“’49-99′ is a term coined from the hard life many Nigerians go through,” Tiwa Savage explains of the title of her newest track. “A transit bus serves as a case study. It ought to have only 49 seated passengers, however due to poor economic conditions, we often have nearly twice that number of passengers standing (99).”
Indeed the concept first came to prominence in 1978 when Fela Kuti uttered the line “49 sitting, 99 standing” in his “Shuffering and Shmiling” track, and decades later, Tiwa has revived those same words, underscoring the widespread poverty that continues to plague her home country.
The new cut is a welcome mix of Afrobeats and R&B influences and also comes attached to a vibrant music video, directed by Meji Alabi. The clip hosts plenty of visual references that give a nod to Africa’s cultural history. Notably, the scenes of Tiwa and company in blue schoolgirl uniforms paired with eccentric hairstyles pays homage to Eliot Elisofon’s iconic 70s portraits of Congolese schoolgirls.
Listen to “49-99” below.
49 sitting 99 standing, oh my God o
I get money before, no be property o
Waiting for danfo, waiting for uber and okada
Ọmọ no be so me i want to live o
I got to get the dollar, ko kunle´
Plenty plenty moolah, A’dekunle´