What Rick Ross’ “Hold Me Back” Video Tells The World About Nigeria


Minutes after the online release of the Nigerian version of Rick Ross’ “Hold me Back” video, Nigerians on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have since rained curses and insults on the rapper for his audacity at showing Nigeria in its poorest and most ghetto form. The video starts with commentary about the Biafra war and then launches into a series of clips shot at different poor areas of Lagos State with scores of Nigerians chanting along the chorus with him. There is even a clip of Rick Ross handing dollar bills to poor children who race through the dirty slum waters to grab a note as he races off in his speed boat.

Some comments:


– Rick Ross is a hot mess

– Rick Ross is just trying to paint a negative picture about Nigeria. We’re not monkeys over here. 

– Do you think tourists would ever think of going to Nigeria if Rick Ross keeps deceiving the world with a horrible video like this? This video is giving Nigeria a bad image.


Why all the negative sentiments from Nigerians for the video’s Nigerian version?

As a proud Nigerian, I believe my fellow Nigerians would agree when I say we HATE being depicted as hungry, malnourished, poverty striken and dirt poor even though it is the reality of most Nigerians. (Over 80%  by many estimates).

Now by Nigerians of course, I mean wealthy/middle class Nigerians who make up the bulk of those online. They were privileged enough to get an education and live above the poverty that has enslaved most Nigerians. They live in a bubble that knows close to nothing about this Nigeria that Rick Ross speaks about and it is absolutely despicable that he would choose to focus on only this version of Nigeria because it is unrecognizable to them. What of the country’s wealthy areas in many parts of Lagos, or its overpriced hotels and fast rising estates? Or its polished, refined and globally aware party going, Afropolitan elites? Or even just the fact that the nation is private jet loving, with its purported rank as one of its fastest growing markets globally? Or the many things that makes Nigeria Africa’s luxury loving, indulgent and wealthy big brother?

Now imagine some of the kids Rick Ross depicted in the video coming on YouTube to watch the video and seeing the self conscious comments and complaints by Nigerians. They would probably have confused looks on their faces wondering what the fuss is all about especially since the shots he put up were candid and real…or are Nigerians trying to say they don’t want the world to know where they live or what Nigerian slums look like even though that’s where most people live?

Rick Ross is advertently/inadvertently awakening already held stereotypes about many African countries as war torn and hunger stricken but what it should remind us is that it isn’t exactly fair as Africans to expect the world to hide the realities African elites find as shameful.

It is true that there are ghettos and slums everywhere in the world but unfortunately most of the continent is still degenerate – slum life is not a minority problem but a majority problem. Thankfully, with rising economic fundamentals in many African economies, this reality is changing, Nigeria is leading this reality with its ever accelerating GDP growth numbers but is the wealth circulating fast enough to reduce slum life and poverty so that it is no longer the reality of majority of Nigerians?

Perhaps what I and my fellow Nigerians should work towards not covering up our shame but embracing the nation in all its contradictory glory. While Rick Ross glamorizes poverty in Nigeria maybe most Nigerian artistes can for a start abandon foreign locations and shoot the glamorous shots Nigerians speak about at home as a start or will the shots not be glamorous enough by global standards?

Let us all tell ourselves some hard truths and instead of being ashamed and insecure work towards building a continent we can all be proud of, only then will videos like Rick Ross’ Hold me back not matter.

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  1. Chei. Na to give this guy two fat orobo make them massage e prick. See as e open the matter for everybody to see. SwaggedNerd, may God continue to bless your brian. And please make everybody read am, cuz there are a lot of bling arguments that are totally uncalled for.

  2. God Bless you for this commentary…. Nigerians can be too insensitive and incredulous when making comments on what seems most glaring of all the challenges we face as a nation… God Bless Rick Ross… At least majority of these critics never knew the exact tym the Nigeria-Biafra war ended.. It was included in d video… Cheers

  3. This video brings to mind P-square’s Beautiful Onyinye video. How contrasting! Well I totally agree with your article (though the Nigerian in me totally disagrees)! Well our own local artistes should wake up from the shooting-videos-abroad frenzy and face reality! Well I guess we are all still the party music freaks trying to forget our general troubles. Lol

  4. Rozay didn’t come for d rich or middle class, he came to let d world know how the nigerian government hide d nations poverty… Help is wat he is bringing ………. He came for d poor and oppressed.

  5. Well it has happened,so no need of complaining but to me its a challenge we nigerians must face. if it upsets us our leaders should go something about d development of our country. My mom always tells me to stand up 2 my challenges and face it and am tell my beloved country d same things,face it and do something about nigeria’s look. Am proudly Nigerian. And I love my country no matter what

  6. Rick Ross,can u blame him?who invited him in d 1st place?is it not Nigerians that gave him d liberty of being able to do any.dat fat ugly guy wit his big belle.I just hope dis is not true.but true or false,Nigeria is God’s own country no matter how dey paint it bad

  7. na dis video go make tourist stay away frm Nigeria???? na wa 4 d person wey make that statement o….me iLove that confirm GHETTO video…let other Nigerian artist do d same

  8. In a much as I would agree with just a few points made by the writer. I will also like to add that he/she is missing a lot of points.

