Ebuka is a passionate music lover (Tolu:according to him) so he decided to save us from ourselves by writing a few words (Tolu: like 2000 words actually) of wisdom,enjoy. *Ebuka strolls in like a BOSS*
Of all music genres, rock is my favorite but Hip hop happens to be the one that generates the most arguments. whack, dope, dead,”bla bla rapper killed bla bla rapper” are just some of the words/phrases you come across whenever you hear people talk about hip hop. My peers criticize/insult successful rappers questioning their credibility, funny coming from a group of people whose ancestors specialized in atulogwu /highlife/fuji music. It’s amusing the authority with which we say these things. For the most part we think the current generation of hip hop is completely whack, dissing them every day (while they are making their money and being successful). While it might be true that some of these guys are not talented wordsmiths, I think we might just be taking it too far. As a fellow who has loved music all his life, I’ll just go ahead and state some of the things that I have observed over the years
The hip hop heads amongst us are often outraged by the fact that this generation of hip hop lacks real content, poor metaphors are probably the biggest culprits here (I’ll get back to this later) , in fact music in general is mostly about club bangers than real content these days, but if content is the problem here then I think the golden age is just as guilty ,cause the theme has remained the same(even though the old school rappers where more creative) sex , drugs , women ,money ,gangsters etc , and of course you know most of what they say ”na wash “ ,some of them don’t own as much as they claim to have .
It’s not uncommon to hear people diss rappers for dropping love songs , don’t know if this is wrong or right ,but since the 80’s a lot of the top dogs in hip hop from Cool j to Diddy did the same. people also complain a lot about how modern rappers are too soft, how they need to be more gangster and so on, the question here is what you as an individual considers gangster, rhyming with gun, pussy and weed might portray you as one, but that is not really the case and contrary to what has been embedded in your subconscious all your old school rappers weren’t exactly drug lords as they would like you to believe, secondly what do most of us know about being gangster any ways?? most of you are well fed milk and sugar kids(nothing wrong with this) , proper “ajebos” , your closest understanding to what being gangster is ,is probably your experience with grand theft auto ,so it’s just amusing when I see an ajebo dissing rappers for their inability to produce “gangster lyrics”. For those with 1st hand experience of what life in a tough(gangster) neighborhood is like and insist on listening to the so called gangster hip hop while frowning all day and murmuring ” this shit is dope” just remember depression is real bro.
Back to metaphors… I really don’t know what that figure of speech did to this generation, they keep on using it unnecessarily … rhymes like “I’m so fly … arik” “I make girls wet … ocean” “nigger u r so fat … Burger” “you career is dead … Ghostbusters” should be censored on air at least.
Don’t get the wrong picture here I’m not comparing the Nas and biggies of this world to the modern rappers we have now , that would be blasphemy, punishable by castration , I’m just saying some of this things we accuse the modern rappers of doing wrongly have been around since the beginning. Some people will have you belive(Tolu : Ebuka its not spell as you pronounce please) that prior to the new millennium all rap songs were hard core jams not the danceable tunes and sing along(s) we have these days … one word #MYTH.
The home front
I’ve been a fan of Nigerian music from the onset, before the top quality Clarence Peters videos, dope producers and all that. I’m talking about a period when people will call you razz because you know and play Nigerian songs (as if they were the only ones that had MTV … *sigh*). I loved these songs for the quality not because they were released by Nigerian artistes (even though we didn’t have many hits at the time).
In the hip hop scene over here the most popular phrase is “keeping it real” and this has confused me a lot, what exactly is keeping it real?? some will tell you that hip hop should showcase our culture and will despise you if you do otherwise, and by culture they mean rapping in any of the local languages, or something similar to this “sha ba la maks ka shika hsika shik jokkk dk skksjjs jkjnj jn jsn sdjkskj frexsde brakat brak athui kklplio fpo free redse jksj sdn kjnjsjjsjk me jkdk liop ” this might look like a desperate attempt at making a joke ,but certain artistes here speak certain languages that can only be spelt like this. (tolu: incredilobia). However when it comes to dress code(blinging up, sagging etc) we don’t hesitate to imitate the western culture or even out do them ,but when it’s time to write lyrics we suddenly remember we have a culture?? Hypocrisy?
There was once a school of thought around here that anyone who raps in pure English won’t be accepted in the industry , well M.I came around and disprove that myth with his “talk about it album” , and for someone who doesn’t understand jack shit in Yoruba , I enjoyed Da grin’s C.E.O album. I know a couple of rappers who can switch between plain English, hard punch line rap to club bangers and they are successful at it, Eldee is a classic example.
I completely accept the idea that our culture should influence our music but I think the level of acceptance you get doesn’t necessarily depend on the style you adopt, and you shouldn’t antagonize people for not doing things your own way ,especially when you are also guilty of some your accusations.
