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Who Made Slow Songs Cool Again, Runtown or Wizkid?

But back in the day, the tempo used to be a lot faster and if your song couldn’t be danced to, it wasn’t gonna become a hit.

Of course, guys like Olamide, Davido, and WizKid ate good off the fast-paced thing doing a lot of hits (a few times together even) with the uptempo style.

Fast forward to 2020 and all the songs are extremely laid-back, Wizkid doing an album and not hitting the 120bpm mark, Olamide doing a completely solemn album, and Davido sticking to cool amapiano sounds. We’ve really come a long way from when everything was just all high-tempo drums and all that stuff.

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But who actually made it happen? The first person that comes to mind is Runtown, who in 2016, pioneered a fresh wave of alkayida-influenced afro sounds that gave birth to such hits as “Mad Over You.”

The sound, later christened ‘pon pon’, became the rave of the town and for a year Runtown kept making hits with that same mid-tempo template. It was a real paradigm shift and the industry followed suit with most artists (including rappers) switching up to do the bestselling sound of that time.

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Since then, the industry has never been able to return to that fast-paced “On Top Your Matter” kind of thing. So, in a way, maybe Runtown actually started it? But hold that thought.


In 2016, he made waves with “Final (Baba Nla),” a very relaxed mid-tempo song, and then went on to release “Daddy Yo,” the first single off his “Sounds From The Other Side” LP.

When he finally released SFTOS, it received a lot of backlash for being un-African, mostly because WizKid stuck to mellow sounds that people couldn’t dance to. He kind of saw the feature. A perfected version of the music on SFTOS is what we now heard with “Made in Lagos,” that the whole world has now fallen in love with.

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So, while Runtown kinda inspired the ‘pon pon’ wave that drastically slowed down our tempo, Wizkid was already making moves to push a new kind of Afrobeats that was just as slow and cool.


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