Sarz vs Shizzi was the quarantine content you didn’t know you needed.

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Music producers hardly ever get the recognition they deserve, especially in a place like Nigeria where the market is largely dense and all the focus goes to the artist. It’s the same with songwriters and other stakeholders in the music-making process, but lately the argument about the shared rights of a song between the artist and producer has been getting more volume. 

Last night marked a special moment in Nigerian music and the paradigm shift it is experiencing. Social distancing during the COVID-19 lockdown has afforded us more time on the internet and an unending thirst for content. So when Shizzi took to his twitter to request a battle of hits with Sarz on Instagram live, it felt like all Afrobeat enthusiasts were down for this cultural defining episode.

If you’re new to Nigerian music, both producers are arguably the biggest influences on contemporary Afrobeat sounds that the world enjoys today. With a vast catalogue of hits spanning over 10 years in music and multifaceted skills, both producers have made boundless music with Davido and Wizkid that it feels like they paved the way for a lifetime of hits for Africa’s top 2. 

They both made it clear it wasn’t a competition from the onset, they deserve all of our respect because they’re legends and attending the 2 hours long battle on Instagram live only made me realise how under-appreciated producers are and how many more hits we didn’t even know they produced. Really humble lots lol.

A live concert attended by over 20 thousand people including A-list artists, influencers and music executives (Timbaland and Swizzbeatz tuned in too) will mark the beginning of more e-concerts and absorbing content that has been scarce in our local ecosystem, it’s like the shutdown is awakening our minds to the potential of what the industry could be and more ways to interact with the public. Sarz played 41 songs while Shizzi played 40 within two hours and thirty-two minutes.

5 points we picked from the battle:

  • Both Sarz and Shizzi are nobody’s mates. They’ve been making hits consistently for the past ten years and are responsible for evergreen music that paved the way for the Africa-to-the-world narrative. It’s pretty impressive because they were both young in their prime and are still walking their way up the ladder. They’ve been legends even before you realized it. 
https://twitter.com/oyi_sands/status/1244769104482963458?s=20
  • Shizzi is versatile, he knows it himself. He’s responsible for a reasonable number of our club bangers, but he still needs to expand his catalogue by working with more artists asides Davido. Sarz has this point to his advantage, his catalogue – both old and recent comprises of work with artistes like Eldee, YQ, Reminisce, Olamide, Wurld, Niniola, Banky W and more. Shizzi has definitely worked with a number of artists too, but he may need to get out of his comfort zone. 
  • Sarz has a future in this DJ-ing thing and it’s a good thing he’s already started experimenting. Someone said Shizzi didn’t come to the battle with all his weapons, specifically meant he didn’t do proper music selection beforehand. This is why he used some of his most dangerous weapons way too early while Sarz was much more tactical. Sarz knew the right songs to play at the right time, he had the right responses too and he definitely has a future being a bully and a meme. Cute! 
  • They’re both young and that’s pretty impressive but Sarz has been in the game long enough before Shizzi bought a laptop. He even understands the game better and he has more culturally shifting songs, like One Dance rumoured to have been co-produced by him, and an unreleased song with Beyoncé that didn’t make The Lion King album. 
  • Almost every argument about nigerian music always ends in a Davido vs Wizkid talk. It’s exhausting but impact can never be denied.

Richard Ogundiya

Journalist & Techpreneur. Africa, communications and data.

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