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Notable stars who thrilled us in the past

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Eric Dumo

Over the years, Nigeria’s entertainment industry has grown to become one of the biggest in the world. From music to movies, dance to other aspects synonymous with the country’s culture and flavour – the practitioners in this industry and their works are always appreciated in any part of the world one visits today.

But building the sector to the brand that now commands such following wasn’t easy – some people especially the early starters, paid heavy prices in trying to pave the way for today’s generation. Interestingly, while some of these early starters have continued to keep us glued to the edges of our seats, others, hit hard by the uncertainties of life, have sadly fizzled away from the radar in recent years. Saturday Beats takes a look at some musicians in this category whose stars appear to have dimmed.

Azadus

Olalekan Fadeyi, widely known as Azadus – acronym for A Zealous and Determined Unbowed Soldier, was among those that held us spellbound with his amazing talent in the past. Born in the early 1970s, he joined Nigeria’s hip hop movement DEF “O”CLAN in 1995, rocking several shows across the nation.

His unique voice would later stand him out of the crowd years later when he finally went solo, signing and becoming a household name under Kennis Music label, one of the country’s biggest recording companies. He dished out hits after hits during his time at the label, becoming the first Nigerian reggae artiste to be nominated for the prestigious Kora Awards.

But since the turn of the millennium, the musician has since fizzled away from limelight, dropping the curtains too quickly on a career that promised so much but delivered on a little.

“A failed career belongs to a dead person. When someone is dead, there is no hope but as long as the person is not dead, there is still opportunity for the person to get back on top. There is no such thing; my career is very much alive. My career cannot fail till I am dead,” the artiste said in a previous interview with Saturday Beats.

Azadus is yet to rediscover the form and charm that endeared him to millions of music fans across and beyond Nigeria in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

DJ Zeez

A native of Mbano in Imo State, Kingsley Elikpo widely known as DJ Zeez or simply Zeez as he now prefers to be called, controlled a large following a few years ago in Nigeria’s music scene especially following the success of his hit – O fo ka sibe, a tune still popular with many today.

The artiste, who also doubled as a producer in those days, collaborating with other top stars in the land to deliver quality music, won several local and continental awards for his works at the time.

However, in recent years, not much had been heard from the hip hop crooner, who like Azadus, appears to have gone under the radar after first making a bold entry into the country’s entertainment scene.

The singer was ordered by a court in 2016 to refund the sum of N22m to HF Music, the record label he was signed to for breach of contract. The ruling added salt to injury for the artiste who is yet to find his balance.

Tony Tetuila

Since running for a seat in the Kwara State House of Assembly under the platform of the All Progressives Congress in the 2015 general elections, not much has been heard of former golden boy of Nigeria’s music industry – Tony Tetuila. Though in 2016, the musician tried to relaunch his career with a song titled ‘Iwofa lenu,’ much has not been heard from him in recent times.

The situation is in sharp contrast to the late 1990s and early 2000s when the artiste’s songs were almost like an anthem on the lips of everybody across most parts of Nigeria. Young and old, male and female – his sound was the preferred choice for all. ‘You don hit my car’, till date his biggest work, topped the charts for several weeks, rocking the airwaves for months unhindered. He was the star everybody wanted to see and listen to at the time.

“Returning is in the hands of the Almighty, but being good is the gift God has given me.  I do not have problem with whoever is there now but once I’m back, I am back because my space will always be my space,” Tetuila said in a recent interview.

His comeback is still being expected by millions of fans once mesmerised by his musical talent.

Sasha P

One of Nigeria’s leading female rappers till date, Yetunde Alabi popularly known as Sasha P, has remained largely anonymous in recent years. Fondly referred to as ‘First Lady’ of Nigeria’s Hip Hop music segment, the trained lawyer and graduate of the University of Lagos burst onto the scene at a time when there were very few females doing Hip Hop music in the country. Her first single, ‘Adara,’ was a hit back then, winning accolades and a growing fan base at the time. Her success in fact helped open the floor for other young females, who saw rap music as a genre they could explore, too.

In 2013, Sasha announced her desire to take a break from music to concentrate on her fashion business. Apart from that, she had also been engaged in humanitarian works and other pursuits, leaving fans to wonder when her sonorous voice would pierce through a speaker near them again. Not much has been heard of her in terms of music lately.

Weird MC

Weird MC is another female musician, who commanded large following in the early days of hip hop music in Nigeria. The rapper, who gained prominence in 1996 with her song – ‘Allen avenue,’ followed it up with several hits, among them ‘Ijoya’, which rocked the airwaves in 2006 and the years that followed.

But since that period, all efforts to see her accelerate on this same path have proven a bit difficult. Fans are still waiting to see if she’ll bounce back once again or simply remain at the background.

Sauce Kid

Only few young artistes in Nigeria can boast of making a grand entry into the industry the way Sauce Kid later known as Sinzu did several years back. Coming with a flavour the industry had never seen at the time, he was simply in a class of his own, amassing dozens of new fans by the day.

Apart from his first single titled ‘Omoge’  a collabo with the legendary Mike Okri, the release of ‘Yebariba’ not too long after further sealed the young man’s place in the scheme of things. There was no stopping him.

But things soon took a different turn in the years that followed after Sinzu moved from one controversy to another. Reports also claimed that he spent time in the lock after he committed different offences in the United States. Those, who know him closely attest to his talent and promise.

“The music game is a hard game everywhere. It is hard to generate money from music, and Sinzu wanted more. So he moved to the US, to relax and recoup and come back. That was how it ended.” Obi Asika, founder of Storm Records, said.

Bigiano

Babalola Olugbenga widely known as Bigiano is another talent that once thrilled us with good music. Starting out his journey as a member of defunct singing group, Triple B, the light-complexioned artiste fizzled away from sight just about when the world was salivating and demanding more from him. His monster hit, ‘Shayo,’ was and still a club banger till this day.

“I decided to take a little break to re-brand myself. When the fame of ‘Shayo’ came, I couldn’t handle it. I deliberately made the decision to go off the scene in 2011 to re-position my brand,” he said in a recent interview.

Apart from the fact that he shuttles between Nigeria and South Africa, not much has been heard of Bigiano in recent times.

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