The Significance of Davido’s Double Gold Certification--‘If’ and ‘Fall’
There are currently only two afrobeats records by an African that have attained Gold level certification in the land of liberty, America, these two singles are Davido’s If and his Fall, both done up with the home-grown template of afrobeats to create a hit with a sonic style that had never charted globally prior. While a gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) means that these tweo songs sold half a million copies in the great big United States of America, this milestone not only bears babies of good fortune for David Adeleke, the man of the hour himself, but for the future of afrobeats and its different and eclectic creators all over the African continent and in the diaspora as well.
Afrobeats Domination, that’s the very first babe of goodwill and great joy birthed by Davido’s certification. Birthed some 20 years ago in the early 2000s as an offshoot of the sound of the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, the genre itself like the Nigerian region that champions it, is an amalgamation of sounds and cultural influences the world over which gives it an ever-flowing access to a pool of diversity. It is this diversity that has taken fuller shape as the more descriptive term ‘Afro fusion’ to be manifested into no-holds-barred records such as Davido’s Tekno-produced If. Done in a novel minimalist percussiveness reminiscent of high-life while bearing the joie de vivre of Afrobeats, such beats had only been a local delicacy on singer and producer, Tekno’s hits such as Pana and Duro.
The situational irony deepens at the fact that prior to the making and release of If and Fall, both singles to usher in his album, A Better Time Davido had in fact just gotten a deal with Sony Music and was at the stage of his career where he was meant to serve more foreign-sounding songs with just a light sprinkle of afrobeats.
In fact, he'd done just that and played by the books, producing the sleeper hit, How Long with American singer, Tinashe and the transnational sleeper Coolest Kid in Africa with Nasty C as well as afro-dancehall number Gbagbe Oshi. In fact, in Davido’s words the EP, Son of Mercy which held these songs was shit and the songs had not been selected by him. So he’d taken a risk that paid by deciding to go back to the basics-- his original sound, with the 2017-released If and followed the template for Fall.
This gamble had in turn showed that the universality of music will always prevail and cements the fact that given the world’s bid to find a sound to revolve to, Afrobeats and Afro-fusion with its sonical and lyrical flexibility, is set to be the next big thing. Since the Nigerian industry remains majorly untapped with talented artistes who will continue to experiment for the best and take advantage of the levelling ground provided by the internet, the limit is non-existent.
A more personal victory for the gold certification brace will be how it stands as a scoreboard for Davido in the tightly competitive Nigerian music scene that houses several musical GOATS and in his era, Wizkid and Burna Boy. With this, the league table has witnessed a reaffirmation of Davido’s megastar status as one of the biggest African acts.
As a result of this competitiveness, fans of either factions have made themselves into gatekeepers, ensuring that no other GOATed musician outshines their fave. But with Davido being the first to attain Gold level certification, not once but twice on songs that have no featured artistes, additional bragging rights have been earned for all members of the 30BG movement, fans, family and founder alike.
The other collateral victory borne from Davido’s double gold certification goes to the songwriting community in the country. While it has been said by Davido himself, most people didn’t know that Tekno not only produced If but wrote the song as well and insisted that Davdio record what became a megahit. It then serves as a testament to the importance of having songwriters to create literaly golden records, a concept still largely frowned at in the country by musicians and fans alike.
At the moment, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti has been nominated for possible induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2021, 24 years after his passing, depicting an undying legacy that continues to give and amass deserving awards. While the music currently created by Nigerians may not be politically charged like the sounds of the late afrobeat Legend, it remains powerful in its creativity and compelling nature. And milestones like Davido’s two Gold-certified songs in the USA, are definitely part of the reasons why the legend like the literal meaning of his name, will live on to create legacies that will take the gospel of Afrobeats far and wide.