The huge fame enjoyed by Fuji music and those who took it as a genre of music from the 1960s till date is being threatened by lack of emerging talents. Or better still, lack of structures to try the available talents or ensure the genre continuity.
It is no longer news that Fuji music was born out of Muslim music improvisation called ‘Were’. Young Muslim boys wake up at dawn to provide what can be described as single melody music to wake fellow Muslims up during the fasting month of Ramadan every year. This has been on for years until it metamorphosed into what is now known as Fuji.
The metamorphosis of Were into Fuji was largely credited to the late Fuji Lord, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister. Barrister died in 2010 but, before his death, he was regarded as arguably the most successful Fuji singer and usually, his name comes first anywhere Fuji is mentioned.
Aside Barrister, other notable stars like Kolington Ayinla, Wasiu Ayinde, Shina Akanni, Adewale Ayuba, Wasiu Alabi, Saheed Osupa, Abass Obesere, Sefiu Alao, Sule Alao, Sule Adio, Safejo Amama, Taye Currency, Remi Aluko, Barry Showkey, Oyama Azeez among many others out there.
Fuji music for almost six decades now has provided fame and fortune for many Nigerians most especially within the Southwest region. Others from outside the Southwest and even outside Nigeria has also contributed to Fuji. Producing the likes of K1, Pasuma, and Osupa who have ruled the Fuji scene for over three decades now.
Virtually all Fuji stars who rose to limelight in the genre did so with the help of a good structure provided by established Record Companies. The story is not the same today as such Record Companies don’t even exist. Those in existence parading as Record Companies are mere Record Marketers. They lack the structure to nurture fresh talents to stardom.
A critical look at Fujidom reveals that the case has always been that, the highly successful ones among them ensure the structure that took them to the top are destroyed. The reason for this is not farfetched. Fuji music cannot be separated from the rivalry. The most successful of Fuji stars will do everything to get rid of any opportunity that will take anyone from below the ranks to his level.
Afropop music which emerged towards the end of the 90s has had a negative effect on many indigenous kinds of music. Its effect and how Afropop hijacked all fans of Fuji, Juju, Apala, Highlife, and Reggae has been a major tsunami in the music industry.
However, Fuji was the only indigenous music to survive the assault. As early as the year 2000, Fuji stars such as K1 and Pasuma were already collaborating with Popstars and were performing on the same stage with the absence of other genres.
Unlike Juju music, Fuji walked its way into the hearts of Nigerian youths and with a lot of change in dress sense of Fuji artistes pioneered by Pasuma, they soon came at par with the then Popstars. With these achievements, the late Barrister surely will be proud of these guys in his grave.
Meanwhile, the achievements recorded by K1, Pasuma, and Osupa, the top three Fuji stars by rating today may have disappeared by the end of the next decade. This is because these guys have failed to do what is obtainable with the Popstars by reproducing themselves for the legacy to continue.
Unlike Barrister, whose influence on K1 remains the cornerstone of his success, K1 cannot boast of a single soul singlehandedly raised to stardom by him. K1 no doubt was a protégé of late Barrister. He went through Barrister’s music school of thought. But, with close to 40 years of enjoying his fame, Wasiu Ayinde has not mentored a single soul to national limelight – he doesn’t even have the structure to do so. Same with Pasuma and Osupa.
This duo has the most attention in the last two decades. The attention they get from mostly unnecessary beef get them so carried away that they tend to forget Fuji must live after them. Barrister played his part by leaving behind three superstars who by global standard can stand anywhere in the world and lay claim to stardom as Fuji stars.
The confusion here is that one cannot categorically state whether these guys have the intention of doing such but have no idea of how to go about it in the 21st-century music setting. But observers have argued that they should have learned a lesson or two from their Afropop counterparts and use the same formula to secure the future of Fuji.
Pop stars are known for reproducing themselves within a period of 5years. A Popstar hit stardom and the next project is to float a Record company. We saw that with EME Records which produced Wizkid. The same with Skales, DJ Xclusive, Shaydee, and Niyola. All these guys brought together by Banky W who leveraged on his own fame at that time, to push all these guys to stardom.
The good story is that most of the above-mentioned guys have left EME to start their own Record companies and this means Banky has been able to duplicate himself. Davido is there with DMW and he is bound to also produce Megastars from the platform. Kcee pushed Harrysong to stardom with Fivestar music and Harrysong is doing same to upcoming artistes with AlterPlate Music company. These guys will continue to dominate. Tuface runs Hypertek records.
The question is why Fuji won’t die after K1, Pasuma, and Osupa. Aside these three, no other Fuji artiste of below 70 years have the National attention they have. What have they done with it? We can rest assured that, new Popstar will continue to emerge because there is a structure. But Fuji may seize to exist after Pasuma and Osupa.
K1 has no structure. Osupa has no structure and he is full of himself. Pasuma on the other side looks like the guiltiest. He even has a Record label, (Wasbar Records) but, guess what? He signed a Pop artiste Frankie Free, not Fuji that gave him the fame. To him, his colleagues in Fuji music are too ‘local’ compare to Pop. Is this a good precedent?
The point today is that, unlike when Pasuma was performing on the same stage with early days Pop stars like the Remedies stars of the late 90s, Daddy Showkey among others of maybe 3 or 5 years age difference, Pasuma today is still performing with Small Doctor who is about the same age with his second daughter, Barakat.
The implication of this is that there is nowhere in Nigeria or abroad where Fuji has a superstar in his or her 20s with the stardom to stand on the same stage with Olamide, Wizkid, Small Doctor or Davido. When the need arises, we still have to call on 51-year-old Pasuma to come on stage and ‘sagging’ his trousers to cut off 30 years away and meet up with the energy of these youngsters.
What will be the fate of Fuji music after Pasuma? K1 is over 60, Pasuma is 51 and Osupa should be 49 or 50 too. We don’t even have anyone in his 30s. The next generation is all above the 40s or mid-40s. Abass Obesere, Sefiu Alao, Malaika, Safejo, Currency, Remi Aluko, Oyama Azeez and these are fringe stars, or their image bartered by these three elephants.
K1, Pasuma, Osupa rakes in Millions of Naira for performances every week. Meanwhile, Aside from the above mentioned, there is nowhere within or outside Nigeria where a Teenage Fuji artiste or anyone within the 20s or 30s get two hundred thousand Naira for the show.
My conclusion is if Fuji failed to live beyond 2025 or 2030, these three should be blamed. They have all it takes to do more for Fuji which did everything for them but, they were selfish.
I am particularly disappointed with Pasuma. He got so immersed in his Pop relationship that he almost forgot he is a Fuji star. Using that to gain more popularity isn’t a problem for me. The effect of the action on Fuji music is my concern. Pasuma signed a Pop artiste to Wasbar Records.
Has anyone imagine a situation whereby, Davido or Wizkid signs a Fuji artiste. Is that Imaginable? The biggest shame in this whole act is that the only young star now seen as the future of Fuji is Destiny Boy. Can anyone stand and tell us Destiny Boy is truly a FUJI artiste?
An artiste who cannot stand and perform with a live band is not a FUJI artiste. Fuji music doesn’t dwell on DJ track. It dwells on a massive understanding of rhythm and percussion. And so, Destiny Boy is NOT a Fuji artiste.
It is a concern that there is no under 40 Fuji stars. Meaning that 75 percent of today’s Fuji fans are above 40. What will happen to the generation of current under the 40s, 30s, 20s, and teenagers? Fuji has no plan for them – the end is nearer to Fuji.
– THE PAGE