Davido has never played down his own wealthy background; his 2012 debut album was entitled Omo Baba Olowo (Yoruba for “Son of a rich man”).
He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to a family of Nigerian entrepreneurs, and he returned to the US to study engineering; when Davido went Awol to pursue music instead, his father was decidedly unimpressed — and had him arrested upon his reappearance in Lagos.
“My dad didn’t like me doing music!” laughs Davido. “If he saw my face on a billboard, he’d arrest everybody at that show! But when I made the song ‘Dami Duro’ , it became the biggest track in Africa; it’s saying: ‘I’m the son of a rich man, you can’t stop me, and people love me.’ It now feels good for dad to see that music can take me this far.”
This multilingual pop wave is arguably pan-African, with artists and fans taking inspiration from countries around the continent; it highlights the rich disparity of African cultures and the limitations of the “afrobeats” tag.
“In Nigeria, we all mix sounds together and collaborate; it’s natural,” says Davido. He prefers to call his own music “afrofusion”, with elements including hip-hop, Ghanaian high life, South African kwaito, and R&B. “It’s been generalised as afrobeats, but I have songs that sound like afropop, afrotrap . .