49-99 : Tiwa Savage Is Channelling Fela And Talking Social Change

Tiwa Savage Motown Records

Tiwa Savage is arguably one of Nigeria’s biggest musical exports and the new video for her single 49-99 shows us why she is at the top of her game.

The name of the song which references Fela’s “49 sitting, 99 standing” line from his song ‘Suffering and Smiling’, gives you an idea of what Tiwa Savage is going for.

While it still featured a lot of her sexy antics with the help of backup dancers, a lot of the imagery in this video is symbolic and passes a message.

The song itself seems to talk about the obsession with wealth as a nation.

There was a scene where a nude Tiwa Savage lay with her hair spiraling in different directions like Medusa  and another where she danced on a table surrounded by older men who seemed to be ogling her and arguing over her seemingly in reference to how some of our ‘elderly’ leaders prey on younger females to sate their perversions.

Those are just the author’s thoughts on the video, Tiwa Savage herself at the listening party for the song went into some detail to explain what the 49-99 meant, explaining that it alluded to the Molue transit buses which were created to seat 49 people, but instead would seat 49 and then have about 99 people standing.

So instead of it to have 49 people to commute to work and back, you have 49 people sitting and double that 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 – it’s one you can zanku to and dance to.” she said.

She also expressed her desire for her first single to pass a powerful message so that people would sit up and take notice… She’s certainly achieved that.

You can watch the video below.


Tiwa Savage also sat down for an interview with Ebro Darden where she talked about her music, her breakthrough into the international market and many other topics.



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