There are a lot of things we don’t think are compatible without giving them a try. Or maybe we think they could work together but don’t just know how. Perhaps we’ve even gone on to try but have failed a few times. Whatever the case, one thing is for sure- perfection, or in this case,compatibility, can only be achieved if only we keep trying, keep improving, keep getting better.
American singer Ciara and Nigerian demi god Tekno replicated this. Their song “Freak Me” is a clear example of how hard work, persistence and belief in oneself can pay off.
Africa has tried so hard to find a common ground with the West when it comes to music. Afrobeats and RnB don’t exactly seem compatible. So many have tried over the years to bring the two sounds together, but even though they haven’t exactly failed in doing this, they haven’t exactly found that common ground between the two sounds.
Afrobeats first started getting attention from the West through the legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti. His music appealed to the white man and that gave Afrobeats a chance to compete and seek a common ground with them. Ever since then, so many Africans have ridden on that success to create more music that would be acceptable in the West.
Wizkid, who is flying Africa’s flag so high right now is not the first to do this but he seems to be the closest to achieving that compatibility. He has made a lot of music with folks from the West. He has given Africa and Afrobeats a lot of hype, publicity and awareness. His collaborations with Drake and Future alludes to this.
His pattern, however for music made for the global market seems to tilt a little towards the Caribbean sounds. That is understandable though, because even though Afrobeats is getting attention from the West, it has not exactly gotten to that point where it can be referred to as a global sound, a sound that is accepted in all parts of the world regardless of culture, skin colour and orientation. Yes, as hard as it may appear to accept, Afrobeats is yet to hit that level.
But “Freak Me” seems to find that common ground. You cannot tell from the beat if it is Afrobeats or RnB. The two sounds were carefully meshed together to produce a somewhat defying tune that seems acceptable to its listeners.
The lyrics have no restrictions. Tekno brought on his African vibe and Nigerian pidgin to the game without having to worry if those in the Caribbean or Asia will understand him. His flows were original and African.
Ciara gave it her best, not trying to please Africans since the song was made with Africa in mind, by throwing one or two Nigerian Pidgin English. Apart from the fact that “Freak Me” was sampled from Tiwa Savage’s 2015 song “Before Nko” with features D’Prince, she went straight into it like she would do if it was any other song.
And the fact that Ciara got her inspiration from Tiwa Savage’s “Before Nko” goes ahead to show that Africans are not the only ones who have been trying to find a common ground between African sounds and sounds from the West.
In the end it shows that if we put our minds to it and work hard, focus on improving and getting better then we can find success in whatever we set out to do. Ciara’s new song “Freak Me” with Tekno is a proof of this. It shows how compatible Afrobeats and RnB or any other sound from the West can be.