In the end, the true test of intelligence in artistes are not in the words of their mouth, but in the combination of everything, and how it all comes together.
Eloquence they say is the best window to see into the brain of a man. The moment you open your mouth, and begin to say stuff, you are immediately judged on what you birth, and your level of intelligence is determined.
But it isn’t the same with the Nigerian music industry. We are a generation that loves intelligence. We look for it in anything, everything and more. All the levels of it are embraced, and when it is displayed, we applaud and scream: “That guy get sense”.
‘Sense’ is the Nigerian parlance for intelligence, having found its way into our pidgin English since time immemorial, and stayed all through, lasting to this point in our lives. You reading this article, your kids will use the words ‘sense’, and so would your grandkids.
A classic Nigerian artiste is a sense monger. They try to sell it in many ways. From interviews to songs to speeches and more, the aim of every artiste and their team on some level is to display sense, and use it to make money. But do they all have sense? Do they really display it? How can you tell if sense is evident in the dealings of a Nigerian artiste? Is your favorite singer and rapper sensible?
Interviews are not the true test of knowledge. Just like in the general populace, eloquent people are regarded as smart because their command of the English language, and their ability to articulate words into expressions give the impression of a high level of mental capacity and activity. That’s why Banky W, M.I Abaga, Illbliss, Jesse Jagz and more are seen as the elite squad for intelligence. The more vocal work they put in, the more they are seen as smart.
While interviews are a good method to measure ‘sense’ in Nigerian artistes, how about those with low conversational skills. Are they senseless? No. They are simply people with very little ability in interpersonal communication. 2face Idibia is one of the greatest artistes of our time, but he hardly ever comes across in interviews as a very eloquent man. He has seen it all, done it all, and earned it all. But does he kill it when he isn’t singing? Not every time.
Phyno has nothing to offer at interviews, but he shows immense intelligence in his work. From branding to project execution, he maintains a killer consistency that has maintained his relevance. Olamide, the guy who puts in the hard work, aims for heavy singles to lead them into albums is a smart business man. He has supervised and nurtured two other artistes to success, and his business decisions have never been found wanting. That’s the real ‘sense’.
Branding can also be a good pointer in terms of sense. An artiste who brings on a shoddy promotional material has no sense. CDQ’s album cover is still leading the list as the worst there is today. From wrong photo choices, to bad colours, and basic spelling errors, the cover is a good example of ‘how not to craft an album cover’. That isn’t smart, and it is representative of the machinery behind the artiste.
The ability to make money is also a huge pointer towards the intellectual capacity of the artiste. Many artistes lack all of the above, but still find a way to make immense cash from their work. Timaya is a good example of this. He has very little by way of branding, does not grant a lot of interviews, has very little setup, but finds a way to keep smiling to the bank at every point.
In the end, the true test of intelligence in artistes are not in the words of their mouth, but in the combination of everything, and how it all comes together. From the works of their hands, to how organized their business setup is, and the clarity and effect of their general dealings.
So who is your favorite artiste? Does he have sense? Why do you think so?