• Megane A

Tiwa Savage drops captivating visuals for 44-99 track

Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen Tiwa Savage making big moves such as being the first female to win the award for Best African Act at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards, and recently signing an international deal with Universal Music Group. This year has been an even busier year for the Afropop Queen who was handpicked by Beyoncé to feature on the song Keys to the Kingdom alongside fellow artist Mr Eazi for the soundtrack The Lion King: The Gift. She has also performed at Europe’s biggest urban music beach festival, Afronation, this summer which saw over 20,000 people.

The singer is back at it again releasing a new song with Motown Records entitled 44-99.

44-99 makes reference to Fela Kunti’s 1978 song Shuffering and Shmiling where Tiwa opens up with the famous “49 seating, 99 standing” line before singing about the poverty one faces in her home country, Nigeria, and how making money is the solution to the problem.

“Where the money dey go

Where the money dey

Hustling for money

Just to get the pay”

In an interview with Beats 1 the singer talks about the inspiration behind the track:

44-99 is a phrase coined by Fela Kunti who is the Godfather of Afrobeat. It’s a transit bus in Nigeria called the molue where you have 49 seats but you have twice as many people standing which is a reflection of the poverty in Nigeria where the rich is just getting richer and the poor are getting poorer and so that’s what the song is about. We’re suffering and smiling.

This concept of ‘the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer’ is portrayed in the music video directed by Meji Alabi. Near the end of the video we see a group of elders who are presented in a way where we perceive them to be of high class and respected, sitting around a table of food ‘eating good’. However, in the opening scene we see a group of guys with money in their hands arguing and fighting which highlights the struggle that those who are not as privileged as the former group go through in order to survive.

The visual for the song features many symbolic and colourful imagery including scenes where the artist is lying on the floor with her long braids forming a pattern, dancing on a yellow bus which is similar to the molue transit bus and where her and a group of women have their hair in threaded styles dressed in white and blue uniforms. The latter is inspired by a portrait taken by Eliot Elisofon in 1972 of schoolgirls from a Protestant secondary school in Mbandaka, Congo.

Eliot Elisofon's portrait of Congolese schoolgirls (1972) which inspired the above image

Watch the video down below and let us know what you think!

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