I still luv the smell of London

I still luv the smell of London

Thursday, 25 September 2008

War: Naija HipHop or perhaps A rude joke?

Over the past couple of years the Nigerian music industry has grown astronomically. The days when parents frowned on their kids pursuing music as a lifetime career are clearly over... and who can blame them when ‘D'Banj’ has become a self made millionaire and Tuface Idibia has a significant trail of globally recognised awards behind him... It however begs the question as to whether we as a people and as a country are even remotely prepared for this growth?
A few days ago I stumbled on the 'face book war' between 9ice, 'Yoruba' artist ('Gongo Aso') and K16, 'Igbo artist', proclaimed 'Saviour of Naija Hip-hop'. My highly inquisitive mind somehow wouldn't let it go. On delving further, the particulars of the story were clear cut, or so I thought:

The Gist
July 2008:
Alapomeji records (9ice’s label and Krystal promotions entered a contract where 9ice agreed to do a show at the Ambassador theatre in Dublin on the 19th of September. K16 was a supporting act.
18th of September: 9ice refused to board the plane from Nigeria to the UK, his excuse was 'My body dey do me somehow!'.
Pre 'My Body dey do me Somehow': Krystal promotions had paid 9ice 10,000 Euros, had spent 40,000 Euros on planning and promotions and had sold tickets to a host of eager 9ice/K16 fans.
Post 'My body dey do me Somehow': K16's camp was presumably licking its wounds and counting its losses. They had spent time and funds promoting the event and had lost all.
Krystal gets angry, K16 gets angry
'20th of September': K16, Miss Diva and Unseen released the 9ice diss track, at the end of the track they have 9ice on tape confirming that he would attend the show and inviting fans.
22nd of September: 9ice's management release a note explaining that 9ice couldn't get a visa to Dublin hence the ‘no show’, they apologise to the fans informing them that Krystal promotions had suggested that there was an illegal route of entry into Dublin that 9ice could use easily. They also said that 9ice's life had been threatened.
23rd of September: Krystal promotions release a statement giving their side of the story and defending their reputation.
Post 22nd of September: Forums have been set up, articles written, lives have been threatened (both K16 and 9ice allegedly) and there's a lot of hate mail going back and forth... and I guess we have Nigeria’s first 'music war'.

As I read through the various statements, listened to the diss track and watched the reactions of their fans... I came to the singular conclusion that the entire situation was ludicrous to say the least. The lack of professionalism was ridiculous.
The evidence was screaming out, 9ice and Alapomeji records were in clear breach of their contractual obligations. They had confirmed that 9ice would be in Dublin and had been paid 10,000 Euros upfront and he ‘didn’t show’.
His management then released a statement on the 22nd of September, 3 whole days after the show was to be held, saying that he couldn’t get a visa.
Why wasn’t a statement released earlier? Why weren’t alternative arrangements made and what the heck does ‘My body dey do me somehow’ mean? 9ice wouldn’t be the first artist to cancel a gig, the bone of contention here is the manner in which it was done.

For me, this was much bigger than an uneducated artist doing a ‘no-show’. It was the ‘Naija factor’ all over again, it was the incessant desire certain Nigerians had to dirty everything they touched, and it was a total lack of consideration for people; promoters, fans and supporting acts.
Hard as I tried to, I really couldn’t understand it; the entire situation didn’t make any sense to me. It was even harder to accept that some of his fans were not only patting him on the back but were condoning his actions. Did they realise that their sycophantic conduct could only be detrimental to them in the long run?

It suddenly dawned on me that this had been going on in Nigeria for decades, it was nothing new, it had only reared its ugly head in a different manner and manifested with no regard in a new industry. For years government officials, entrepreneurs and mere individuals have signed contracts and been paid for projects and services that would never be delivered and have never been penalised for it. They had g0ne ‘Scott- free’ on countless occasions in different industries and scenarios... and for the first time in a long time; someone decided to have a voice. K16 and his crew spoke up.

If you had asked me a few days ago who K16 was, I would have stared at you blankly, batted an eyelid and slowly mouthed the word ‘who?, probably followed by a very quick ‘huh?’
At this stage I’m somewhat intrigued to hear what this ‘Saviour of Naija Hip-hop’ has to say. I listened to the diss track; it was funny, to the point and so much softer in comparison to the heavily violent lyrics ’50-cents’ is notoriously known for. The one thing that continuously struck me was the veracity that it was ‘intelligently and tastefully done’. It started with a mock phone call from 9ice, a slight recount of ‘the story’ and ended with 9ice on tape confirming his attendance in Dublin... I reiterate, intelligently executed!
Anyone can clearly see that this was not a direct assassination of his music; it was a statement of his failure to meet a service that he had initially advised he had the resources to deliver. It was a direct exhibition of his nonchalant and carefree character, an exposé of his substance or the lack thereof and hopefully a lesson well taught.

