MTV Base responds to ‘Best Naija’ songs controversy

Posted on October 07 2014 , at 05:54 pm
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By Adedayo Odulaja

Alex Okosi
Alex Okosi welcomes the heated debate sparked by the programme. Photo: MTV

Popular music channel, MTV Base has responded to the raging controversy over the Top 20 Best Ever Naija Tracks which has continued to rage a week after it was broadcast on the cable TV.

The list, which was aired on October 1 to celebrate Nigeria’s Independence Day and called The Best Naija Songs Ever on MTV Base set the social media space aglow with criticisms aimed at the station for the list which many have described as not representing the history of music in Nigeria, has drawn a response from the station.

The station says the list, featuring notable artistes and songs, was determined by viewers of MTV Base who voted via the MTV Base website to choose their musical favourites starting from the channel’s launch on 22 February, 2005 till the present day.

According to the list, the ‘Top 20’ voted for by MTV Base viewers are:

  1. 2Face: African Queen
  2. 9ice: Gongo Aso
  3. D’Banj: Oliver Twist
  4.  P Square Feat. Waje : Do Me
  5. Wizkid: Holla At Your Boy
  6. Davido: Dami Duro
  7. Ice Prince: Oleku
  8. D’Banj: Why Me
  9. M.I.: Safe
  10. Olu Maintain: Yahooze
  11. Naeto C: Kini Big Deal
  12. Davido: Skelewu
  13. Banky W: Lagos Party
  14. Wizkid: Pakarumo
  15. Asa: Jailer
  16. P Square: Chop My Money
  17. Wande Coal: Bumper To Bumper
  18. Dr Sid: Surulere
  19. Flavour: Nwa Baby (Remix)
  20. KCee: Limpopo

The list has been criticised by fans, music critics and practitioners themselves, notable among which are the likes of Eedris Abdulkareem, Iyanya, Chidi Mokeme, Charles Novia and DJ Abass  but aside putting out the list again for the public to see how music enthusiasts voted, the station said there is a bonus track in the list which is actually Iyanya’s ‘Kukere.’

MTV Base officials also revealed that other artists/tracks that received honourable mentions in the broadcast include: Styl Plus with ‘Olufunmi,’ Shank with ‘Julie,’ DJ Jimmy Jatt – ‘Stylee,’ Ikechukwu feat. Don Jazzy & D’banj – ‘Wind Am Well’ and D’Banj with ‘Fall in Love.’

In a statement, Alex Okosi, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) Africa, welcomes the heated debate sparked by the programme, saying: ‘We are thrilled to see the passion with which people are engaging in the discussion about the Best Naija Tracks.  There has been concern in some quarters that the list didn’t include some of Nigeria’s most seminal artists and songs – it seems as if some people may have misinterpreted the campaign. This list of tracks, as voted by the public, was never intended to reflect the Best Naija Tracks of all time; the creation of this campaign is part of the build up to our 10th birthday and it was supposed to highlight artistes that have been played on our channel since the launch of MTV Base in 2005, hence the title ’The Best Naija Tracks Ever on MTV Base’. We understand that the positioning could have been misleading on some of our platforms and we regret any confusion caused.’

Speaking further: ‘As a brand, we acknowledge and respect the fact that Nigeria has a long music history beyond the last 10 years and our work since launching MTV Base is to help develop and showcase the best of Nigerian and African music to a global audience.  The ‘Best Naija Tracks Ever on MTV Base’ campaign is really about celebrating the new generation of talent who have benefitted from the legends who paved the way for their successes today.’

While concluding, Okosi said ‘The important thing is that everyone has their own views about what makes a great song or a great artist, and we’re keen to hear their thoughts. We are continuing the debate and encouraging music fans to further engage with the campaign via our digital media platforms.  We will also be filming a special MTV Base Nigerian music roundtable in Lagos on this topic, featuring artistes, DJs and music industry experts.  The roundtable will air on MTV Base in November 2014 as part of the channel’s build up to our 10th birthday celebrations. Simultaneously, MTV Base is challenging music fans to create their own lists of Best Naija Tracks, and to post them on MTV Base social media assets, or to get involved in the conversation by using the hashtag #BaseBestNaijaTracks. Those engaging in the campaign stand the chance to have their comments featured in the roundtable discussion on MTV Base.’

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