American band, Major Lazer scored a hit song using ‘the Nigerian sound’ with Nicki Minaj

“Let me play you something I made using the Nigerian sound.” Diplo said. Before cuing his new single “Run up”, which features international music stars Nicki Minaj and PartNextDoor.

‘Run Up’ is a song by American electronic band Major Lazer from their upcoming fourth studio album, “Music Is the Weapon”. The song features Canadian musician PartyNextDoor, and Trinidadian-born American rapper Nicki Minaj.

The song was released on January 26, 2017, by Mad Decent and Because Music. It was written by primary Major Lazer member Diplo, Stargate, Jr. Blender, PartyNextDoor, Minaj, and Philip Meckseper, while the song’s production was handled by Major Lazer, Stargate, and Jr. Blender.

“Run Up” has a length of three minutes and twenty-three seconds, all of which is Nigerian music. The beat pattern sits comfortably with the sounds from the heart of Lagos, utilizing a combination of beats that isn’t far from local producers LeriQ and Maleek Berry.

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Although the lyrics and delivery from Nicki Minaj and PARTYNEXTDOOR are predominantly US-influenced, it is the sound that has carried it far. It’s lyric video on Youtube has over 30 million views, and on Spotify, they are killing it with 135 million streams. The official music video has been released, and you can watch below.

A member of Major Lazer, Diplo, who played a set at concert Gidi Fest 2017, explained on stage how important Nigerian music is.

“You guys make special music in this country, that’s why I had to come. Your music has exploded worldwide and influenced a lot of people.” Diplo said.

Two Nigerian artists Tekno and Mr Eazi had recorded personalized versions of ‘Pana’ and ‘Leg Over’ for Major Lazer. And at the concert, Diplo played them out, the fans orgasmed. And after that, he admitted to using the Nigerian sound for the single.

For all the talk about how Nigerian music is growing not just in record sales, but in influence around the world, there are limited examples.

Most of the work we have done to grow the music internationally has been done via collaborations with US and UK superstars and also the signing of deals with major record labels to export the sound, its creators and their brands to different markets.

Nigerians have literally been chasing amplification of the local sound via partnerships with international music houses and artists, and it is bearing fruit. Wizkid is currently on an international campaign to break into the US mainstream. Davido tried it last year, but creative differences have stunted his growth into that market and thrown him back to Africa.

Other indicators of how much influence we have on the international market have been few and far between. The success of ‘One Dance’, Alicia Keys cosigning everything Nigeria right now, Swizz Beatz working with MC Galaxy, and Beyonce recording an unreleased Fela-inspired album. All of these point us towards a potential in our music.

But it is changing. Our sounds can be big as the greatest dance songs across the globe. And apart from the success of D’banj’s ‘Oliver Twist’ in 2012, and Drake’s work on ‘Ojuelegba’, a new tangible proof of this, is American electronic music trio Major Lazer and their new song ‘Run Up’, which was created with ‘the Nigerian sound’.


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