Tiwa Savage releases first global single with accompanying visuals titled “49-99”. The video was directed by Meji Alabi and shot by JM Films.
At the single’s listening party in the UK, Tiwa explains the meaning behind 49-99 “It’s a phrase that was coined by the godfather of afrobeats, 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 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.”