If you were a Nigerian artiste in the 90s, then hats off to you, you earned it.
Back then, there were no Soundclouds or strategic tweets you could send out, mentioning your favourite artist with a link to your music, a la Mayorkun. You just had to make the decision to blow and stick with it, come rain or sunshine.
Which is what most of them did. Bury their heads in work and hope one day, it would pay off.
But there was just one problem, that was everyone’s strategy. To really stand out, you had to do resort to something gimmicky enough to catch on and get you noticed, which is what these guys do:
Baba Fryo and his eyepatch
First off, I just want to say Baba Fryo had the right idea. Our guy kept one eye closed to the bullshit and had the other at alert for opportunities.
Also, his choice of a star, as opposed to your regular-degular pirate eye-patch, just goes to show what he envisioned for himself, and rightfylly so.
The eye-patch was a known definer, one we’ve come to miss on our screens.
Azeezat and those hairstyles
Show me someone more dedicated to their craft in the 90s and I’d eat my head. Not really, but I’d seriously consider it though.
Azeezat gave us everything from soulful songs and interestingly crafted outfits, to most importantly — second-hand scalp pain. Because those hairstyles must have hurt.
Need any lessons on standing out? Azeezat is your guy.
Zaaki and his torchlight.
Do you know how badly you must want to stand out to carry and your own spotlight with you at all times?
Our good bro Zaaki Azzay and his handy torchlight did not give AF about any opinions back in the 90s and did what needed to be done to stand out.
But did we stan regardless? You bet it. Act like you didn’t do the torch and leg dance back in the 90s.
Lagbaja and the mask.
Lagbaja owned the signature look, before it was even a thing to be owned and it made us go wild for him.
With his trusty sax and exposed eyes, Lagbaja’s anonymity-preference, actually went beyond hating random hugs from strangers like I always assumed, to actually representing something symbolic – a voice for the unknown and voiceless in society. Who knew?
D’banj and his harmonica.
You might not remember it, but back in the day, Dbanj was really about his harmonica. So much so, he defied his very own lyrics, and went on to play it after promising to sing acapella in ‘Why Me’.
Also, if we’re keeping it a buck, Dbanj’s sunglasses get honourable mention here as well. It goes so deep, he morphs into a whole other person without them, just peep it.
Wizkid and those red sunglasses.
Oh the days of little beginnings.
Before Wizkid was throwing money round on porches and expensive watches, he had one ride or die fashion item — his trusty red Ray-bans.
Those glasses actually saw life: videos, interviews, concerts, everyday life, they were one with Wizkid.
They deserve a shout out, the next time he receives an award if we’re being honest.
Terry G and that darned bell.
Well, walking around with a bell can only be expected from an artist whose defining song was called ‘Free Madness’.
Back then, see Terry G, see his bell.
Say what you want about it, but this was an Easy A for originality. Nigerian Father Christmases were shaking.
GT Da Guitarman
You have to admire GT Da Guitarman’s dedication to his name, and also — his upper body strength.
Come rain, come sunshine, you could be sure to find his tiny frame lugging around his beloved guitar everywhere he went.
Where is he and that guitar these days anyway?