International Music Review – Fans Mi by Davido (Nigeria)
When pictures of Davido and Meek Mill in the studio got social media popping some months back, I was in the least amped about the collaboration. This isn’t because I’m not a follower of their individual music, but chiefly due to precedence; a long list of Nigerian songs with International features have been swallowed by time, receiving lukewarm response or completely forgotten in the annals of Nigerian music.
It’s sort of a cool thing to snap up American/British/Jamaican artistes to drop-by for a guest verse (the artiste could care less about the quality of the verse, as long as the name gets tagged). More than a few of these guest appearances have been lazy, tepid and a waste of time, adding nothing to the artiste’s catalogue or acceptance outside the country. One expects that an international collaboration should increase the local artiste’s reach (this for sure, isn’t naïve); or the least, give the record a different feel and/or diverse sound.
Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case taking into account the ‘international’ collabos over the years. From Wyclef’s Proud to Be African (f/ 2Face, Faze and Sound Sultan), to Darey’s The Way You Are (f/ Chamillionaire), to the weak Kanye-feature on his GOOD Music signee, D’Banj’s Scapegoat, to Ice Prince’s lacklustre I Swear (f/ French Montana), to Tyga’s questionable appearance on Wizkid’s Show U D Money, to T.I’s casual showing on P-Square’s Ejeajo, to Diana King’s recycled verse on Praiz’ Mercy, to the yearly Wale instalments on Nigerian tracks.
So, there was little excitement saved for this collaboration. Regardless, Davido has been the biggest artiste on the continent in the past year, winning over twenty awards including the BET Award for Best International Act Africa, and every track he releases gets the spotlight. Prior to this, he has been consistent putting out good music (Gobe, Skelewu, Aye, Owo Ni Koko, The Sound). On Fans Mi (translated “My Fans”), he employs the services of the MMG’s Dreamchaser Meek Mill. The Shizzi-produced track is Trap-inspired and infuses Opera elements; the beat’s hard-hitting drums hold the brilliant production together. Meek Mill’s fresh-out-of-jail bars sound like leftover lines from his ‘Dreams Worth More Than Money’ project.
As bland as his verse is, it leaves behind a flashy line albeit interpolated from his label Boss, Rick Ross’ Sanctified. He shouldn’t have bothered with this effort, or maybe that’s the point of it all. The (intended) concept of the song must have been lost in HKN Gang’s recycle bin, because this was the same stunt pulled on his introduction, Back When—a tale of the come-up; of limited radio success, of no love from ladies and fans, of little cash to ball. This is tired since it’s been three years his début was released. The title suggests a ‘Thank You’ piece for/to his fanbase who supported when they didn’t have to, and for those who have bought into his brand. One doubts if that was the plan when he shot the video. Cocaine, guns, light-skinned models- that’s the imagery you get, and it’s not subtle when it shows the Trap Hip-Hop appeal. The good life must be filled with such (and such), one is made to believe. The video is totally out-of-sync with the fans-appreciation narrative the song seemed to sell. Yet another entry in the roll call of forgettable ‘international’ collaborations.
Review by Udochukwu Ikwuagwu