The superb 2016 anthology Doing It in Lagos: Boogie, Pop & Disco in 1980s Nigeria combines tracks recorded by various R&B artists who burst onto the Lagos, Nigeria nightclub scene in the '70s and '80s. Inspired by the sophisticated dance-oriented sound of American acts like Chic, Shalamar, and Cameo, Nigerian musicians started crafting their own brand of glamorous, club-ready, good-time jams colloquially referred to as "boogie." A giddy combination of funk, electro, R&B, and disco, "boogie" was a hugely popular style in Lagos clubs. Benefiting from a relatively stable economic climate, "boogie" labels began popping up around Lagos, releasing albums by such artists as Hotline, Willy Roy, Danny Offia & the Friks, Veno, and others. Many of these artists benefited from the deeply talented and creative well of Afro-beat musicians who came up in the wake of Fela Kuti in the '60s and '70s. However, where the Afro-beat and later Afro-rock bands favored music with a more socially minded and psychedelic influence, "boogie" bands produced neon-hued, groove-oriented songs, with lyrics largely sung in English and crafted with an ear toward getting people to dance. Tracks like Hotline's funky "Fellas Doing It in Lagos," Steve Monite's sparkling "Only You," and Livy Ekemezie's roiling, falsetto-tinged hip-shaker "Holiday Action" are hooky, infectious numbers that wouldn't have sounded at all out of place in rotation on U.S. urban radio stations. Elsewhere, we get equally compelling cuts like the Santana-esque sophistication of Gboyega Adelaja's "Colourful Environment," Ofege's dance diva anthem "Burning Jungle," and the synthy electro-rap of Lexy Mella's "On the Air." Unfortunately, with the downturn of the Nigerian economy throughout the '80s, "boogie" artists suffered with the closure of labels and the growing notion that it was at best a superficial style and at worst a mere imitation of American funk and R&B. Decades later, listening to Doing It in Lagos, it's clear that Nigerian "boogie" was a vibrant and inspired movement of its own, as worthy of fandom as any of the American tracks it was influenced by. ~ Matt Collar
Pitchfork (Website) - "It is as prescient a reissue as can be hoped for, delivering a crucial set of songs that show the country absorbing and beaming back singular versions of disco, boogie, electro, and early rap."