Well, not all hits are loud. Impact is the most important thing. There are also sleeper hits. The consensus amongst a lot Nigerian music critics is that Fireboy DML‘s ‘Jealous’ defined the sleeper hit camp in the first half of 2019.
But maybe we were all looking in the wrong direction. ‘Jealous’ has since reinvented itself to become a genuine hit, anyway. The song we should all have been looking at is ‘Money’ by Nigerian singer, Soft.
Released in January, the guitar-tinged Igbo hi-life tune has been the most durable Nigerian hit – yes, hit – of 2019. A few might frown at why we’re even calling it a hit. They will have a point. The song never really became viral and it never had noise. It also never really became the pinnacle of mainstream obsession either at alte or shepeteri level.
That said, it was never silent. Since its release, the song has been in regular radio rotation, its videos have great numbers and it regularly became soundtrack to several social media videos.
When Big Brother Naija’s Mike made his entrance onto Ebuka’s stage, the song punctuated his female-obsessed steps. Nonetheless, it never really made a splash like hits, ‘Dumebi’ by Rema or even ‘Baby’ by Joeboy.
However, what is a hit should never be limited to songs that have a stranglehold on the mainstream. ‘Hit’ should also be accorded to durable songs that subconsciously take a place in people’s minds over time and have an impact.
Although, they never make noise like what we deem hits, they are liked and they remain in rotation in whatever circles music has a place.
What is a sleeper hit?
On that article I defined a sleeper hit as, “A song/film that lacks a grand launch or huge commercial push, but sustains itself over a long period of time and becomes a huge success.”
‘Money,’ definitely fits the mould. It’s been six months since its release and its remix, which features Wizkid waxes stronger by the minute.
What then can we call this song?
A hit, the most durable song of 2019 and Nigeria’s quintessential soundtrack to ‘Money’ in 2019, not ‘Dangote’ by Burna Boy.
Burna Boy’s fans will dispute this and they will have a point. But the neutrals who can actually think will agree that ‘Dangote’ is not necessarily a first grade hit. No, it’s not about YouTube numbers.
On the more ‘audacious claims’ side, ‘Money’ is a more durable song that ‘Dangote’ which barely had three months of relevance. ‘Money’ is also a bigger song than ‘Dangote.’
‘Money’ is still here and it seems it could really get stronger from here. Asides that, ‘Money‘ sold people a dream of money while ‘Dangote’ toyed with the idea of harsh honesty and documenting human obsession with money.