History was made on Saturday in the UK when Nigerian Singer Ayodeji Balogun, better known as Wizkid, performed to a sold out crowd of 20,000 at The 02 Arena, London.
With the feat, Wizkid became the first Africa-based artiste to perform at the arena, earning a spot on a stage that had been graced by the likes of Drake, Beyonce and Adele.
Wizkid was ushered onto the stage by British super model, Naomi Campbell. Welcoming him, she said: “Today is a historic day; 2018, 25 of May is a historic day for Afrobeat music in 02 Arena. I want to congratulate Wiz for putting out this wonderful event.”
Wizkid breezed onto the stage with his two hands in the air — a signature style of the legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti who is regarded as the creator of Afrobeats.
Speaking after performing ‘Manya’, Wizkid told the massive crowd in adulterated English: “Na because of una I dey here so.”
He also took out time to pay homage to past and present African artistes. After this, he went into the show proper, serenading the crowd with some of his classic hits, such as ‘Show You the Money’, ‘No Lele’, ‘Tease Me’, ‘Don’t dull’, ‘Azonto’, ‘Pakurumo’, ‘Love My Baby’ and ‘Caro’.
The event came to a climax when he told his story again in ‘Ojuelegba’, and watched the crowd go wild. It was visible, even to the blind and audible to the deaf, that Wizkid had cemented his place in the annals of African music.
From the ghetto side of Lagos, Ojuelegba, Wizkid started singing at the age of 11 under the name Lil Prince. In 2009, he got signed to Empire Mates Entertainment (EME), a record label owned by Banky W. Upon signing with Banky W, he released his debut album, ‘Superstar’.
‘Holla at Your Boy’, a single off the album, became an instant hit and Wizkid became the new poster boy for Nigerian music. He has worked with international stars such as Drake, Ty Dolla Sign and Tinie Tempah.