As Nigeria as a nation experiences exponential growth in its various faculties, there is clearly a crucial need for a paradigm shift; a brutal remodelling of our minds has become essential. Needless to say the road to achieving this would not be easy.
If it requires making examples out of individuals like 9ice, then why not? If it means that the next big artist would ensure that he is adequately prepared, organised and ‘planned’ so that he meets his next commitment, then why not? If even it means that one fan would never again buy a ticket in vain ... then why not?
As I put my pen to rest, I silently pray that as Nigeria evolves dramatically there is a synonymous revolution in our minds and our hearts.
‘Gongo Ti So O’ and maybe ... just maybe ... Naija hip-hop has truly found its voice and ... saviour...

*Should you choose to listen to the track, be advised that it contains some strong language. I am therefore stamping a virtual parental advisory badge on it. After all it is hip-hop*


AlooFar said...

It's a cool blog you have here.


Doja said...

Actually I do not think the situation is ludicrous....isn't this what happens in Hollywood when they have records and films to sell? It is called 'gimmick marketing', somehow I think the diss track will sell more than it would have if we thought they were all happy friends!

poeticallytinted said...

lol. Quite funny. Like Doja says, we are simply attaining Hollywood status. It's just that we are slightly 'razzer'. Ehen? and what is wrong with 'my body dey do me somehow'? lmao. Im bodi dey do am somehow now... The visa story though is more likely to be true, I tell you.
Well, you already know of your award at mine, I'm just following the rules here... :)

doll said...

There will always be war in music. Jayz and R.Kelly

miz-cynic said...

serious writing but stil a fun read.kudos.wel written but seriosly,i tnk it was either a publicity thn or ego thn as in nice feeling like hes bigger than k16

Emeka said...

A well written and well presented case. And I agree with you. It IS ludicrious. And to counteract what doja said, anybody who signs a contract and doesn't show for a measly reason as that would probably find it hard to work in Hollywood ever again regardless of your status. It is extremely unprofessional.

Buttercup said...

I never heard of k16 until now..

Even if its true that 9ice cudnt get a visa, its only right to have announced that fact earlier, like u said...

I dunno if the whole thing warranted a diss track...

James Tubman said...

nigerians need to take control over their own resources

of course afrikans all over the world (including in the US need to do this)

I love music but inaddition to blacks and afrikans being proficient in music i think the the 3 R's are just as important

thank you

and you are very beautiful my sister

your man must stay in a permanent jealous state :)

desperate lady said...

Girl u always make me proud.......dis is just awesome....totally! Neva heard of k16 until now.......but anyway........I really do agree with u, wut kinda dumb xcuse was d@? No visa? Oh pulleaaazeeee, he shuda just said he was sick or sumthin......gosh.!

Damn giiiiirrrrrrl, James Tubman has a crush on u....yippeeeeee yaaaaaaay, if only he knows.....or does he? Hmmmmmmm! James! James!

Miss Definitely Maybe said...

Lovely blog you have going
about the 'war' I guess any publicity is good publicity and both camps are milking this incident for more than its worth....its all good as long as they dont go down the Tupac/biggie route and make it all violent.

flabby said...

wow! i absolutely adore the way you write..no frills..to the point..and interesting

the nigerian factor! as in gee..its actually amazing how little people care for other people..professionalism aside..he disregarded everyone..his fans that bought tickets..k16 that was just a support act and needed him..all the money spent..its actually amazing that he has forgotten so quickly that he was just another struggling uneducated person trying to make yoruba into hip-hop not too long ago *shakes head*

rayo said...

'my body dey do me somehow' jeez, nigerians, they neva want to do things ryt. who's k16, fast way to popularity 4 him oh. thanks 4 stopn by myn.


Didn't know Nigerian acts were beefing like that oh! But, you are so right, a fundamental shift in our thinking is necessary.


desperate lady said...

impressive write up and I have never seen it put so succinctly...it is sad that an artiste that so many of us like is effin up like this...really sad...

Anonymous said...

ok the above msg was actually me!

desperate lady said...

Yup, it def doesn't sound like me.............chari ur an imposter lol.

Sele Akobo(curvyice) said...

I saw that you sopped by my blog, i decided to doa return match and then stumbled upon this post. I must say you hit the nail on teh head and i applaud your demeanor and style...see ya around blogville and keep up the goodwork.

EVE OWEH said...

i enjoyed reading this i must say..one thing though,did 9ice ever show any remours for his action...i dont think so...i did read what was posted on 9ices fan page and alot of things were said,truth be told,9ice have cancelled other shows for no reason...the most recent one was the one that was cancelled in abuja...does he require a visa to abuja?...well,he has that cross to carry...he better ask for 4giveness ooo...Good read though..keep it up dearii!!!xx!!!

Yewande Atanda said...

I love your writing style I must confess, but I disagree on the content.
You only wrote based on the perspective of the organisers and K16 - an artiste who's supposed to perform alongside 9ice. Your story is not balanced.