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Basketmouth having a successful music career after conquering Nigeria’s comedy scene is underrated

Following the release of his new album Horoscope, we spotlight Basketmouth ‘already successful’ music career alongside other Nigerians stars who have attempted the same thing.

Bright Okpocha, known as Basketmouth, is one of Nigerian’s top stand-up comedians — a career he commenced in the early 2000s. Growing up, he was interested in music before comedy, as he revealed some months after dropping his debut album via an Instagram post. However, his music interest only came full circle when he served us the Yabasi project. This album also served as a soundtrack to his comedy web series Papa Benji, which also premiered in 2020. 

Yabasi is heavily inspired by Nigerian highlife music and featured guest appearances from several Nigerian artists like Ladipoe, BOJ, Waje, Phyno, The Cavemen, Flavour, Duncan Mighty, Ice Prince, Dice Ailes, Chike, Illbliss, Peruzzi, and Bez. Ace Alternative/Indie producer Duktor Sett produced the 10-track project, and it generally received positive reviews.

Nigerian celebrities who tried music before him…

While Okpocha is making waves for switching industries, it is worth mentioning that few Nigerian celebrities have, in the past, tried to crossover into the music scene as well. During the early 2000s, a time when Nollywood was on the journey of becoming a multi-million industry, some popular big names attempted to dabble into music. Omotola JaladeGenevieve Nnaji, John Okafor (Mr. Ibu), Charles Okocha, Patience Ozokwor, Jim Iyke, and Nkem Owoh (Osoufia) are a few of the popular names that come to mind immediately. 

Also, as the 2000s progressed, Nollywood actress Tonto Dikeh infamously attempted to crossover into the music scene, releasing two singles titled “Hi” and “Itz Ova” and later on signed onto D’banj’s record label only to put an abrupt stop to making music.

Away from Nollywood actors and actresses who tried out music, comedians like Klint Da Drunk, whose real name is Afamefuna Klint Igwemba, started out in music in the early 2000s before diverting into movies and stand-up comedy. Gordons, another Nigerian comedian, used to be in a music group known as Dc Envoy.

 The result of their attempt was not entirely futile, as some of them left their marks. Yet, the few successes are only a sprinkle where the storm of failure rages.

Switching industries can be very hard if you lack the skill and determination to keep chugging along. Even complete musicians find it difficult because in Nigeria, the music industry is up there (with online content creation) as the most saturated. New artists pop up daily, trying to have a piece of the pie!

Thankfully for Basketmouth, he has both ingredients and the connections to put his work out there. Only time can tell how long he is willing to stick to his guns before something else catches his fancy.

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Is Banky W as versatile as well?

Many often argue that Banky W has shown his versatility over the years. Before debuting as a musician in 2006, he co-founded a record label known as Empire Mates Empire (EME) in 2002 as a business executive and eventually signed artists like WizkidNiyola, Skales, and Shaydee. However, in 2008, he tested the water as a music act with the release of “Ebute Metta,” a song that sampled Rihanna’s 2007 classic hit “Umbrella.”

Banky W and Adesua Etomi
Banky W and his wife, Adesua Etomi. Source: The Guardian.

Ever since then, Banky W has solidified himself as one of the top Nigerian artists enjoying mainstream success. But has he come close to Basketmouth as one of the few versatile Nigerian celebrities across industries?

Olubankole Wellington (his real name) stepped into Nollywood in an attempt at this. From his Wedding Party franchise part in 2016 and 2017, down to his appearances in Up North and Sugar Rush, in 2018 and 2019, respectively, it is clear that Banky’s game plan is to infuse himself into ensembles where a million other stars surround him and not required to really shine. So far, his acting roles have not required much acting, and when it does, like in Up North, he doesn’t blow minds.

Give me the 2000s Nkem Owoh any day!

On Horoscope album and what next

Basketmouth follows his 2020 album with Horoscope, made available on all music streaming platforms on Friday, 11 February 2022. Like Yabasi, the new album features familiar Nigerian artists from Buju, MI Abaga, Simi, Oxlade, Wande Coal, Falz, and more. It taps into themes of love, struggle, betrayal, and restlessness. The singer’s approach to music is very nuanced and cohesive; perhaps it is why his music endeavors have been generally praised and accepted by critics and music lovers. We hope to see more of the creative juggernaut in the country’s music space.

Listen to the new album Horoscope Below:

 

For now, the Renaissance Man, as he aptly named himself, his focused on promoting his project to the ends of the world. He has given no hint of wat is to come but we can only hope that it is more of the same.

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About The Author

Bolaji Akinwande

Bolaji Akinwande is a Music and Culture writer based in Lagos. Nigeria.

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