Ciara announced the release of her new single which features Nigerian superstar, Tekno and it’s titled Freak Me which unexpectedly samples Tiwa Savage’s track Before Nko housed in her sophomore album, R.E.D which was released in 2015 and she must’ve missed some things. This leads to questions being asked if Ciara and her team duly cleared everything with Tiwa’s team before tapping into the Don Jazzy-produced track which also features label mate DPrince.
Ciara released a comeback song Level Up which has since gone viral online with dance videos. She was in South Africa last month with her husband to celebrate their second wedding anniversary, from where the video for Freak Me was shot without Tekno, of course. Freak Me is Ciara’s first attempt to tap into the Afro-wave and spread her sonic tentacles to the African market as well. African music is undergoing some massive evolution and a number of international personalities especially Americans are trooping into Africa to leverage from the growth of African music.
Ciara deemed it a perfect time to make her Afrobeat debut featuring Tekno but it may interest you to know that she employed the genius of Tiwa Savage with the track – Before Nko to make out something. Her first attempt to be Afrocentric is not as original as you might have envisaged as the songs share not just the same theme but same hook and instrumental. The title of the song is also glaringly inspired by the lines from Tiwa Savage which Ciara also used – “I won’t tell nobody how you freak my body.”
This would’ve been well accepted if Ciara rightly credits Tiwa especially posing Freak Me as an actual single at a time she enjoys some amount of attention following the release of her previous single Level Up. There’s no word whatsoever on her IG posts yet that credits or extends acknowledgment to the original brains behind the song especially if you are lifting the content to the extent she did.
Listen to both tracks below:
With the recent wave of Afrobeats in the international scene, a number of Americans are hopping on it seeing that they cannot win Africans over on their own, they, however, find a way into our hearts by collaborating with African artists who have garnered enough influence among Africans. They are incorporating influential names in the African scene to help push their agenda and they sometimes don’t do it right. Notably in the case of Drake and Wizkid in One Dance.
Though Tiwa name, Dprince, and Jazzy were given credit as songwriters on streaming platforms, we are not convinced Ciara and her team underwent due clearance before going ahead to process it’s release.
Eyebrows are being raised especially since Tiwa’s digital platform handler, Bolaji Kareem stormed Ciara’s page claiming she’s releasing a song without clearance as he describes her move to be ‘cheeky and unnice’. I can’t help but feel they probably think its Africa after all and we are probably not yet exposed or knowledgeable about publishing deals and copyright rules.
Tiwa’s team have not publicly said anything on the issue but a source from her team revealed the mother of one is not pleased with the turn and we’ve deduced that despite the credit, there is an unclear misunderstanding between both teams but Tiwa’s team must have chosen to tackle it discreetly, just so the media doesn’t feast and misconvey their intention. With sampling, you need well-communicated clearances either from the copyright owner of the strong, usually a music publisher then the record label.
All of these aren’t known for just anyone who isn’t well-ground in the music business and I just feel Africa/Nigeria was underloooked as not informed enough to know such intricacy about the music business or they probably expected we’d hop in merry and be grateful towards anything American. Proper measures should be taken just so foreigners understand that Africa is really not about the slum they visit whenever they visit or the kids who they take pictures with wearing rags.
We are well oriented in the music business. If we’d be here for these criss-cross collaborations then it is important that we accord each other due respect and do the needful so we don’t continuously keep being at loggerheads. The case of Burna Boy and Drake where Burna wrote ‘More Life’ and it was recreated into ‘Get it Together’ which features Black Coffee and Jorja Smith without any credit to Burna.
However, we are proud of our musical exports and how they are bridging boundaries with music. Wizkid and Tiwa Savage were featured in Nike’s latest ad that premiered last night.
Tekno is no stranger to copyright issues as he sampled Danfo Driver’s Jogodo without consulting the original owners of the song and doing the needful.