Jùjú was undergoing a major crisis when Shina Peters burst onto the scene in 1989 with his surprise hit album Ace. He didn’t exactly come out of nowhere — he’d been an apprentice under Chief Ebenezer Obey, had played with General Prince Adekunle, and had released four albums already, yet his meteoric rise to fame took people by surprise. With production by Laolu Akins, on Ace Williams added electronic keyboards and saxophone to the already large jùjú ensemble, and used an electronic drum kit to strengthen the traditional percussive instruments and create even more complex rhythmic patterns. While old school jùjú — including the modern sounds of Chief Ebenezer Obey and King Sunny Ade — was still well loved among the older generations, Peters’ powerful mix of jùjú, Afrobeat, and Fuji-style percussion reeled the young crowds back in.

Megan Iacobini de Fazio