Afrobeats 2018: Nigeria Vs Cameroon

Published by Georges Munang on

Afrobeats 2018 Nigeria Vs Cameroon

In general terms, contemporary African popular music is referred to as “Afropop”. Afropop does not refer to any specific style of sound and rhythm. Most contemporary genres of African popular music build on cross-pollination with western popular music.

Among African popular music such as blues, jazz, salsa, zouk, rumba, and makossa is the trending genre “Afrobeat”

Afrobeats has adopted western styles like musical instruments, recording studios, labels, big budget videos, blending soft, hard and fast electronic rhythms with sweet and danceable melodies garnished with African vernaculars, proverbs, slangs, colonial parlance and largely Pidgin English.

Afrobeats 2018: Nigeria vs Cameroon

You must have been very conversant with this phrase Cameroon vs Nigeria in African football but I am here to introduce to you the new domain of contention between these two amazing countries.

Cameroon and Nigeria share a lot in common ranging from territorial predestination to share socio cultural similarities.

Note that when I talk of Cameroon more focus is on the English part of Cameroon. Historically Anglophone Cameroon had been part of Nigeria for 34 years (1919 – 1953) this implies that they should share a lot in common music and movies inclusive.

Talking about music producers in Africa big names like Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, South Africa, and Ghana comes to mind respectively. These countries got the biggest content in the African musical lexicon.

However, the bone of contention is with the trending genre Afrobeats which is our point of focus in this cultural and diplomatic write-up. When afrobeats took over makossa in the 2000s, Cameroonian youths were left in the cold watching and admiring their counterparts in Nigeria enjoy fame from the new style afrobeats.

Having considered makossa as old school the Cameroon music industry became very dormant thus permitting Nigerian music to penetrate through the youths and dominate especially the English part of the country

Little efforts from the Mel Bs, Daddy cool, West Don, General Toxic, Big G Baba, Excelante gave no hope for Cameroon urban music.

It was not until 2011/2012 when Jovi, now Mboko God released the street anthem “Don 4kwat” that a new feeling aroused in Cameroon music.
Then came Stanley Enow’s “Hien pere” which took Camer hip-hop worldwide.

Now with the era of Mr Leo, Locko, Franko, Reniss, Magasco and a cream of 237 hip hop talents, Cameroon has put a stamp on the afro pop fact book at the international level and it will not be surprising that other countries see her as a threat.

While writing this post I decided to sample the opinions of some Nigerians in Mpoppi Douala concerning their take on the Cameroon urban music and here are some of their opinions:

“Hmm! Camerooooon music wow! Mr Leo I think they sing so nice and their music makes more sense than our Nigerian Artists sef!” says excited Olama while hiding her face

“No! Cameroon music is very good, you can see in my phone nearly all songs are Cameroonian songs but they have only one problem tell them to sing more in pidgin… that their Cameroon pidgin is so sweet in music but all they sing is in French… even when I go back home in Nigeria with my phone my friends and younger ones will scramble to transfer Cameroonian pidgin songs”. Obaka noted

When I tried asking them what they will prefer between a Cameroonian artist and a Nigerian artist, the general answer was “I prefer Naija because their songs relate with my culture”.

Why Cameroon is a threat to Nigeria

Study this table carefully

AFROBEAT 2018 TOP PRODUCING COUNTRIES IN AFRICA

country Market Content Media
Nigeria 98% 92% 20%
Cameroon 40% 90% 8%
South Africa 70% 40% 99%
Ghana 50% 70% 19%
Cote d’Ivoir 80% 50% 80%

Munang.net 2018

The table above illustrates that as far as African popular music is concern (afrobeats) Nigeria got the biggest share in terms of the market and content, South Africa unbeatably controls the media while Cameroon comes with a great share in content but has no market nor media.

The logical interpretation is that Nigeria as an entertainment giant respects South Africa as a monopolist in content exposure but fears Cameroon as she is a competitor in content production.


Nigeria’s entertainment strategists see the potential in Cameroon exploiting their vast market and supplying South African media with excellent content once the Cameroonian policymakers and music strategists realize the formula.

This logical illustration is empirical in the sense that the Nigerian entertainment market has been structured to operate in a closed system which makes it practically impossible for foreign artists especially from Cameroon to penetrate.

Nigeria will prefer to align musically with other French African countries like Cote d’Ivoire and Congo because they are not rivals in the leading urban music genre.

Cameron remains a threat to Nigeria because in a club in Europe or America, for example, the instrumentals and sound of Davido, Techno, Wizkid, Round Town, Wizboy, Timaya, Yemi Alade, Mavins will only clash with a similar instrumental and sound from Mr Leo, Magasco, Locko, Daphne, Bless B, Blanche Baily.

This is because the Dj must have entered the afrobeats slot and you can agree with me most popular danceable Afrobeats hits songs comes from Nigeria and Cameroon.

Speaking to Munang.net the CEO of SAB movement, Clovis Akuchu noted that Cameroon could be a threat to Nigeria because first, Cameroon is a bilingual country and most of the artists now try singing in English and French.

Which means after exploiting the francophone market they could actually penetrate the Anglophone market including of course Nigeria thus, logically dominating the whole continent.

“You know Nigeria considers us a francophone country music wise and they value artists featured on MTV Base than on Trace Africa. Local artists find themselves aired on MTV Base only on the Franco chat which is very insignificant”. Up coming Bala2k

“Back home the industry is still young and the economy is hard… so artists are forced to sing in French in order to get bookings in Douala, Yaounde and Bafussam for them to put food on the table before thinking of international adventures” he added

Proof of urban music clash

If you still doubt the fact that there exists an urban music clash between these two countries, then ponder with me

Knowing very well that afrobeats is a fusion of pop makossa and highlife why is that no Nigerian super star has remixed or even featured a makossa legend in a song

Apart from Techno why is it so difficult for Nigerian stars to recognize by mentioning “makossa from Cameroon” in their lyrics?

Why will a learned superstar like Davido in his song “One of a kind” vehemently say “dance makossa from Congo” or in one of his utterances in Douala say he knows only Samuel Etoo and Stanley Enow in Cameroon.

These and many uncited instances show how Nigeria is skeptical aligning with Cameroon in urban music. Just like Nigeria Cameroon clashes with cote d’Ivoir where Ivoirians accuse Cameroonians of stealing their music style to make waves. For example, Ivorian Vlogger WillSteph accuses Franko and Maalox of exploiting Coupe decaler beats to shine in the name of 237 rap style.

I believe that a Cameroonian in Buea or Bamenda can sing a quality hit song that will be a banker in Enugu, Calaba and why not Lagos. It is just a matter of strategy.


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