    1. Not all videos from all Nigerian artists should be shot in the slums.

    2. There are Nigerian videos that have depicted the nature of the life lived in the slums in Nigeria e.g Dagrin – Pon Pon Pon, Eddris Abdulkareem – Jaga Jaga, and many more.

    3. Nigerians are too quick to jump on anything foreign and I mean anything from the western world.

    Nigerian artists are trying to use their talent through music to create awareness but a vast majority do not pay attention to the videos and songs.

    All in all, I do not approve the video by Rick Ross becos he is not helping us to do jack other than show that he has been to the Nigerian ghetto.

    Rick Ross will not fix our problems, Nigerians will.
    Nigerians should learn to embrace and support their country, no matter how bad and ugly things look.

  9. Rick Ross is also trying to tap into the Nigerian oil wealth and spend it in America on women and throwing parties.
    Based on all what I’ve written I still say “Fuck Rick Ross”.

  10. Thank u my guy. Uv said it all don’t mind the likes of MI who talk abou a strangerdepicting nigeria the wway he saw it, FELa has done so much to revealing this mess in the past what are the rest of our nigerian artist doing? It it not to beef and brag about wealth they don’t even have U guys can clean up the mess if u all come together n get urselves involve in all of this.

  11. Most music listeners are dumb here in nigeria and its a shame a big one that thet think rap music is all about flashy cars,bitches, poping champagnes and throwing money , nope rap music is also to show us the ills in the society and those ills are in the populated part in the ghetto- hope you guys saw the new orleans version its still speaks about the poor blacks in american slum – am proud that rick ross have a heart to visit the slums and gave a remake from his original ok – anybody that insult him saying its potraying nigeria image bad or would scare tourist is an eeddioot for life – you think they don’t know all about our ghettos its just dat many ave not visited and rickky took time after his shows to visit around –

  12. Writer, thank you for your point if view, we the angry nigerians are not saying that are no more slums In the countrysides, but we are saying that the FUCKER is stupid, cause you should imagine m.I shooting a video in some American ghetto and giving away money, at that point he would have gone beyond showing the abject poverty in that area and into insulting the pride of whole nation… Personally Rick Ross should be sanctioned, a fine if sme sort against him because dis would not b overlooked bt ignorant tourists, therefore puttin a dent on wateva progress the governent might have made…. Finally in support of my predecessing comment FUCK RICK ROSS up his FAT STRECTED MARKED ASS.

  13. Thank you Ricky for keeping it real…Nigeria is truly flooded with fake products, tokunbo cars, cloths, pants, plates all used and useless stuffs, its simply becoming a dump for other countries. So the same way we have fake, tokunbo and used humans in this country, some are used even in their heads by a deep sense of poverty, they appear good and many of them are in the music industry, fashion, Movie and even the government…They all live fake life home and abroad pretending everything is fine. Let is be said the way its truly is and let make it what we want it to be the true Giant of the World we are blessed. Am loyal

  14. Wen idris sing jaga jaga we no shout oh na d wan wey dem go dey shake nyash una want make dem dey show off cash wey dem no get,how is d world going to knw wat we’re going through if its painted in a different way…..na just bad belle dey hold una…let the guy spread d news of poverty in some areas in nigeria so aid can com…..abi na after una scold am finish den u expect him to com and perform in any show again in naija ko?

  15. Am just lookin @ al dos who are sayin rubbish abt rick ross painting a wrng image abt naija.do u knw dat many of ur so cald leaders don’t even knw such places exist in Naija.durin fuel subsidy issue,sanusi said “hw generators stil use fuel dis dayz,dey r al diesel powered”,anoda minister said “der r no poor people in Nigeria”.do u see ur so cald leaders don’t even understand ur pains

  16. Am just lookin @ al dos who are sayin rubbish abt rick ross painting a wrng image abt naija.do u knw dat many of ur so cald leaders don’t even knw such places exist in Naija.durin fuel subsidy issue,sanusi said “hw generators stil use fuel dis dayz,dey r al diesel powered”,anoda minister said “der r no poor people in Nigeria”.do u see ur so cald leaders don’t even understand ur pains,nd u r here talkin nonsense.Rick ross thumbs up jare

  17. Rick ross tried a lot. you fake rappers Or so called artist we have in nigeria going to another man country to shoot video because. His. Own country is not fit u all should be ashamed of your self for condeming this video

  18. I see no reason y we shld be pissed bcos our attention has been drawn to reality, did we see dt part where he showed nija’s 1st goal @d world cup, d way d whole African race celebrated our victory? Did we take our tym to listen to d song’s lyrics? Did we see d way he embraced d Nigerian flag? Dt tells a lot dt although Nigeria is poor, unhealthy looking, unhabitable to d normal human being, he’s proud to be associated wif us…….

  19. Two letters..BS..Sme pple think Irrationally..like “therealfloweasy” said..How wuld Americans feel if M.I or 2face or even Dbanj goes to shoot a video in Yankee nd he is handing dollar bills to poor kids in d ghetto? It affects d countries Image negatively

  20. I luv the video, this is not reality – it’s called actuality. Real stuff, powerful video and imagery. I hope we all can make possitive aspiration out of this, and please don’t shooooooot the messenger but embrace the message..


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