There are very few names that come to mind when the question of living greats in modern Nigerian music is raised, and 2baba is one of them. Though general opinion easily concludes 2baba to be a living legend, Mr. Idibia’s career has not been entirely stain free.
Here are three major challenges to his legend aspirations.
Who he epp?
A legend must be able to kick start something bigger than their time or legacy. They must birth a movement, but for 2baba, this appears to be the exact opposite.
After 2face exited his debut record label Kennis Music in 2007, he launched an independent front Hypertek Records. With Rocksteady as the label’s official in-house producer, Hypertek currently houses singer Dammy Krane and veteran Victor Uwaifo, two artistes who have neither carved a niche for themselves or made any lasting impact since they joined the label.
We don’t know if this is a result of flaws in their contract or 2baba’s poor management skills, but either way, he has failed to do a cardinal empire expansion expected of any music legend or legend to be. Even worse, this poor management record threatens to hinder prospects of getting other young talents to join the label. And this is especially peculiar because we’re sure he knows he can’t always be around forever.
2baba’s 40th birthday was a tribute concert that held in his lifetime. If that doesn’t say anything at all, it should at least mean retirement plans should be in the works by trying to pass on the baton to the younger generation of artistes. Where are they?
He never actually completed his international crossover.
The release of 2face’s debut album, Face 2 Face in 2004 set him on the international map after the lead single African Queen became an gigantic hit. African Queen had 2face touring the world, winning accolades, endorsements and even a spot on an original soundtrack album for the Hollywood B-movie, ‘Phat Girlz’. But instead of cashing in on that success by increasing the pressure on his growing brand to grow bigger, he remained the same artiste. The peak of his international success till date remains weightless features with post-relevant international acts, and the ripple effect of an African Queen success even he would admit is impossible to attain anymore.
His attempt at breaking into the international market with his Unstoppable album in 2008 suffered from poor logistics, A&R, management and series of baby mama drama(s) that chunked out a large number of his local fan base. 2baba has retreated into complacence ever since, satisfied with an African music pioneer status he can’t defend.
He has a blotchy discography.
We don’t know if anyone has paid any attention to 2face’s discography before because we have. Save for his debut and sophomore albums wrung around hits, slow love songs, and socially conscious numbers; 2Baba hasn’t really had a spectacular album. His Unstoppable: International Edition album was a well produced collective and perfect apology to fans for its predecessor, but inherently both of them are sonically mediocre albums at best. The other two albums from his discography are even harder to make an argument for. While Away and Beyond held some rather introspective songs and at least two moderately successful party jams, it was an entirely convoluted LP. Ascension was an even bigger mess, a poorly produced experimental failure with Afrobeat and dancehall carnival themed songs and beats.
These are two genres 2face has neither explored properly nor succeeded at half-assed attempts. How he floated an entire album on an idea that lacked so much confidence in its sound only hinted at an artiste who has become aware of his iconic place in the game and no longer feels the need to go the extra mile.
Annoyingly, these issues are only compounded when one considers how lazy he comes off on stage performances and on guest features. All he does is alternate between ramblings and unnecessary freestyles that only make his impact uneventful and tedious.
If you ask us, we’d say 2baba has an undeniable pioneer advantage. He served as an inspiration for many to follow and created a door for others after him to come through. But while that is noteworthy, conferring on him, legendary status, seems like reaching very far for something that’s not quite there.