Leveraging Social Distancing For The Culture: Enter The World of Creative Battles

COVID-19 Music

In this era of social distancing, social media platforms are not just powerful daises for communication.  They have become the ultimate outlets for escapism for people who are bored and tired following the anti-COVID-19 measures issued by governments around the world.  People have taken to Instagram and Facebook to share just about any content including TikTok mimicry videos.  We have also been subjected to countless unsolicited motivational speeches and plain-old rants on these platforms.  

Yes, I think we all get it.  People have almost had it up to here of sitting idly doing nothing! But, then these bursts of expressions on Instagram are getting lackluster.  This explains the joy surrounding the resurge of battles between creatives.  These challenges mainly include contests between music artistes or producers, who take turns to exhibit their song writing or production prowess on Instagram Live.  And the best part is, viewers get to decide who the winner is at the end of each battle, thanks to the comment section on Instagram.

Part 1

Legendary producers, Timbaland and Swizz Beatz paved the way to the COVID-19 creatives’ battle on Instagram on 24 March 2020.  Subsequently, other artistes including Ne-Yo who went head-to head with Johntá Austin, and Sean Garret who took on The Dream have ignited the Instagram Live stage with their talents.  See the below video for a taster of the combat between the grandmasters of the game – Timbaland and Swiss Beatz.  Also see the next clip, where Ne-Yo and Johntá Austin thrill fans with R&B chef d’oeuvre.  While Ne-Yo’s playlist was dominated by his own tracks and other songs by Mario and Beyonce, Johntá featured some cools classics including songs that brought back memories of the late Aaliyah. 

Part 2

The current wave of battles has also taken root in the Nigerian music scene where Masterkraft challenged Pheelz and Sarz battled Shizzi.  Masterkraft thrilled fans with classics like Can’t Stop Me by Banky W.  Masterkraft also played songs by Flavour, Olamide, Phyno and Kennis Music Group’s The Pulse.  Phleez on the other hand hit the stage with songs by newer artistes including the current flavor of the moment, Fireboy DML. The ace producers, Sarz and Shizzi went head-to-head for hours in a battle of hits capturing what can be labelled a remarkable moment for the culture.  Take some time now to watch some of these Nigerian creative’s battles in the next set of videos.

My Verdict- Sarz Won! Sarz did not play his hit songs from wizkid, Shizzi went all in.

So what?

Producers have been at the heart of most music trends including Makossa, Galala, R&B, Hip Hop, Alkaida, Highlife, Afropop and UK grime bop music.  However, prior to 2005, music producers in Nigeria were hardly visible and were rarely mentioned by artistes.  This is with the exception of the Mo’ Hits crew that frequently credited their producer with the line: It’s Don Jazzy again.  But by late 2005, Nigerian producers began incorporating their insignia on their beats.  Mixing and Mastering engineers followed suit around 2014, spearheaded by Alpha Ojini and Selebobo with their distinctive signatures, Focus and MixMonster respectively. 

The battle between producers is particularly instructive because it gives a deeper insight into music production in Nigeria. While some producers thrive on versatility, others are sustained by the marketing genius of music artistes.  Despite this difference, producers remain at the core of the growth and sustenance of the music industry.

So, next time you feel bored or tired, try seeking out some of these battles on Instagram.  Or better still, actively engage in the creatives’ battle by going live and leaving your thoughts in the comment section.  Do it for yourself and more importantly, do it for the Culture.

Tweet your thoughts @danielwhyte2

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