There was a bit of banter on Twitter last month. Actually, there’s always one form of banter or another on ‘Nigeria Twitter’ at any given time, but this was one of the quieter ones. And maybe that’s partly because Twitter banter doesn’t get that loud in Nigeria anymore ever since the infamous Twitter ban happened.
At the centre of this mostly light-hearted banter was Naseeb Abdul Juma Issack. Doesn’t ring a bell? That’s because it is the real name of the 31-year-old musician better known as Diamond Platnumz; a superstar in his own right.
Hours before, a new song of his, titled Loyal, had hit the airwaves, and it sounded familiar - way too familiar.
The verdict was unanimous: Diamond Platnumz had released a song that is basically a Swahili sample of ‘Essence’, the chart-topping smash hit that Nigeria’s Grammy award-winning star, Ayodeji Balogun (AKA Wizkid), cooked up with fast-rising act, Temilade Openiyi (AKA Tems).
And it won’t be the first time - Diamond Platnumz (who is also often referred to as “Simba” or “The King of Bongo-Flava”) does seem to have a knack for unapologetically re-packaging Nigerian hit songs for a doting hyperlocal audience, and scoring hits of his own.
That hyperlocal audience is the Tanzanian music scene which - despite being outsiders, more or less, in the African music business - is surprisingly a top music streaming destination in Africa, even more than the biggest music industries in sub-Saharan Africa.