So far the Shaku Shaku as a sound has not grown rapidly but it also hasn't been phased out over the year and a half since we have been introduced to it.
No one can say where exactly on Lagos Mainland is the home of Shaku Shaku but what we do know is that it has evolved over time to worldwide acclaim, that is thanks to three men who are credited as its pioneers in the Nigerian music industry. Those three artistes are-Slimcase, Idowest and Mr Real.
By the time DJ Sidez‘s Oshozondi with Slimcase got popping in the later stages of 2017 and Idowest and Mr Real followed suit with Omo Shepeteriand Legbegbe respectively, Shaku Shaku had gone beyond a dance fad to a distinguishable sound. Those really were curious times. Like most dances, the Shaku Shaku was bound to fade away after a while. But as a genre, it fashioned out after just three songs and one that just about everyone from Wizkid to D’banj wanted in on, no one could say with certainty what time frame we were looking at. The creativity of our artistes could ensure the Shaku Shaku sound is spawned into various styles, consequently becoming a permanent fixture in our music or it could get so over-flogged in the usual Nigerian bandwagon manner and we tire of it in months.
So far the Shaku Shaku as a sound has not grown rapidly but it also hasn’t been phased out over the year and a half since we have been introduced to it.
Let us examine how its three initiators have fared.
It is ironic how the biggest of the Shaku Shaku Three is the only one with no hit song to his name. He understood on time just how much the fans loved his signature slurred speech and proceeded quite shrewdly,to make it the mainstay of the Slimcase brand. He works really hard to fuse a little new element or two every now and then to keep it fresh- skits, Nollywood-like incantations and slangs.
Otunba Lamba is featured by the very big artistes because he has a very distinctive style that is quite appealing. That above every other thing, guarantees him more staying power than his other two comrades and also buys him ample time to make a bonafide hit of his own. From DJ Sidez’s Oshozondi till this very moment, every song Slimcase is noted for is owned by another artiste-DJ Enimoney’s Diet with Tiwa Savage and Reminisce and Wizkid’s Gucci Snake. He released Bend Down when he had us all looking forward to Otunba Lamba and the very little attention it got helped him avoid questions on who really was on that song because it sounded nothing like Slimcase. Otunba Lamba finally came and it fell below the expectations set for it. The phrase is still noted more for its use in his real life ad-libs than for being a song.
Another edge Slimcase has had over Mr Real and Idowest is a superior understanding of the biz in showbiz. The dismal performance of Otunba Lamba meant a little something extra needed to be done and he got an all-star cast for his latest single which tries to push forth a new slang-Azaman.
Also, a look at his Instagram page will have you thinking you were the only one who didn’t know every song he was promoting at any point in time was a massive hit. He reposts tonnes of dance videos and gets celebrities to jump on the vibe. Slimcase is not only the biggest of the Shaku Shaku Three, but he also has the brightest prospects.
At some point, it seemed Idowest Awan Mafia was the only one of the three pioneers going to be left behind. Slimcase had become the official rave of the moment after DJ Enimoney‘s Diet and Mr Real had signed a Sony deal. Both were by far more active in the spotlight-granting interviews and doing more collaborations.
Then in May of 2018, Davido signed Idowest to DMW. OBO spoils his artistes silly no doubt but what it predominantly entailed was that a reclusive artiste not too keen on publicity was guaranteed a platform to showcase his talent in the mainstream rather than getting shoved aside after an average song or two and struggling to reintroduce himself afterwards.
But there were some fears that have proven justified. DMW had four big names including Davido himself and it was doubtful if Idowest would get the same time and resources to help advance his career. So far, he appears to be in the shadows of OBO, Mayorkun, Peruzzi and even Dremo. He is still yet to feature on any DMW single and his first single, Ji Masunfeaturing Davido was largely underwhelming. He tries to replicate his Shaku Shaku heroics on Who but it hasn’t turned out too good. By and large, Idowest has been not only the least active of the Shaku Shaku Three but also the least impressive.
Mr Real may not have the distinctive quality of Slimcase or the love and attention he commands but he has made the best songs so far. You would want to tag him the most talented of the trio if you remember his Legbegbe is widely adjudged the best ever Shaku Shaku song.
Late last year, the Sony music act after quite a wait, dropped the Shaku Shaku inspired Zzz featuring Falz, a catchy tune currently enjoying an above decent radio play. Its release went largely unnoticed and the little buzz it has generated is a pointer to the fact that Mr Real could do with better promotion.
His Valentine’s Day release, Antidote speaks to versatility; an edge he has over Slimcase and Idowest. Mr Real goes full blown pop on the groovy love jam and he does so fabulously well. He has had the best songs but what he really needs to do is to find a way of drawing attention to them and ultimately, himself. He has done more features than any of the other two but he badly needs to get on some high profile ones.
Throwing a birthday party that also served as the official premiere of the Legbegbe remix with Niniola and South African producers DJ Maphorisa and DJ Catzico was a nice touch and it would help to forge in that direction.
Verdict: Shaku Shaku might not be the defining sound of urban Nigerian music but it’s definitely still popular. The most disappointing of these three artistes is better strategically placed to conquer the Nigerian market while the biggest is noted for everything other than the quality of his songs. The best needs to find a way to make us notice him.
Some set of fortunes for the Shaku Shaku Three.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is based in Kano. He tweets via @Alaye_100.
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