One of the best ways to experience the energy and talent of an afrobeats artist is through their live music performances. These intimate live sets, recorded at the desk of NPR Music’s Bob Boilen, showcase the raw and unfiltered sound of some of the biggest names in Afrobeats. Here’s a review and rating of some of our favorite Nigerian artists while they perform their hit songs.
Adekunle starts off with the infamous Sinner. The instruments come in smoothly with the violin powerfully carrying the song’s melody. Adekunle projects his voice coolly and sweetly. We would say his performance of the song doesn’t carry as much emotion as the track but he hits those high notes where necessary. Adekunle injects more energy with ‘Something Different’, playing around with the song’s structure in an appealing way. He ended on a high note with strong vibes from ‘Okay’; the instruments harder than ever with prominent percussion. Adekunle really put together a show with a strong list from his most famous tracks.
First impressions matter and Tiwa already grabs you with her sonorous first lines from ‘Dangerous Love’. Its smooth jazzy instrumentals infect listeners with a dance vibe to the song. Koroba’s performance is audacious and carefree; just like the actual record. It’s hard to rate Tiwa’s performance without being biased as she capitalizes on her heavenly vocals to serenade, and that weighty bass from the instrumentals doesn’t help fair judging at all.
Burna Boy’s Tiny Desk performance is a masterclass. His smooth deep vocals are supported by a female backup singer creating infectious energy as he plays with adlibs. Burna Boy performs four of his hits ‘Gbona,’ ‘Wetin Man Go Do,’ ‘Ye,’ and ‘Dangote’.
One stand-out song had to be Dangote. Burna drove the urgency of hustle in his performance. Burna’s vocals were good but on the performance front, he was a bit flat with his expressions.
You know it’s good when Davido gives us the classics, and this performance was full of them. One thing that will never lack from a Davido performance is energy and he brought just that, hitting those gritty high notes we enjoy. His performance could’ve been better without the backups as there was little synergy between them and Davido. It almost felt like they were holding their own concert.
Herein is a situation where the performance is better than the actual songs because Tems intellectually weaves her voice with the instrumentals; knowing the right time and style to blend her lyrics. Looku Looku did it for us with the very evident emotions. One can tell that the song came from a place of experience.
Vulnerable. Fireboy starts off on a solemn note with ‘Like I Do’. His vocals prove that artists can sound amazing naturally. Fireboy’s performance of Peru was the highlight of the performance.
Omah Lay’s performance felt subpar to what he can do. His vocals felt flat, but you could feel the underlying quality in his voice. One of the better songs performed had to be ‘I’m A Mess’. Overall, the performance left much to be desired.
We don’t like bad words on our platform, so we will save our thoughts on this one. But one thing is sure, and it is that not all fusions under the “Afrobeats” umbrella should have live performances, and we need 2019 Naira back ASAP.
Summing up a day in Solomon's life would include: anime, manga, marvel breakdowns, writing and workout. If he's not doing any of these, he's either listening to indie pop or fan-boying Dominic Fike.