Both Wizkid and Fela are generational talents and musical leaders of their own generation. Arguably the most recognizable names in Nigerian music globally, they have consistently been compared against each other in terms of talent, musical success, and influence.
A section of the Nigerian music audience hypocritically discourages the comparison of these two artistes. For some, the effect of nostalgia stops them from regarding any project done by Wizkid as comparable to Fela’s discography. For others, since Fela paved the way for Wizkid and the latter is a self-admitted fan of Fela, any discussion about comparing both are dead in the water.
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The hypocrisy in this that these opinions are limited to musical acts alone. Every other field such as sports and acting, encourages competition. There is little chastisement for comparing Messi with Maradona or Ronaldo with Pele.
As two of the most historic artistes in Nigeria, Fela and Wizkid are well-positioned to be pitted against one another, head-to-head, in determining who the greatest Nigerian artiste ever is.
Both Fela and Wizkid are amazing music talents with impressive music catalogs.
Wizkid is arguably the more versatile of the duo, over the course of his career he has seamlessly impressed over different genres including afropop, hiphop, dancehall and reggae, but Fela is the innovator extraordinaire.
Fela Kuti is unanimously regarded as the true pioneer of Afrobeat, a genre of music that consolidates traditional Yoruba percussion and lyrics with American jazz. Elements of Afrobeat are dominant in modern contemporary afrobeats.
When you compare their instrument playing and composition abilities, Fela once again possesses the better credentials.
Regarding musicality, Fela wins.
Few artistes globally can boast of the level of influence, Fela Kuti has had. Fela and his afrobeat genre has left a lasting impression on generations of Nigerian and international artistes, ranging from Wizkid and Burna Boy to Beyonce and J Cole. Even till date, His albums such as ’69 Los Angeles Sessions, Best of the Black President, Expensive Shit, Live!, Zombie and The Underground Spiritual Game are still extremely popular and influential.
Fela’s influence transcends even music, he is undisputedly one of the biggest voices the Nigerian polity has ever had.
In comparison, Wizkid is also influential in his own right. Although while comparing legacy, Wizkid is disadvantaged mainly due to recency. Whatever style of music Wizkid adopts, the industry is sure to follow and while names like Fela, King Sunny Ade and D’banj had taken Nigerian music global, nobody has done it like Wizkid.
In spite of Wizkid’s lofty achievements, it pales in comparison to Fela’s legacy both in and outside of music. This could change in a couple of decades, but for today, Fela takes the win.
Five to seven years ago, the musical achievements of Wizkid would be termed impossible for a Nigerian artiste. Wizkid is the first Nigerian artiste to have a no.1 record on billboard 100, a top 10 billboard record as a lead artiste as well as having the highest charting Nigerian album on the billboard 200 album charts. In addition to his numerous musical awards, Wizkid also grabbed a Grammy for his contributions to the Brown skin girl video. He is also touted to grab a Grammy in 2022 for either Essence with Tems or Made in Lagos deluxe album.
Fela also a high-flying achiever in his own right, may have been limited due to the global acceptance state of Nigerian music his era. Today african music is more widely digestible and accessible than few decades ago.
It could be argued that if Nigerian music was as acceptable then as it is today, Fela would have been able to rival or surpass Wizkid’s musical achievement, but with the reality of things as it is, Wizkid is the clear winner in this one.
So Who is Better?
By demonstrating superiority in musicality and influence beyond what Wizkid has offered so far, Fela proves that he still sits atop the Nigerian music throne. However Wizkid has time on his side, and if there is anybody who can unseat Fela, it is the Ojuelegba crooner.
Do you agree?