Grant Moyo A lot of people have been in tricky situations when their ‘situationship’ attempts to push things further than it needs to be.
Sometimes it’s best to let things be and just vibe without the pressure of defining the nature of the relationship, says Nigerian singer-songwriter and producer CKay, not lacking an idiosyncratic idea as he coruscates his view on the narrative behind his fresh-cut Amapiano tune titled ‘Watawi’ (What Are We?) — a critical question often than not put forth inside and on the far side of modern romantic relationships. Inspired to be himself and rock the world, the self-defined Emo-Afrobeat ace who has been topping charts on the bounce, has had international credit fawning in — adding another layer to his major lift.
Radiating joy with a winged career on a crest of wave, CKay is going out to a place of glory — in the heat of the moment — fully fleshed, neither struggling with rythm nor shaking off rust.
The multi-talented artist ofttimes cited as ‘Africa’s boyfriend’ in a heartfelt way, is in full gear to blow the minds of his fans — who are still having goosebumps from the effects of his record breaking bona fide global banger ‘Love Nwantiti’ and his most recent internationally recognised mellow single ‘Emiliana’ — all over again. Unlike on the latter chart topping songs, on this up-to-the-minute piece of auditory sensation titled ‘Watawi’, CKay teams up with American-Nigerian singer-songwriter and record producer Davido as well as fast rising South Africa’s Amapiano new school artists — rapper Focalistic and producer disc jockey Abidoza. The latent Amapiano (a hybrid of deep house, jazz and lounge music characterised by synths, airy pads and wide percussive basslines) smash sound, is accompanied by crunchy cinematic visuals that distinctly set forth a rendezvous in CKay’s purple fantasy.
Born Chukwuka Ekweani, the high flying star in the ever burgeoning Afro beats and global music scene has officially wreaked 15 billion visual communication views on video-focused social networking service Tik Tok. What is more, the ‘sounds’ of the original version of ‘Love Nwantiti’ plus various official remixes of the track are being used by millions of creators world over. In the light of this, last year American model, socialite and media personality Kendall Jenner, made use of ‘Love Nwantiti’ for her Tik Tok video upon arrival at the Met Gala — an annual fundraising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City — dearly referred to as ‘fashion’s biggest night out’. Along with this encouragement, English Premier League football club Manchester United also used CKay’s hit song as the soundtrack to five-time FIFA Ballon d’Or trophy winner — Portuguese professional footballer — Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘Drink Water’ video.
Fresh off the success of his performances abroad, CKay who recently sold out his first two shows in the United States, has surpassed 3 billion career streams and counting. As the most streamed artist of the year in 2021, he has continued to create a global presence with accomplishments such as the ‘most Shazamed song in the world’ (the number of times a user pushes the button to identify a song that is playing) on Shazam — an application that can identify music, movies, advertising and television shows, based on a short sample played and using the microphone on the device. With a celestial point of fortune — a feature and co-production credits on Davido’s ‘A Better Time’ (2020) album alongside rappers Nicki Minaj (Trinidadian), Lil Baby (American), and Sho Madjozi (South African) — CKay’s out-and-out dominion goes on behind the boards as a producer and in front of the microphone in his capacity as a vocalist.
With ‘Emiliana’ once spawning over 700 thousand streams in a single day on Spotify, while peaking at number 1 on the UK Afrobeats Chart, this newest offering ‘Watawi’ is another opportunity for CKay to capture the ears as well as hearts of his fans, and go on to break charts in Africa and across the planet. Taking it to the tip of doing well, the real work commenced by calling on Abidoza, born Amogelang Thorne Chabangu — to be on the production side of the musical composition. The gifted Amapiano musical artist who enjoyed a number 1 spot with fellow multi-award winning South African hiphop knocker, record producer and part-time boxerCassper Nyovest on the chart topping banger titled ‘Siyathandana’— adds his midas touch on the ‘Watawi’ beat.
Having stuck around and grown to be a key part of the Afrobeats and global music scene puzzle, Davido, born David Adedeji Adeleke also hoped on CKay’s crisp song with his reign second to none. Streamed over 2 billion times and getting a nod from the world football governing body FIFA to lead their 2022 Qatar World Cup soundtrack collaboration called ‘Hayya Hayya’ (Better Together) — Davido tunes in on ‘Watawi’ with his effortless flow. Eminently clear, full throttle with all hands on deck, for CKay to get Focalistic, born Lethabo Sebetso, to jump on his spick-and-span piece of euphony — it was a no brainer.
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The Amapiano chief lyricist whose track called ‘Ke Star’ featuring Davido and South African disc jockey Virgo Deep charted at number 16 on Billboard Top Triller Global Chart in the United States — spares 18 bars of ‘Sipotori’ rap (a language that blends various languages, popular in the townships of Pretoria).
Not letting anything go unsaid while fighting for the exact same cause with so much love and respect, a lot has been riding on this collaboration from the word go. Always bigger than life, CKay’s vocals and signature superimposed harmonies thrust ‘Watawi’ on an attention-getting sing-along, which fully complements this soulful production. Lyrically bringing up the question — ‘What Are We?’ — Davido, Focalistic and Abidozarecite the state of affairs through fine-textured melodic phrases, as they make it clear to their respective ladies that no labels are required for what they are.
To quite figuratively wheedle audiences even deeper into CKay’s cozy lilac imagination, the musicians use ‘Watawi’ as both discourse and catharsis. While any woman listening may use the song as evidence of their misandry, it will be merely with little room to even begin resisting the high quality of the production —a passionate and facilecountenance of CKay’s Emo-Afrobeat exacerbated by a head-bopping Amapiano prosody.
Shot in Hotlanta (Atlanta), the video of ‘Watawi’ was directed by Dalia Dias, a London-born Nigerian-Egyptian artistic director and photographerwhose deftness in hand is behind visuals of numerous musicians like —Nigerian singer and songwriter Wizkid, American rapper Lil Uzi Vert, Jamaican reggae dancehall musician Buju Banton, American rapper songwriter Cardi B, and the City Girls an American hip hop duo —among many. Frequently invaded by an astounding wave of joy, here, she captures with chronic exactness and kickshaw—CKay’s beguiling yet impalpable aura filled with shades of purple and clues of scorching crimson. The visuals become an electricand magnetic co-occurrence to an otherwise grievoussound. It is boldly three African rock stars swanking their magical spell.
Though CKay, Focalistic and Abidoza may be comparatively new-sprung to the music scene, they make it a point to complement Davido’s awe-inspiring delivery —not just in flow and musicianship, but in a well orchestrated get-up-and-go ‘X-Factor’. A quality that is no mean feat for new artists who have expectancy of curing their spots on the global level. It is in this way that ‘Watawi’ becomes a crucial marker for CKay.
An indication of absolute endowment at work, while also sounding out Africa as a now continent— if that was ever in query.
Adding to the aura of their creativity —CKay, Davido, Focalistic and Abidoza are keeping their stars and talent happy for as long as they can. Booming in radio rotation and streams, as well as securing solid positions on the local and global charts —their latest offering is expected to toppleso many records. As they face their biggest shot yet, their forte and love is euphony defining characters of this genesis capable of reading between the lines before taking giant steps. A sheer reimagination of the industry news-buzzing with astronomic opportunities to match the exposure.
- Grant Moyo is a prolific writer, innovative media personality, entrepreneur and a creative artist who is passionate about using his creative mind for the betterment of society. Follow him on Twitter: @TotemGrant