We’ve all lauded WavyTheCreator as the next big thing in Nigerian music, blazing her path through the industry and making a name for herself in the process. Her first few singles and her unrelenting branding have more than proven she knows exactly what she is doing and what her niche is in the music industry. There are only a handful of women with the creative license to experiment with her music, and even fewer that have taken things as out there as Wavy.
Genre wise, WavyTheCreator has stayed to the Afro-house aesthetic, relying on the thumping beats and experimental instrumentation to complement her surprisingly lush voice. But as she gains mainstream access and the pressure to build a crowd pleasing catalogue, (audiences have been very divided about her live performances and the paucity of a cohesive body of work) that the artist is starting to move away from her purist approach to music and trying to find a middle ground between Nigerian sensibilities and a globally marketable sound. This is probably the reason why, of all the segues we could have expected, Wavy went with the easiest one, she released a ‘Shaku Shaku’ song.
From a brand stand point, it makes little sense to make a song as ‘trend heavy’ as a ‘Shaku Shaku’. The problem with trends, in any industry, is that they immediately, automatically pigeonhole a song into an era. Even if the song does rise above the wash of songs trying to capitalize on the trend, it just becomes the song that is a synedoche for that trend, instead of transcending it altogether. For an alternative artist only starting to build her catalogue, a song that is expected to register in the minds of the listener because it references a dance trend seems a little like self sabotage.
The song itself doesn’t even nudge the needle away from what we’ve come to expect from WavyTheCreator. The verses and instrumental is excellent (par the course for Wavy, they can write a mean pop song) but the ‘Shaku Shaku’ hook is so unremarkable, it could be removed from the rest of the composition without significantly changing the song. In fact, it is so unremarkable, it drags the rest of the song into unremarkable territory.
WavyTheCreator is going this alone, and it is understandable that they will make some mistakes along the way. But rather the mistakes be made on the altar of craft rather than pandering to fickle mainstream audiences.
Stream ‘Shaku Shaku’ here.
Edwin Okolo is an author and journalist who has worked with YNaija, TheNativemag and the Naked Convos.