Shaku Shaku wave has gone the way of its forerunners, has Naira Marley gotten the memo yet?

March 2014, Naira Marley released his debut single, Marry Juana, a song romanticising his beloved leaf which will give NM his first taste of stardom in Peckham, England, where he had migrated to with his family as a boy. Just a young dude who loves football and music, he will release three other songs, hits in their own rights, making NM the propagator of the subgenre, Afrobashment, that will dominate UK dance clubs for years to come. In Peckham, NM is a household name, a local star; but his decision to take music seriously will influence his coming back to his roots.

Naira Marley

2017 was the year of Shaku Shaku. Every Afro-Pop wave has always had its accompanying dance, it’s a catalyst, and NM was set to jump on the Shaku Shaku craze. His first offering for the Nigerian audience, Issa Goal, was recorded in a day at Olamide’s London residence in 2017, but it won’t be until 2018 that it’ll be released for a strategic reason.

2019, however, was NM’s year. It all began with a series of Twitter exchange with Simi on internet fraud. Then he and Zlatan Ibile teamed up to release the controversial song, Am I A Yahoo Boy? The EFCC replied by rounding him up with Zlatan and a few others on a suspected case of internet fraud. His career seemed to be on the line, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for NM.

Soapy - Naira Marley

Straight out of prison, he released a new song, Soapy, which was shadowed by, perhaps, the craziest dance step that ever graced the Nigerian music scene. From then on, everything NM touched becomes gold, every controversy that came his way was shooting him up for something greater. He dropped hits upon hits. Had a massive cult following designated Marlians, No Belt Gang, No Mannaz.

Naira Marley

2020, NM has had a decent outing so far, but his last offering, As E Dey Go, followed by the Wuge dance hasn’t just chested up to expectation measured by the standards of the Tesumole crooner himself.

The Shaku Shaku dance has many already predicted, has gone the way of its forerunners but it seemed that NM is yet to get the memo. A lot of people assumed NM to be the pioneer of the Shaku Shaku movement. Some think it was Lil Kesh. It was neither of the two. Shaku Shaku as a sound came from the ghettos of Agege, it was peculiar to the Awawa boys. The known names may have branded it and make a couple of it hit from it, but the sound and the dance originated from Agege, and this Agege boy will write about it someday.

Tesumole Dance - Naira Marley

I have digressed…Ha ehn, NM.

The last nail has been driven to the Shaku Shaku coffin, no thanks to new arts like Omah Lay, FireBoy DML, Joeboy, and Oxlade redefining the Afro sound. The end of the Shaku Shaku wave is a call for the Chief Marlian to reinvent himself, come up with something new, else, he will go the way of Lil Kesh, SlimCase and other forgotten voices.

Image credits
Naira Marley's from IG @nairamarley
Simi's from
Zlatan's from

Adeola Juwon

Adeola Juwon is a Nigerian Writer, Poet and Art Critic whose works have appeared on or forthcoming in Kalahari Review, Kreative Diadem, Lagos Review, EroGospel and elsewhere. He considers himself a connoisseur of African Music, and he adores the Oxford Comma.

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9 thoughts on “Shaku Shaku wave has gone the way of its forerunners, has Naira Marley gotten the memo yet?

  1. First off, who knew the day would be this soon that I, Bolaji Gelax, would be commenting on Gelax Chatroom as a GUEST? Okrrrrrrr!!!!!

    Thank you, Juwon. Now that I’m done screaming and showing myself, let me read the post. I shall be back with my comment.

  2. Good read…I love the historical background.

    I first heard of the name Naira Marley during the EFCC Saga, though Issa goal was a hit in its own right during the Fifa world cup, I just didn’t get the owner of the song. Na Olamide get song for all I care! Okay, I think NM gets high on controversy (No pun intended)…let’s wait for another incoming!

    For a guy that looks like an introvert and seem shy…he has done well with that “I Don’t Give A Fcuk” Reputation! Maybe that’s why I like him, but am No Marlian, Thank you.

    P.S Any Marlian here should read in full and get Juwon gist o…before dem pick only the last line and go on No Mannaz parade!😀

    1. Same here, I didn’t know who he was until the saga.

      Hmmm… controversy seems to be what Nigerians (the whole world sef) buy now. If you want to blow, just do something outrageous and post online. Wham! You don blow


  3. As a Marlian, I understand your point, Juwon. I believe there are multiple taxonomies that sum up the Marlian Movement: the philosophy of Naira, the truisms in the oeuvre of his work, appropriation and representation of middle-cum-lower class preoccupations, the risqué but irresistibly beautiful language use, the postmodernist hedonist Marlian views, the dance steps and all.

    What this implies is that, NM would probably make up for a plummet in one area at other areas of the above mentioned.

    Well done, Juwon.

    1. What the heck? How am I to understand what you’ve written without consulting a dictionary? 😟😢

      Please, be kind enough to explain in simple English. Thank you 😊

  4. Juwon, I applaud the detailed research that went into this post.

    But next time, when addressing the President, Put some respek on the name, you get?

    Something like: Supreme Leader Marley or President Naira.




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