Assassins And Pallbearers; A Story On The Dying Nigerian Hip-hop

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nigerian hip-hop

Nigerian Hip-hop is mortally wounded and straight up on the path to extermination or irrelevance.

One will not be far from the truth if your opinion is that the present economic situation of Nigeria has affected our  music.

First of all, 2016 has been the year when all the hard work put in by all our music ancestors and contemporary artists have decided to yield very tangible results in terms of global recognition and acceptance. Even without much work from them. It’s like when fruits suddenly get ripe and they fall easily without us throwing stones and sticks to bring them down. That’s how it feels right now.

My point of concern is how much Nigerian hip-hop has dwindled, especially in 2016.

The evolution of Nigerian hip-hop surprisingly  spans decades much to my amazement (I wasn’t even born yet when it all started, LOL). It’s a long history, dates back to 1979.

The first hip-hop record to achieve widespread popularity in Nigeria was “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang, in 1979.

A lot of names feature on this epic evolution, some names you may not have heard of,  if you were born in the mid 90’s. Mr. Kool, Rapmaster Lexy Mella, Dili I. Jukson, I.C. Rock, Terry,  MC Mouth,  Junior & Pretty, Tony Tetuila, Eddy Montana and Eedris Abdulkareem.

You will be more familiar with names like Terry Tha Rapman, Mode 9, Eldee the Don, Ruggedman,  Nigga Raw, Pherowshuz, Overdose, MI, Sasha P, Naeto C, Ikechukwu etc.

In the early 2000s the Nigerian hip-hop genre was bubbling and growing.  It was really nice when Ruggedman brought a twist into the game by rapping in pidgin and bringing in the element of diss. Sauce Kid made rapping in pidgin even sweeter.  Mr Raw was an early pioneer of indigenous rap which a whole lot of new breed rappers are now beneficiaries. Hip-hop was more adapted to befit the Nigerian audience.

Now the problem is mainstream hip-hop in Nigeria is dying. This is a story of its assassins and pallbearers.

Who or what really killed Nigerian hip-hop or left it mortally wounded? Who are the pallbearers?

Nigerians! You and I  have brought Nigerian hip-hop to a near death experience. How? An average Nigerian likes to jolly. What that means is that we seek the easiest means to get disconnected from stress and general day to day hassle. So we find solace and escape reality by listening to feel good music which is essentially classified as pop music. We like to party hard. Our love for ceremonies has increased the  demand for pop dance tunes.

Again, Nigerians barely settle to ruminate on lyrics. We never bother our restless minds with reading meanings to lyrics. We dance to the most ridiculous lyrics, and what matters most is a dope beat. Since we enjoy songs with gibberish and shambolic lyrics. We invariably discourage any artist who takes time to weave better lyrics.  Some people will be like who lyrics epp sef?

This so called rappers and hip-hop practitioners should also share in  the blame. They are the pallbears of the carcass of Nigerian hip-hop. These days, rappers want to make as much money as fellow pop singers. Rappers also want to headline and shut down sold out concerts like pop practitioners would do. In that case,  many a rapper has ditched undiluted hip-hop to sing, safe for underground hip-hop heads. You can name them, Olamide, Phyno, Ice Prince are guilty. That momentarily switch of genre has so far helped them roll out hit records that we dance to, Shakiti Bobo, Connect, Fada Fada, Melo Melo and it goes on. However, it is sad that they aforementioned artists came to relevance on the heels of hip-hop.

Nigerian hip-hop is dying, let’s heap the blame first on yourselves, the so-called hip-hop fans. One for not showing much love to those very few artists that are struggling to keep it 100% hip-hop. Two for glorifying wack and gibberish lyrics over material of good reasoning and intelligence.

And to you our well-acclaimed hip-hop artist. Don’t bow to pressure to be cheap. Keep it real for the love of hip-hop and the chance to create a legacy.

In this lukewarm hip-hop era, Vector (Mr Headies awards lyricist of year), it’s high time you dropped your Lafiaji LP, and if need be school your colleagues or better still challenge them. It’s long overdue. Nigerian Hip-hop shouldn’t die in our era.

9 COMMENTS

  1. I dont agree. you are under estimating many nigerian hip pop listeners. Olamide and Phyno has have songs with good lyrics and flows that are on point (Ghost Mode). Reminisce, Uzi, Vector, Classiq and other OG rappers are great. You are looking froma popular music stand point; its like saying American Rap is limited to trap right now; that would be false statement. like other genres, Rap has levels, pop rap, alternative, genre benders, trap, grime.. now the kind of rap running Nigeria is more melodic… maybe someone will bring back the OG style.

  2. honesty; who ever knows what hip hop stands for would disregard these dialects these fugaze rappers are munching over beats.
    ‘hip’- intelligence, ‘hip’- movement, i’m neither yoruba or igbo, common a real hip hop fan can’t fall for these weak serenades these desperate guys are putting out there.
    you ought to listen to the lyrics and relate to the track, once you don’t hear **** it’s plain b.s, period.

  3. honestly; who ever knows what hip hop stands for would disregard these dialects these fugaze rappers are munching over beats.
    ‘hip’- intelligence, ‘hop’- movement, i’m neither yoruba or igbo, common a real hip hop fan can’t fall for these weak serenades these desperate guys are putting out there.
    you ought to listen to the lyrics and relate to the track, once you don’t hear **** it’s plain b.s, period.
    these trending rappers are messing up the entire sport, i listen to most of the hip hop veterans; naeto c, ill bliss, etc. these mainstream material they’re putting out there won’t survive a day in my music shelf before they make it to the trash can. cheap trash.

  4. What this people don’t undastnd is that, “Rap/HipHop” was created by somebody and also “Change” is constant. And again, the so called “Vector” u r raining praises on, does he not have “AfroPop” songs 2? Is he not trying 2 go commercial 2?

  5. The writer is entitled to his own opinion which I respect and once held too. Though he is not wrong but he is not entirely correct. Dooms day prophet of rap music will tell you that Hiphop everywhere is dead not just in Nigeria. For me, changing to the times is not death but growth. Life is dynamic. Nobody killed hiphop, it evolved and Nigerians are doing well in all aspects of hiphop, phyno, olamide, MI, Jags, Vector, Whizkid, Tekno, Yemi, Falz, Savage, etc. Are all holding down in Nigeria and abroad.

  6. Nigerian hip-hop has been long gone, what we have are rapper-singers, even in the US trap is taking over ie rap without any lyrical content, the real hip-hop heads in Nigeria, MODE 9, Terry the rap-man etal hardly make are hardly recognizable by the youths of today. They hardly get called to shows or endorsements. Everything trend has its down time, i guess its the time for hip-hop. One thing is for sure though, Someone will appear on the scene one day and revamp true hip-hop. FAct!!

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