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Lagos, NG
23rd September 2019

Tiwa Savage drops the visual to her new single, 49-99

PHOTO: Tiwa Savage graces Times Square Billboards
PHOTO: Tiwa Savage graces Times Square Billboards(via-IG/tiwasavage)

The Queen of African music, and Afro Pop, Tiwa Savage has finally dropped the visuals to her new single she titled 49-99. The news music was produced by Pheelz and co-written by Olamide and Pheelz

During the listening party, Tiwa Savage had a Q&A session with the press, during which she revealed the story behind her new song, ‘49-99’.

According to her, ’49-99′ stands for ‘Forty-nine, ninety-nine’ and not ‘Four thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine’ or ‘Four nine nine nine’ she said.

Adding further, she said: “It’s a phrase that was coined by the godfather of afrobeat, Fela Kuti. It means, ‘49 sitting, 99 standing.’ Errm, suffering and smiling. For those who are not Nigerian, we have these transit buses which we call a ‘molue’ and it has 49 seats

So instead of it to have 49 people to commute to work and back, you have 49 people sitting and double that, 99 standing, hanging… That’s just a reflection of the economy and the imbalance with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. So the song, even when you first listen to it – it’s a great record (laughs) – it’s one you can zanku to and dance to.

But I wanted something; I wanted my first global single to have a message that we are suffering and smiling and music is a powerful tool. And I wanted a title which could be a conversation starter like 49 people sitting and 99 people standing… like we’re suffering and smiling.

Image credit: IG/Tiwa Savage

The new single 49-99 was referencing the late Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti’sfamous “49 sitting, 99 standing” line from his 1978 song “Suffering and Smiling.” 

Meji Alabi directed the historic music video, offering a striking visual that features colourful imagery and symbolism. One of the most striking scenes captures the singer and a group of women dressed in a blue and white uniform with their hair in threaded styles—a direct reference to the iconic portraits of Congolese schoolgirls taken in 1972 by photographer Eliot Elisofon.

She also incorporated Diana Ross‘ bold and unforgettable flower-accented look from the late 60s where she is spotting a lengthy braids forming intricate patterns around her. 

This is a major output from the former Mavin’s queen, as she joins other Nigerian afrobeat singers to push the music genre further.

…A Big congratulations to her, as we enjoy our Nigerian product!!! lol. E Pain them oh lol

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