In the last two decades since the Afrobeats to the World started gaining intense momentum, the sound itself has gained a lot from a mixture of numerous genres, but nobody has actually successfully cracked Western Pop with Naija vibes even Wizkid had to drop an alté-ish album to get proper recognition from the Yankees.
Pop music is unarguably the biggest music genre globally, but crafting one that targets the entire world on the other hand is usually determined by a stroke of luck and usually a ton of talent and major label push.
In Fireboy’s case, it’s no stroke of luck but his immense talent and knack for reinvention have seen him succeed exceedingly both at a local label, taking YBNL absolutely to the next level with total attention from his label boss Olamide Adedeji and now in a joint venture with a major music player like Empire. With this support, the young superstar has been able to conquer both the UK & US scenes with just one Afropop track “Peru”.
With Fireboy DML, one thing has been quite clear since his 2019 debut on the YBNL Mafia project, he’s an Afropop sensation with outstanding range and now that he’s got a chance to compete in Pop at a global level, watching him succeed exceedingly in a genre considered “not a niche for blacks” is outrightly satisfying.
While Peru was a freestyle that shook the entire world, Fireboy’s genius lies in the fact that he’s able to recreate another outstanding pop record with Playboy. This time a pen is involved and justice is meted out on the record as expected.
It’s been 3 years since Fireboy’s debut, and his run of back-to-back hits has been unprecedented. So far, he’s had no bad songs both lyrically and in commercial acclaim. His career has been blessed by 11 awards, and multiple Gold & Platinum certifications in the UK, US & Europe and he’s not showing any signs of slowing down.
Fireboy’s romance with Pop succinctly reminds you of how effortlessly talented Bruno Mars is when it comes to pop and R&B. Although Fireboy may not have proven himself in the R&B space, his outstanding range gives you a hint of how well he’d do if he did give R&B a chance.
Here’s the crux of Fireboy’s genius, as it doesn’t end with his massive talent. His understanding of the music business and contribution to the revamping of the YBNL label roster cannot be unseen.
Pre-Fireboy, YBNL was just a local record label investing via the “TRIAL & ERROR” strategy. Granted it worked twice, with LIL KESH & ADEKUNLE GOLD, but it was a poor business model nonetheless.
Post-Fireboy however, in just two years after his debut, YBNL boasts of a joint venture that covers everyone on the roster including newly-signed Asake.
On the songwriting part of things, I can only name one songwriter responsible for the serious upgrade in Baddo’s writings. Despite being a label boss to one of the most successful artists in Africa right now, Olamide has been able to make the transition into a full musician, with Afropop, R&B, Reggae/DanceHall, etc in his discography and over 500M career streams from both projects combined.
Since Fireboy’s contribution started coming in, our core street Baddo has had a hit journey that spans genres including the 2020 Carpe Diem album & UY SCUTI album, both of which aren’t hip-hop-specific projects.
One of the most interesting facts about Fireboy’s artistry is how he’s able to combine being incredibly talented and an understanding of the business far ahead of the previous YBNL signees. Up till this moment, he’s had a scandal-free career in a record label that’s been mired by artist/label fracases.
Fireboy’s career has enjoyed so much success that he’s gone on a US tour before his label boss who’s definitely bigger than him locally, but cannot compete on any level internationally.
Adefolahan has so far proven that he’s Baddo’s secret weapon in this Afrobeats to the world movement, securing both his and Olamide’s legacy without a doubt!
Fireboy is currently charting on the UK Top 100 & UK Afrobeats charts, Billboard Top 100 & Global 200, and Billboard Afrobeats Charts. This is quite unprecedented for any Nigerian artist; holding it down in both continents at the same time with just one freestyle.
Written by AfrobeatsMerije.
Bisi-Taiwo Chukwumerije is a blood-bound Nigerian writer & Music Executive.
Tweet your favorite, random, mind-boggling songs, EPs, LPs, Albums, & music projects to him; @AfrobeatsMerije.