As we approach the highly anticipated 2024 Grammy Awards, it's time to delve into the nominated songs for the groundbreaking Best African Music Performance category. In this final installment, we turn our focus to Davido's chart-topping hit "UNAVAILABLE" featuring Musa Keys.
Throughout his career, Davido has always made sure his voice is heard, his vibrant persona is seen, and his superstar status is undeniable. Even during the seven-year hiatus between his debut album and his 2019 sophomore release, there were only a handful of Nigerian artists who could rival David Adeleke's visibility. Taking breaks was never a part of his strategy, until a personal tragedy in 2022 forced him to pause and temporarily delay the release of what would have been his third album in as many years.
After months of uncharacteristic but necessary silence, Davido returned to the Afrobeats scene with Timeless - arguably the most significant release of his career thus far. The stakes had changed noticeably; it was no longer about reaffirming his dominance as a pop superstar but about embracing a journey towards healing and wholeness. Unsurprisingly, Timeless became one of last year's most celebrated albums in Nigerian pop music. Davido had been dearly missed during his absence, and it was truly refreshing to witness how he further honed his Midas touch as a hit-making artist within the framework of an entire project.
For an artist who thrives on accessibility both online and offline—with an exuberant presence that often borders on hilarity—there is something paradoxical about "UNAVAILABLE." In an era where popular figures carefully curate their visuals for maximum impact, Davido has always remained unfiltered and readily available. His public quarrels are fair game for all to see; he receives widespread accolades for numerous charitable endeavors; he has provided countless meme-worthy moments—all contributing factors that endear him not only to die-hard fans but also casual listeners.
However, it is precisely this lack of pretense that makes "UNAVAILABLE" such an authentic declaration. It cuts straight to the core with no concern for societal expectations or norms—a bold statement from Davido himself as an individual. The infectious hook demands to be sung at full volume: "I'm unavailable, they can't see me." And if anyone missed its underlying message amidst its catchy chorus, further clarity awaits in the first verse where he dismisses all rumors by saying: "Fuck all the rumors/Have I ever claimed to be a pastor?"
In essence, "UNAVAILABLE" showcases Davido at his most genuine—unapologetic and unafraid—an embodiment of authenticity that solidifies both his artistry and connection with fans alike.