For the so called hip hop heads that use every medium they get to vent and whine about how this generation of hip hop is so dead and how Nigerian rappers are whack, you don’t really do much to help the situation. Judging by activities online most people crawl around music websites looking for free music to download ,now you don’t buy your favorite rappers “dope” album , and of course show promoters won’t feature them (because most people who go to concerts go there to dance ) ,at the end of the day all the dope rappers get is “ #NP @certainRapper > bla bla song … this guy is dope” , which might be a lie you came up with just to get a RT on from the rapper(Tolu: I talk am,this is all a SUB), so if that is all they get how do you expect them to make ends meet??
“ SHEY NA YOUR SONG IS DOPE MAN GO CHOP?”
How do you expect upcoming talented rappers to confidently make the kind of songs you like, when they know that they might get little financial reward for their efforts? A number of rappers have stuck to their guns in doing what they believe is hip hop the way it should be done , and I respect that .. Not everything is about money me I don’t do everything I do for money.(Tolu : blaady liar)
But as a programmer and a future film maker (watch your back Mr. Spielberg / James Cameron) with a very horrible voice and no rap skills at all, I won’t hesitate to spit crap if I have the right connect with the right music geniuses. If you can get Donjazzy /Timbaland to make beats for me and get me the right PR team to promote me I could recite the letters of the alphabets over and over again on 12 tracks, probably fart on sum and I might still go platinum and proberly (probably he means) be the headline act on every show worth attending here in Nigeria (Tolu: I’m sure Jim Iyke felt this way) … the last time I checked , “if they can dance to the beat they will like it” , or if u could get me signed to YMCMB .. I’ll just drop an album titled “CODIENE” sing/rap about weed, money, codeine and sex , get paid and retire.
Worst Case scenario you guys will diss me abi?? No problem I will even join you ,if necessary I’ll start the trending topic and I’ll willingly submit myself to Nas to shoot his ” hip hop is dead” video all over again if he needs me to.
What is this whole talk all about??? (Tolu; I ve been wondering mehn)
You probably reading this and you probably saying to yourself, why is this guy promoting whack music?? Well let me make it clear music is not always about club bangers ,you could use music for bigger things, you could rally the troops for a (positive)revolution with good music ,support a good cause and even worship GOD(atheists should feel free to ignore this point).I’m just saying the truth as it is , I’m not claiming to be that guy that knows everything about music , I just state the facts the way I see them and if you are honest with yourself(Tolu; let them not be honest na) you will agree that a great deal of what I said here is the truth and nothing but the truth. Music is a universal language and people should express themselves freely not like we have any set of rules anyways. I’m pretty sure some “classical music stakeholders” would have had a thing or two to say about how pop, rock, hip hop isn’t the way music should be done and how those who started this movements weren’t keeping it real , simply because they weren’t able to adjust to these genres.
The ugly truth
There is no rap music rule book, and everything about rap(music) keeps evolving .. That is life for you, but I think it is also necessary to maintain certain aspects of hip hop culture no matter how much it evolves.
To be a successful artiste you don’t have to be the best wordsmith or the most skillful writer, in fact most of the successful American artistes you respect have writers and producers doing the work for them behind the scenes and they don’t hide this fact. These days it’s mostly about appeal, delivery charisma and what have you, this is not to say I don’t enjoy the work of a talented person, Common’s latest album is probably my favorite rap album since M.i’s “M.I 2” and Eminem’s “Recovery”, if you know common then you will know he has no time for “bangidi bangidi beats”.
Provided you are making people happy with your music then you are doing something right.
80-20 rule …
This rule is simple, 80% of the population do or like certain things because a certain “cool” 20% of the population like that particular thing or are probably doing that shit, how can you explain someone who makes so much noise on how they think a particular artiste is so on point and yet they barely know shit about that artiste? , I’m not saying you must know the biography of an artiste before you like the person moo (did Ebuka just turn to a Cow?), all I’m saying is that most people have been infected with the “follow follow” virus. This has a lot to do with that “last carrying phobia”.
that era of hip hop you cling to is gone and gone forever, the world keeps evolving, the best you can do is just maintain your music taste and don’t accept anything that falls short of your standards (this varies with diff people of course”), but if you are still dreaming about a time when rappers will return to the violent, gang banging lyrics.. I’m sorry , cause forever is a mighty long time … but I know humans are just stubborn some of you will be here hoping and waiting , well rumor has it that Dre ‘s Detox album will spark a revolution when he releases it * my forever clause is still valid here*
So children if you can sell your music “sad / happy /whack/dope/gangster/aggressive” whatever the world decides to call it provided it makes people happy and you are making a living off it then you are doing something right . Thank you
#NP Jim iyke > who am i ? 😐