You would have to go as far back as 2017 for the last time popular music awards MOBO held. But after a long hiatus, the awards has returned with a bang as it seeks to reach “new heights”.
There was visible excitement when MOBO founder, Kanya King, said: “Very proud to be back. We are returning with even more determination and energy to support and boost our culture wherever we can.”
The award platform prides itself as one which celebrates “black excellence and culture” and a season where Afrobeats is fast gaining traction on the international music front, it appears as a good time to relaunch such the erstwhile awards show.
More so, Nigerian stars comprise the vanguard for Afrobeats and it is not surprising that, the awards shortlist for the ‘Best African Act’ category underlines the significant strength of Nigeria’s music industry. The likes of Davido, Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, Fireboy, Rema, Adekunle Gold, and Wizkid were nominated for the gong.
Perhaps more than at any other time across history, there is an overflow of music stars who are passionately flying the flag of Afrobeats and taking it beyond borders. If one were to do a quick run-down of Naija stars, you would start with Tiwa Savage, Simi, Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy, Patoranking, Mayorkun, Peruzzi, Yemi Alade, Fireboy, Rema etc.
Then the realisation hits that the likes of Johnny Drille, Joeboy, Korede Bello, Reekado Banks, Naira Marley, Zlatan, Qdot, Niniola, Brymo, Mr Eazi, Teni, Tekno and breakout stars such as Bella Shmurda and Omah Lay have not been mentioned. Yet, the list is not even close to being comprehensive because there are DJs, veterans, reality stars and up-and-coming acts who have not been mentioned.
Despite the pandemic onslaught, the period between August and now witnessed arguably the highest traffic of music productions as music fans had to put albums on queues on their playlists, such was the torrent.
Another category which saw Nigerians emerge was the Best International Act, as Rema and Burna Boy made the shortlist.
With the awards set to hold on December 9th, it is good that MOBO is back. Significantly, the reality it meets on ground is that Nigerian stars are setting the standards.
Kola Muhammed has imprint across local and international media. He is passionate about trends in the domains of culture, communication and technology.