Nigerians are still revelling about J.Cole’s performance at the recently concluded Castle Lite Unlocks concert. Widespread reaction from social media, the tweets, the Instagram videos and all, it all shows that for those Nigerians that were fortunate to attend the concert it was fun all the way. Even more, thousands of others still bite their fingers because they couldn’t attend the event.
Castle Lite Unlocks concert is in a way kind of different because it was headlined by an American rapper J Cole. Someone who considers himself a B-List celebrity. One thing that didn’t sit well about the concert was having Wizkid and Davido as co-headliners in what would be thought of as a hip-hop concert. While rappers like MI Abaga, Falz, YCEE were supporting acts. Yikes!
So after the entire event, videos and reaction flooded the Internet showing how Nigerians rapped along with J. Cole as he performed his hit songs. The most interesting part is the fact event attendees mastered the lyrics of J.Cole’s latest album “KOD” which only clocked a week after release. That was amazing, and even Jermaine was shocked he had solid fans around this part of the world.
Having fans vibe and rap along while J Cole performed his set at Castle Lite Unlock draws our attention to hiphop culture in Nigeria.
Here are a few truths about hiphop in Nigeria as revealed by Castle Lite Unlocks.
First of all, the belief that there are no real hip-hop fans in Nigeria should be discarded immediately. Yes indeed besides all the conspiracy theories that real hip-hop fans are only but a few…, Nigerians only want to dance… ain’t really an absolute truth. Nigerians love hip-hop and there is indeed a market for hip-hop in Nigeria. Castle Lite Unlock proved that we love rap music and can rap off some of those hip-hop hits by heart.
Secondly album culture ain’t exactly dead in Nigeria. Same Nigerians who have been accused of not being interested in buying albums bought or yet still found a way to get J Cole’s KOD for free and mastered the lyrics in one week before his concert. That says a lot about the fans. It’s only proves that Nigerians wouldn’t soak up shitty albums because it’s our fave. Truth is every album that was a masterpiece has always been appreciated. Oh let’s talk about MI’s debut and sophomore albums, Naeto C’s debut, the Eldees Trybes Men etc. Those albums were solid and fans showed love.
Nigerian rappers are not consistent in their game. J Cole has five albums to date and Nigerian fans could vibe to all those LP’s to his amazement. Cole has been consistent with his releases, lyrically, production, and marketing. Show me a Nigerian rapper that has been consistent in all fronts? Our hip-hop artists come impress for a minute get complacent and loose the magic. Nigerians rappers are a lot more interested in pulling crowd like their Afropop colleagues which is not a bad idea. Some disgruntled rappers who turn singers and even those that stick with rap cannot give a good live show, performing songs with missing lyrics and merely frolicking the stage.
Another school of thought would insinuate once again that Nigerians don’t love their own. If hiphop in Nigeria is done the way it should be done with great finesse there is no doubt Nigerians would support.
Our pop stars get so much love because they have grown the arts and finessed it. Wizkid got a chance to play at COACHELLA, Davido would perform at WIRELESS this July, that is how much these Afropop stars have grown the art. But hip-hop as it is in Nigeria has not evolved much in comparison to the Afropop music. Sometimes we make the hip-hop thing only about lyrics, but that shouldn’t be all, but the entire arts itself most be improved. What have the so called hip-hop artists and rappers done to make the art of it more entertaining. Kendrick Lamar won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for music, it shows how much hip-hop has grown in America. I can’t remember the last time a Nigerian rapper got nominated for Best International Act: Africa in the BET. It has always been our pop stars.
Who is our best hip-hop artist in Nigeria? Would it be Olamide, Phyno, Falz, YCEE or even MI? SMH!!
Nigerians rappers shouldn’t blame fans for the failure of hip-hop in Nigeria. Rappers don’t even need to fix up their lives like MI Abaga advised. Nope, those hip-hop artists and rappers need to fix up the arts, fix up the hip-hop culture.