Nigerian Musicians always reference the Late Fela Kuti as a mentor and a father of Nigerian music however, it is sad to say that this legend of a man is only appreciated by Rappers who are too scared of a fight. ILLbliss and Falz are the only two Rappers who have produced songs which goes against the system in recent times. The others have been living in their mansions making popular music just to stay below the radar. What happens to making an album of 12tracks discussing extensively the bad things go ing on in the country they live in. They prefer singing about a “lady” “money” or “club life” with their carriers becoming dead by the day.
I am a huge fan of Nigerian Rap Music and I have followed the growth from early 2000s to 2018. Nigerian contemporary and indigenous rap has suffered major crisis in recent years loosing its glory days to the ever popular home grown sound of afrobeats and afropop. Nigerian Rappers have in recent times lost their podium of greatness in the BET awards to Rappers from South Africa and Ghana which is mediocre when rating the growth of Nigerian music. Although Nigerian music is obviously still dominating Africa music industry; it can be said that the Rap music game in Nigeria has become a trash from what it used to be when it was at its peak in the hands of chocolate city and YBNL record labels.
Hiphop and Rap music can be said to have been witnessing a sort of revolution with a rare crop of Rappers taking the lead in the Hiphop capital (USA). Grammy award class MCs such as Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean, Logic and J-Cole over the past two to three years have taken the lead of the revolution. They have constantly brought stories and moral teachings into the music they make championing the real energy of good rap music. They have kept their stories and brand straight without any form of ambiguity to their sounds. This however has given a great leap to their carriers because award groups, people and veterans in the industry are acknowledging their craft. But back flipping to Nigeria; the story cannot be regarded as the same because of the downward slide of the Rap game. The punch lines are gone, the hiphop beats are history and the award podium has become a once up a time story to kids. Below are some of the biggest reasons for this mediocre direction that rap music and its makers are going.
LACK OF GOOD STORIES
The word “Rap” means Rhyme and Poetry and to the person who defined it as that understood what it really means. Rap music is all about the poetry and not just the rhyme made by the musician. The holocaust of Rhyme dominated rap music is a disease that is not just affecting Nigeria but also in the United States. In the US, the problem they have with Rhyme is the issue of laziness to write good stories in rhymes that can be voiced on a beat. In Nigeria, it a different story because Nigerian Rappers are not just lazy to write rhymable stories (excuse the expression); but the major problem is that many of them have ran away from the craft for pop music. This has made all Nigerian MCs going for Singing instead of spitting out punch lines. This just didn’t just destroy the rap thing in them but the perception of people in Rap music because no Nigeria will follow someone who does not believe in himself and the craft he or she is making.
POVERTY AND BACK TO BACK DISEASE
Nigeria is a third world country and at such, poverty affects everyone living in the country either directly or indirectly. It can be said that music stars are among the top earners in the country but to maintain that status, they have to keep turning up music every year to remain relevant. We have Olamide having to dig out albums year after year just to be at the top of the game. He has to improvise and make easy music which is afrobeats. Rap music is a borrowed culture from the US and Nigerian Musicians have to work twice as hard to make songs that can be applauded in the world. This has led good MCs like Ice Prince, Olamide, Phyno, Necto C, MI, Vector and many more to release some songs which are not rap music. Although MI tried to turn out music with real bars in them but because of the timeline he used to make those album; he lost his fan base to the other artist.
RUNNING FROM A FIGHT
Rappers make their fame in different ways from dis traks to going against the government in their music. Idris Adulkareem is one of Nigeria’s greatest founding MCs because if the lyrical battles he has always been in. Nigeria Rappers been cowed by the system they grew in. This always makes them keep quiet about the problems of Nigeria. Nigeria has over the past 10years been in a wicked snare of bad leaders and you never hear Nigerian heavy weight Rappers talk about it lyrically. Nigerian Musicians always reference the Late Fela Kuti as a mentor and a father of Nigerian music however, it is sad to say that this legend of a man is only appreciated by Rappers who are too scared of a fight. ILLbliss and Falz are the only two Rappers who have produced songs which goes against the system in recent times. The others have been living in their mansions making popular music just to stay below the radar. What happens to making an album of 12tracks discussing extensively the bad things going on in the country they live in. They prefer singing about a “lady” “money” or “club life” with their carriers becoming dead by the day. They may claim that the system in Nigerian restricts them from making songs like that because it will be banned from radios. They forget that the world is a global village now and everybody in the world can hear your music and fight for you especially when you are saying the truth.
Eminem released the “KamiKase” album recently and revealed that he has recently been questioned by the Security agents in the US. They questioned him if he had the plan of killing the president and he said no but only lyrically. This tells us that like what Fela said about music being a weapon is true and in Nigeria, it is the perfect time it is used to their advantage. Nigerian Rappers should make themselves relevant by making music which tell stories about the environment they grew instead of producing a music of a Lady, money or a party because that is one of the ways to buy the Nigerian public.