and Tekno, two Eastern brothers provided the country with genuine mega hit songs that will be held and remembered over time as perhaps, their best hit yet. From the arid lands of the north, to the flowing waters that embrace the southern shores of Nigeria, these singles ruled with an iron fist, grabbing mainstream and niche radio in an unyielding chokehold, while also daring any other single to come close. No single came close.

These songs ruled, and they followed basic rules to become kings.

For ‘Fada Fada’, Phyno and Olamide’s formulaic approach could be laid thus: Grab a traditional melody, with deep highlife cuts and Afrobeat leanings from a masterful producer. The subject involves the acquisition of wealth, displays of success, and gratitude to God. These are the elements of what Nigerian term as true ‘happiness’. A country which prides itself for sing the hustle as a virtue, the gaining of money is huge driving force for everyone.

The pursuit of it has become the sole purpose of a country that elevates wealth above everything else. Phyno struck that ubiquitous nerve in ‘Connect’, a song about money-making via business. On ‘Fada Fada’, he connects via the conveyance of enjoying that wealth, and giving gratitude to God. That struck another nerve. So with one leg in church, and the other in the clubs, ‘Fada Fada’ straddles the divided between opposing sides of the moral discussion in Nigeria. The last song to achieve that is Korede Bello’s ‘Godwin’. It is championing, unity, creating a bridge between ‘good’ and evil.

‘Pana’ proved that a consistent method of creating music, can pay more in the short term. Tekno’s second single ‘Pana’ exploded too and spread like wildfire. The song caught on in the East, the West are loved it, and in street corners and clubs, ‘Pana’ made a surge through. The video, shot by Clarence Peters of Capital Dreams Pictures, is over 13 million views on Youtube.

Tekno is working with a formula that has propelled him to become the prince of African music. There’s a certain method to the production of ‘Duro’, ‘Wash’, ‘Where’, ‘Pana’ and ‘Diana’ that remains consistent, even in the audio and video conceptualization; Dedicate it to a girl, use a catchword/catchphrase, and infuse humor over a mid-tempo beat. Dance for that pretty, light skinned vixen in the visual, and you will score great points.

Phyno and Tekno were special in 2016 due to these songs, and the overlap of their creativity is the insistence on sticking to a formulaic approach. Critics would argue with artistes who tend to stick to a certain manner of production and creation, but that is all ideals. In the real world, ideals rarely do work. A formula is a good way to go about your business, but only if it works and continues to work.

Phyno and Tekno’s formula worked in 2016 and that’s why they won.

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