Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Our Picks for Nigerian Entertainment Awards: Cheeky Soulstress and Pop Phenom

The vote has just begun for the Nigerian Entertainment Awards, and these are some of the best and worst tracks in the running.  Voting ends on August 27th, and the ceremony will be held on September 4th.

The video for "If You Ask Me," by Omawumi, is our clear favorite to win the Best Music Video category, and the best Nigerian song of the year, despite its bizarre absence from the Hottest Single category.  Director Clarence Peters' crisp cuts and clean stylings perfectly showcase this bouncy Lagos-meets-Memphis joint, as Omawumi sings in patois about a daughter impregnated by her father going for her abortion.  The sprightly nature of the track belies its dark subject and acts as a vehicle to bring its message to a mainstream audience, shimmying and sliding around our ears along the way.  Don't sleep on this, one of the best songs to come out of Africa all year.

Less inspired is a heavy-hitter for Hottest Single of the Year, "Mr. Endowed (Remix)" by D'Banj featuring Snoop Dogg and Don Jazzy.  It's a huge coup for D'Banj to have such a huge player in the American music business in his court, however the Doggfather's verse inspired little more than stifled yawns.  Plus, from his iced-out chandeliers to his burial of a vide-ho in American dollars, D'Banj has a barely concealed desire to sound "American" and comes across like Gretchen Wieners in Mean Girls–i.e. a desperate wannabe.  While it's a great break, I can't help but think he would be more at ease if he would stop doing the same stupid dance as Snoop.

For a smooth pop-rap track without the acne-scarred self-consciousness D'Banj brings, check out "Ice Prince," by Oleku featuring Brymo. Rhyming in English, Oleku's businesslike flow jumps gracefully from one simile to another, providing an acidic underpin to the sweetness of Brymo's lilting patois-laden hook.  Like Secret Deoderant, it's strong enough for a man, but made for a woman.  This song is blowing up the Nigerian pop charts and is a heavy favorite for Hottest Single of The Year.

More on the Nigerian Entertainment Awards as the deadline gets closer.  Vote here for your favorite!

Contributed by Hal Bergold
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