90's Baby is not just about music. It is about the true expression of young Nigerians today.
"Nineties baby! Nineties baby! Nineties baby! Are you fu*king crazy?!" goes the chant by Tosan Wiltshire, lawyer, new actor and leader of the 90s baby movement.
Tucked in a bunker-like club aptly titled the Underground in Lekki, Tosan uses this chant get people fired up for the night's events.
Called the 90's Baby Sound Off, tonight's line up boasts of the most promising and system disrupting acts you can find on Soundcloud.
For a few years, circa 2013, Soundcloud has been the hot spot for young, talented Nigerian music acts who do not fit into the Afrobeats narrative. They are furiously eclectic, independent and experimental.
On the bill, tonight is Odunsi, the 19-year-old singer and genre bender who has become the poster boy of Nigeria's next promising generation.
You have Santi whose 2016 EP 'Suzie's Funeral' is heralded as a classic. Tomi Thomas, the jazzy and soulful singer from the pop group L.O.S that had minimal chart success circa 2011. Then you have Idris King, rapper and part-leader of the 90's Baby movement.
Don't get it twisted. This gig attended by Nigeria's latest batch of energetic and restless young millennials is more than an intimate opportunity to see more than their favourite budding acts. Pardon, the cliché but the 90's Baby is a lifestyle movement.
Months earlier, in, late May, I found myself at the 1,004 apartments in Victoria Island. Formerly a housing project for civil servants it was sold to a private firm which turned it into a condo for Nigeria's 1% and expatriates who were flooding into the country.
On this warm orange Sunday, one of the flats in 1,004 was the venue of the 90's Baby pop-up shop. At the door, you can buy drinks, and when you step into the apartment you get to see a collection of the latest 90's Baby apparel from T-shirts, hoodies, baseball caps, stickers and posters.
It was a gathering of young Nigerians who wanted to just kick it on a weekend with friends or as they say people from their same tribe. As songs ranging from 'Silhouette', a druggy, groovy track made by neo-Afrobeat act Yinka Bernie to one of the million trap records in Atlanta, you feel that you are in some random pop up store.
You feel you've stepped into a commune of like-minded, free spirited Nigerians who have no qualms about expressing their individuality and creativity.
90's Baby more or less is dedicated to people born within this decade. It's an organic movement that celebrates the life these millennials. You have to experience its events to know what it is.
Co-founder Tosan Wiltshire turned down a request for an interview. "We want people to learn about the brand directly from the horse's mouth." Idris King didn't reply my request for an interview.
Their strategy does make sense. It's more of the pilgrims going to the mountain than the mountain coming to the pilgrims. To make the movement as organic as possible they want to make the experience first-hand as possible.
Taiwo Awodeji a young graphic artist behind the brand "jeunesse" cryptically describes it as "an era where things changed and it's the bridge between the old and new."
He has worked with the 90s Baby movement on some graphic designs after first meeting Idris King and Tosan at his house in 2016.
A frequent attendee of 90's Baby Sound Off events Segun Akande says the movement is "a youth-oriented lifestyle brand. What they do is the full package: content, events and merchandising."
"Everything revolves around a single theme: celebrating youth and the experience of being a 90s baby in 2017," says the Feature Writer at Pulse.
Their little media appearance strategy seems to be working. At the last Sound Off on Friday, July 28, 2017, top music industry impresario Bizzle Osikoya was in attendance. A couple of brand managers were also noticeable.
Despite the technical hiccups at the event, it was a success. Towards the end, it was a climatic scene as young Nigerians were lost in the mood of the moment- total freedom. When Santi and Odunsi performed their hit collabo 'Gangsta Fear' the atmosphere was rapturous.
It's not bad to go to the top of the mountain and get lost once a while.
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