2face Idibia: The Making of an African Legend
A few weeks ago, a scandal broke out in the Nigerian music industry between industry legend, 2face Idibia, and singer Brymo. Brymo claimed that 2face had accused him of sleeping with his wife Annie Idibia and of trying to take his place in the industry. The singer also said that 2face’s reign was over and he was the new King, you can read more about the scandal here.
The purpose of this article is clearly not about the scandal; However, Brymo’s last statement got me curious and it inspired me to start researching 2face Idibia’s career and achievements. I began to revisit his music starting from the groundbreaking Face 2 Face album down to his last musical project Warriors.
With over 20 years in the music industry, 2face Idibia is one of the oldest singers in the game. This article aims to chronicle the career of the iconic singer-songwriter especially for the younger generations who might not be familiar with his previous body of work. This article will also show why I believe 2face is an African legend and the king of Nigerian pop music. The criteria for this selection will be longevity, critical acclaim, awards, international recognition, and albums.
2face Idibia began his musical career with the Plantashun boyz in the late 90s, the group consisted of two other group members Faze and Blackface. The group became a sensation in the early 2000s after the release of hit songs like Don’t You Know, Knock Me Off, and the release of their first studio album “Body and Soul”. The group split up shortly after the release of their second successful album “Sold Out” due to 2face wanting to pursue a solo career.
2face Idibia began his solo career under the Kennis Music record label. He released two critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums under the label. He left the label to start his own Record label Hypertek Entertainment and has since released five more albums. 2face Idibia, with over 25 years in the industry, is one of the oldest and active pop musicians in the music industry. His ability to stay relevant in the industry when most of those he started with have faded into oblivion is one of those traits that I believe makes him a Living legend.
2face Idibia’s solo debut album “Face 2 Face” was released in 2004 and became a huge success internationally due to the success of the lead single “African Queen“. The song African Queen was used as a soundtrack on the Hollywood film Phat Girlz. 2face Idibia’s sophomore album Grass to Grace further established the artist as the best in the game. With many hit songs like For Instance, See Me So, Love is a Crime, True Love, and My Love. The album won him the Mobo award for best African act.
After leaving Kennis Music to start his own label Hypertek Entertainment, 2face Idibia dropped the critically acclaimed album The Unstoppable: International edition in 2010. This album once again proved to be an international success, earning him several award recognitions. 2face Idibia has released 9 solo albums in his over 20 years solo career, with the last one Warriors released in 2020. 2face Idibia has continued to prove that he is more than capable of competing with the young artist and still drops hit songs.
2face Idibia is one of the most decorated musicians in Nigeria. He has won many national and international awards ever since becoming the first musician to win the award for Best African Act at the MTV Africa Music Awards in 2005. He has multiple Headies awards, Afrimma, Bet, and world music awards to his credit.
In a time when Nigerian pop music had little recognition outside the borders of Nigeria, 2face Idibia’s African Queen was the game-changer. The success of the song set 2face apart from his peers. It helped him become the first African artist to win the MTV Europe music awards in 2005. 2face has continued to have a tremendous impact on the music industry over the years. He has created classic songs that would stand the test of time. Another thing that makes 2face so unique is his versatility and ability to change with the times. He has continued to be an influence on many Nigerian musicians with the majority of them calling him their biggest influence.
From pop ballads, dancehall to reggae, 2face Idibia championed the Afropop movement and has continued to thrill the Nigerians with hits after hits. As someone who has been privileged to watch him perform with a live band a couple of times, 2face Idibia is indeed a master of his craft. It is no mere feat that no musician from his generation is still as impactful and influential.
2face Idibia has simply continued to reinvent himself by working with only the best producers and artists in the game. Younger generations may believe the likes of Wizkid and Burna Boy deserve the title of greatest of all time due to their Grammy wins. However, none of these singers can be credited for putting Afropop and Afrobeats music on the international map. These achievements in my opinion are what make 2face Idibia the Greatest Nigerian Afrobeats artist of all time.