The question is, ‘can Bella Shmurda be stopped?’ and the answer is ‘No’, at least not anytime soon considering his latest single “World”.
It has taken Akinbiyi Abiola Ahmed, known by his stage name Bella Shmurda, approximately two years to set the Nigerian music scene ablaze. Fans will remember it as being less than that while those who doubted him will wonder what took them so long to join his camp.
Ahmed had instantly caught the attention of Afrobeats listeners who loved and element of street sounds in their songs. The appetite for these kinds of songs have been whetted for a long time by the likes of Dagrin, Olamide, Reminisce, Phyno, and more recently Naira Marley.
In some circles, the original version of Vision2020 was already an earworm in early 2018, and for other mainstream listeners it took the contribution of Olamide for them to listen to the song. Noticeably, the influence of the heavyweight indigenous rapper led to a better mixing and sound engineering process. Thus, when Bella Shmurda released Vision2020 Remix with Olamide, it was an instant hit.
The song’s description on YouTube tells the story of how Olamide had requested to be on the song personally. For an artist as obscure as Bella, rising at a time when Nigerian songs were going international at a fast pace, this was already an achievement.
Like most breakout artists in Nigeria, Bella used his debut to talk about the struggles he faced while trying to make it in the music industry. Ironically, when you listen to the song, its lyrics seem to be coming from someone who has already succeeded not a newbie.
Little matter though listeners were grooving to it and, Olamide’s rap verse also improved the quality. ID Cabasa, the brain behind several hit songs, produced the track. This single proved to be an effective launching pad for Bella to chase his dream of becoming a renowned star.
“Only You” and High Tension EP
On the back of his early success, Bella Shmurda dropped “Only You” in October 2019, and while it never got to be as big as his debut single, it proved one thing to listeners, that he knew exactly what he was doing. His talent was already apparent that Vision2020 was no fluke.
He followed “Only You” with High Tension EP at the beginning of 2020. It contained six tracks, including his debut single with Olamide.
“Omnipotent,” the first track of the EP, was later released as a single, and it proved to be a good song, but just like how his second single had not been able to outdo the first, this track could not outperform the second as well.
“Sho Mo Mi” was another track off High Tension, and it has proven to be the most popular over time. He released a video for it in April 2020. While his songs were far from disappointing, it was impossible to shake off the feeling that Vision2020 was still overshadowing his later works.
Was Bella Shmurda already shackled to the curse of always being under the shadow of his past success? It was too early to pass judgement, but that is what makes fans hard to control. You always have to give them something better, or they will lose interest in your art.
“Liquor”, “Amope”, and “Upgrade” were the other three tracks that the High Tension short body of work brought. It appears that the EP had been ill-timed, or rushed as some fans put it. Whatever the case, the young artist had to do something to keep his fans around. Visison2020 was outliving its purpose, and it was already 2020, two years later.
In October 2020, Bella Shmurda teamed up with Zlatan Ibile and Lincoln to drop the hit track, “Cash App”. The single finally hit the mark and proved to be a liberator for the singer.
“Cash App” topped Nigeria song charts on Apple Music, Audiomack and Boomplay for several months after its release. The song’s success had the desired effect as fans were no longer talking about Bella Shmurda topping Vision2020 and were now talking about how he could beat what he achieved with Cash App.
The song gave him his first major music award, the Street Music of the Year, at the 2020 City People Entertainment Awards. He also won the Next Rated (Male) award, at the same event and failed to clinch a hat-trick of awards after losing out on the Revelation of the Year crown, which went to Buju.
The prestigious Headies Next Rated award also eluded him in 2021, going to Omah Lay, despite getting nominated, but if anything, it shows that he is doing something right.
He and his musical father Olamide came together again on the Carpe Diem album for the track “Triumphant”. The song did not blow up when the album was released on 8 October 2020, and it only began to catch attention when the rapper re-released it with a video in November 2020.
With “Triumphant” and “Cash App”, Bella Shmurda became a constant feature on many Nigerian music charts. Shmurda also had a forgettable feature on Davido’s “Fade” which did not see commercial success. His part in Masterkraft’s “Hallelu” paid off, so, it cancels this minor setback.
In January 2021, Bella Shmurda dropped his first single of the year titled “Rush”. It proved to be another chart-topper from the talented hit-maker.
In the song, Shmurda hinted at drug use and intoxication as well both his life and career being on a fast lane. The visuals of the single also reinforced the message. It begged the question, could Bella Shmurda’s astronomical rise be stopped?
Bella Shmurda releases “World”
In answer, Bella Shmurda released “World” on 2 April 2021. The early responses to the single prove that it will be another commercial success for the Afropop superstar (he has clearly earned that tag now).
Here are what people are saying about his song:
Bella Shmurda discovered the key to the music industry and I’m happy about how he has maintained the consistency in pushing his music career to the WORLD.
— A$AP Lerry (@_AsiwajuLerry) April 2, 2021
Bella Shmurda really said a lot on this World song, hits the right nerve. Damn.
— Alhaji Royz?? (@royzkingin) April 2, 2021
Bella Shmurda really went deep on that “World” track
The guy no send
— Roviel ? (@ObongRoviel) April 2, 2021
… and this is not where it ends. In fact, this seems like another starting point for him. He recently met with Grammy-award winning Afrobeats icon Wizkid, and the both of them are working together on a track which has the working title, “E don spoil”.
Bella Shmurda is in good company as he is rising to the summit at the same time as many other peers. The competition to give the best appears to be healthy at this time and will hopefully continue to be so.