An Ode To Nigeria @ 59

MUSIC REVIEW: Tiwa Savage- 49-99 An Ode to Nigeria @ 59

In the midst of a phase when the whole nation seemed to be carried away by frivolities, in between struggling with various overwhelming challenges, the Nigerian Afrobeat superstar, Tiwa Savage, released her very first official single for the year. However, whilst the perceived silence after the termination of her contract with MARVIN Records, she kept the fire burning with various collaborations and impact on Beyoncé’s project- Lion King.  In all, after the long wait, Tiwa’s release of her latest song, displayed a product well carved out from her depths of creativity.

The highly anticipated single, initially mistaken for an album by a few was titled 49-99, which has its muse dug out from the words of the undisputed godfather and king of Afrobeat music genre- Fela Anikulapo Kuti, simply known as Fela. Using his songs depicting suffering and smiling as an inspiration. As analyzed by Tiwa, the figure “49-99” mirrors an imagery of the Molue commuting bus in Nigeria, known to always carry more than its capacity, with 49 sitting and 99 standing. The molue in its entirety is one of those numerous symbols of the hardship and economical struggle suffered by the citizens of the nation. This reflects that even with just the title of the song, Tiwa Savage was set to pass across witty content that goes beyond the vibes rhythm and beats bring to the ‘flow’.

Unlike many other previous hit songs centered mainly on love, money and fame, Tiwa’s latest single, “49-99” is one with a message beyond the colorful video production and creativity that came with it. During one of her pre-release interviews as reported by, Tiwa had this to disclose:

I wanted my first global single to have

a message that we are suffering and smiling,

 and music is a powerful tool.

Content, they say is king, and this has been beautifully proven through the channel of music, in the song “49-99”, which relates to our everyday life.

Still speaking about the song, Tiwa further noted that it’s “a reflection of the economy and imbalance, with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer”. This can be sighted in various scenes of the music video, from the first scene ushering a view of aggrieved youths, sweating, some fighting and some others gambling, all in the midst of hunger and obvious poverty, to the scene where politicians are seen lavishing the country’s wealth, as they lust over a girl young enough to be their daughter. In giving more details to these scenes Tiwa added that:

49-99 also addresses some

 political leaders who, instead of focusing

on the growth of a nation, are there just

for the money and having affairs with underaged girls-

while the citizenry is hustling hard to make a daily living.

No doubt, these and more are what an average Nigerian sees as an everyday life.

Also, one of the major attractions to the music video is seeing Queen Tiwa with a group of uniformed girls, all wearing the funny ‘mary amaka hairdo. Scenes of each girl carrying a story in her eyes further reveals many more untold. An example of this is the obvious effect of one of the girls whose hair is decorated with naira notes. The currencies, probably representing the “money on my mind” clan rapidly growing in the nation.

Tiwa explains this, saying “the song encourages the young to put down the sense of inheritance and work for what they desire in life, for a better tomorrow”.

“we can’t sit on our old glories and expect things to change for the better”. These last words of Tiwa is clearly seen in the first few lines of the song, with the lyrics:

I get money before

No be property o.

This is definitely a wake-up call to us as a nation and even as individuals, never to relent or dwell in past glory, which has become prevalent in our system today.

And just when we thought we had tasted the best of “49-99” shortly after the release of the song, Tiwa took to another platform, bringing about a fresh flavor of the song, as she unleashed her usual thrilling performance under Obalende bridge, Lagos Island, with Boomplay and her New Label, Universal Music Group as sponsors of the show.

Although many may argue that “49-99” like most of Tiwa videos reveal scenes of nudity, which may be said to be alien to our morals and culture as a nation, this cannot negate the fact that the song in its versatility, passes so many didactive messages to the leadership, dilapidating economy, dwindling politics and imbalance in the social political sectors of Nigeria, as the Giant of Africa.

The song 49-99 is has certainly been a good shot in the new journey for Tiwa Savage, on her path with the Universal Music Group, and there’s no better time to spread the gospel that the song brings, than in this phase when we reminisce the past 59 years of independence.

Of course, we still have a lot of things to be free from as a nation, notwithstanding, we can look between the lines of the song 49-99 and follow its footprints of sage within, as we walk towards the path of Change that we hope for.


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Author: Afrobeats360

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