THE DECLINING STATE OF NIGERIAN RAP MUSIC
Ruggedman, Mode9, Eedris abdulkareem, MI, Eldee, Terry tha Rapman, Naeto C, Illbliss, Ice Prince, Phyno, Olamide, Reminisce, Jesse jagz, Da Grin, Vector, Dremo, Poe, Phenom, Ycee, Zoro, SDC, Over dose, Nigga Raw, Loose Kanyon, Ikechukwu, Yung6, Sauce Kid, Iceberg slim Blaze, Sasha, Kemistry, Eva, Bouqui, CDQ, Freestyle, 2shotz, Biglo, Kellz, Skales…. The list goes on and on if you can think of any other rapper in Nigeria at the moment. You can see that we are richly blessed with some of the best and talented rappers in Africa, so here comes my question, WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO NIGERIAN RAP MUSIC?
Drugs, Money, Street credibility, Originality, Women, Society, Bragging rights, Politics, these have always been expressed in rap music and it was entertaining, so what is the problem or why are rappers not following this format to hit their lines in their rap bars?
Until recently, rappers spoke about important culturally-relevant topics. Gone are the days when rappers threw us off feet with dope verses filled with deep rhymes embedded in figures of speech with punch lines after punch lines that make up a verse, but most importantly delivering an impact message to the listeners, making them think because it showed the rappers ability at story telling. In stark contrast, I can challenge any new school fan to list five (5) new rappers who can write or release equally well written and impactful songs that do not glorify superficial aspects of life such as gold chains, money, women, botty and lavish living. While you scratch your head to come up with a list, let me further explain another problem with the genre, which is the Poetry that historically permeated rap has been abandoned and replaced with simplified syllables and phrases.
Could it be the fans have turned deaf ear to Rap or have the rappers suddenly gone cold and decided to do sub-standard music?
There’s a debate as to who is to blame for the declining state of rap music in Nigeria. First, you have the rappers who say the Nigerian audience are not good at spotting a good lyrics and in so doing do not encourage rappers trade in the industry. Look at it from this angle, if people don’t understand your music how can they flow with you?
Take the case of Jesse Jagz for example, a talented and gifted rapper and producer who doesn’t get
the recognition he deserves.
Then you have fans who say the rappers are not just up to scratch and would do any kind of music just to remain relevant,(a whole lot of rappers fall into this category) on this note we have rappers who have switched genre to maintain their stay and accusing the fans. Veterans like Ruggedman, Mode9, Illbliss, MI, Eedris, Naeto C, Terry tha rapman, 2shotz, Eldee used the medium of storytelling to great effect back in days and still do it (for
the active rappers). To an extent you would expect this technique to be passed down to the new rappers who are expected to maximize it to suit a wider audience in the future but that’s not the case.
In the album “Talk about it”, Mi took rap music to a whole new level touching on several topics such as politics,
society, socio-cultural challenges, street credibility and bragging rights, this seemed like the
formula for every good rap album at the time. But it seem it has been noticeably abandoned by the
“You rappers should fix up your life” was a wakeup call to all rappers today, as controversial as it may sound, my whole article was born out of listening to that song which obviously shows the pain of the rap veteran over the dying art of rap, and calling on every one to sit up and do Rap Music the justice it deserves, no disrespect to any of the new school rappers but they clearly seem to be drifting away from the real root of Rap Music.
To clarify, I am not saying I do not enjoy the current rappers that try to nail the craft, but if rap was a class, I would be hesitant to award anything higher than a C to most of what is out there now. In general, mega and easy money, big crowd, social media presence, and mass appeal have trumped creativity and substance from Rap Music. As a result, it’s more about a catchy beat, a nice repetitive hook and facile song writing. I do accept change is constant, but i do not agree with the change Nigerian Rap Music has undergone, if anything, this is not a change but it is simply the death of the art itself. Its high time Nigerian rappers stepped up and re awaken the genre, there are still some of us, Hip Hop loving fans dying to hear good Rap music again, but we can’t always wait for or rely on the veterans to always do that.
Illbliss dropped his new album titled “ILLYBOMAYE” it was a timely reminder of what a lyricist he still is and why he’s regarded as one of the figure heads in the Nigerian rap scene.
As a society we should not be buying into and fueling the progression of bad music (no disrespect to anyone out there) because the kids that are growing up listening to this garbage now will probably continue the trend, leaving us with more meaningless, simplistic and Out of touch music.
by Chris da’phoenix