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Artistes like me pushed music industry to current level, says African China



Reggae and dancehall icon Chinagorom Onuoha, famously known as African China, has asserted that he and his contemporaries from the early 2000s played a pivotal role in propelling the Nigerian music industry to its current zenith.


In an exclusive interview with Saturday Beats, African China emphasized the significance of collaboration within the industry, while lamenting a perceived lack of reverence from younger artists towards the pioneers who laid the foundation for today’s thriving music scene.


“Collaboration is something we cannot rule out in the industry,” African China remarked. “But, things have changed, and I understand. However, I don’t like the fact that when younger artistes see the people that laid the foundation (of the industry), they don’t respect them.”


Reflecting on the challenges they faced during their era, African China highlighted the arduous process of promoting Nigerian music before the digital age. “These days, it is easier to stream one’s songs on digital music platforms. Before, those sites were not accessible to Nigerians. Back then, we would go to cyber cafes to do things like that,” he recalled.


During the nascent stages of the industry’s development, African China noted that Nigerian artists competed fiercely against globally renowned figures like 2pac Shakur, P Diddy, Jenifer Lopez, R Kelly, and Busta Rhymes. “We were not even competing with fellow Nigerian artistes, because we were all united in trying to push the industry to where it is today,” he asserted.


Dispelling misconceptions, the ‘Mr President’ crooner clarified that older artists do not seek financial gain from younger talents but rather, demand respect for their contributions and sacrifices. “We are not asking the young artistes to give us money, but to respect us, if not for our age, but at least for the sacrifices we made for the industry,” African China emphasized.


As the music industry continues to evolve, African China’s sentiments serve as a reminder of the enduring legacy and invaluable contributions of its pioneering figures in shaping its trajectory.


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