From the man who wanted you to Hola-How Wizkid is becoming the face of Africa to the world

Ayo Ibrahim Balogun popularly known as Wizkid was born July 16 1990 to a polygamous family in Surulere area of Lagos state. His rise to prominence wasn’t very smooth but at it is said hard work pays. He started his music career at a very early age (11years) and formed a band in his church called “the glorious five”; He was then known as “lil prinz”. That was where he met with veteran producer “OJB jazreel” (RIP) who groomed him, prevented him from recording any song and made him learn from A list artist that comes to make music in the studio. He was later snapped up by in 2009 by Banky W’s record label EME and there is journey into stardom began.

His first song under EME “Hola at your boy” (2 Jan 2011) became the nation’s anthem; the song grew on everybody which eventually got him a nomination for best pop single at the heading. His debut album soon came out in which he foretold his own fortune by naming it “SUPERSTAR” his album became a smash and was nominated for album of the year though he didn’t win but got the next rated award with a car and in his speech he promised never to let his fans down in which he didn’t.

After the release of the album his fan base grew it was even rumored that he brought close to 24milllion naira monthly in which he later demanded 50% of every amount he makes and this brought friction between him and Banky W which led to him changing his manager and departing EME, on 30th April 2013 EME was reunited with Wizkid but he had launched is own record label “star boy” on (march 5th, 2013) and signed his first act L.A.X.

It was only a matter of time before his second album was dropped and this ascertained that Wizkid is here to stay, songs like “jaiye jaiye” ft. legendary Femi kuti and “On top your matter” became massive hit, international acts like Akon, Wale and Tyga was also featured on his album. After the success of his album it only made sense that he said his farewell to EME and faced starboy. On May 7,2016 he announced the inclusion of Ghanian trio  Efya, R2bee and mr Eazi  to his record .

On 5th January 2015, he released the visual to the song Ojuelegba, a song that highlighted the struggles he endured in his early years of recording, and it all changed when the official remix which featured Drake and Skepta was premiered on OVO sound radio (July 2015), he also revealed he has collaborative single with Chris brown titled “African Bad Girl” and said it will be the leading single off the upcoming album. The song was performed in South Africa and also on Chris’s “one hell of a nite” concert in which wiz was tagged along.

In July 2015, he went on twitter to announce that Angelique Kidjo will feature on his third album in which he later postponed and promised an EP named “Sound from the Other Side” according to Feder magazine.

On April 5th 2016, Wizkid became Nigeria’s first artist to emerge on Billboard Twitter last 24 hours chart following his guest feature on Drakes afro beat infused “One Dance” single which charted at number 21 and in may12, 2016 the song reached number one on the Billboard hot 100 chart, a position it kept for 10 non-consecutive weeks. The single went on to become an international smash hit, topping the charts in 15different countries including the united kingdom, Canada, Australia, France and Germany. The single thereby became Wizkid’s first number one single as a featured artist in these territories. He has now featured in different song by international artist including R Kelly‘s “thank you”, tinie tampah’s “mamacita”, Justin skye “you don’t know” , “like this” with dj Henry and many more . BabaNla and Expensive sh*t got massive air play in early 2016 too, all this made Wizkid outstanding in Africa with the MTV MAMA award for artist of the year to show for it.

Yes he had his fair share of controversies from him refusing to acknowledge he fathered a son until after 2years, to having a yearlong beef with Davido, he also was entangled in a war of word with Linda Ikeji with the latter reporting him to the police for threatening her with physical harm, he was also rumored to be dating “tonto dike” after an exchange of flirtatious tweet, has also been called out by ace producer samklef who produced his “superstar” for to gracing his invitation to feature on a song , lastly he was reported to be in a physical combat with fellow artist “dammy krane” who accused him of song theft. All this didn’t slow him down and with controversies came the money.

In 2012 he signed a one year deal with Pepsi worth 250,000 dollars which was later, he also signed with MTN who he later ditched for Globacom In June 2015 for a whooping 128million naira according to pulse report. He has also gathered various award which include BET, MOBO, The Headies, channel O, Ghanian music award, dynamic all youth award, city peoples award, MTV Europe award and many more.

From all indications Wizkid doesn’t seem like slowing down and in his latest song “Daddy yo” he made us to understand that he has evolved from the little boy that wanted you to Hola at him “Hola at your boy” to the Don who get all he wants “Daddy yo”.  Our fingers are crossed starboy be it a mix tape, EP or an Album we waiting for you to make Africa and most especially Nigeria at home and in the diaspora proud. And did I forget to mention that he has a Grammy nomination…… That’s why African Heritage Magazine celebrates you as you are making Africa in the diaspora proud. More blessings Starboy make us Dance!!!

Written by: Emeka Emmanuel Gbandi (Chief International Editor)


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