We Nigerians are a fickle group. As music consumers, we are obsessed with what’s popping off now, and look for ways to continuously benefit from the art as it is trending. The moment something stops being trendy, we move on to the next.
9ice was a victim of this. The singer has been one of the most integral names in our pop culture. From his efforts in the past, down to the creation of a classic album, he has put in respectable work in the game. His album “Gongo Aso,” is a classic project that still remains one of the best albums of this generation.
More enduring though, is the record ‘Street credibility’, which features 2face Idibia, and has such a profound effect on the country, that it has remained one of the most defining songs of the modern age. To date, it still commands the public, remaining evergreen no matter what happens. The only time, that song would cease to have a hold over us all, is if this generation of millennials that received and celebrated 9ice at his peak dies out. Until then, it remains a powerful record.
But as it is with all things music, the trends change, dynamism sets in, and the system resets itself. 9ice was one of those artists that time and chance pushed to the side. He lost his famous guttural voice, and his music failed to resonate anymore.
But he hasn’t gone down easily. Turns out 9ice has been instrumental in the careers of many in the industry, and they owe him loyalty. He also has the funding to still position himself in the right circles, and keep trying out his luck with new music. Combine these currencies, and you have enough to run with for a while.
9ice rebranded his business, injected new music and visuals into it, and even created an album dedicated to ID Cabasa, his dear friend and business partner who was instrumental in getting him to blow off in the first place. And while the album was panned by critics, it had one great single ‘Living things’.
An aspirational record, ‘Living things’ was produced by Young John, with a familiar beat reinvented with a melody that draws from Highlife and Fuji to create a pop record. The song has struck home with the crowd in Lagos, and it continues to spread towards the ends of the country. The main driving force for its acceptance is because it panders to the sympathizers of internet fraud and ‘Yahoo boys’. The video has a million views on Youtube, and the audio continues to enjoy elevated levels of downloads.
To further extend the life of the single, 9ice collaborated with to create a reworked and updated version. A video for it is in the works.
‘Living things’ has given 9ice new life, and he is milking it. He has sealed a deal with top talent management firm – Temple Management – who are handling his business. And based on the record, he is touring cities in Europe, performing at venues, and making promotional appearances all over.
Not a lot of artists get this second chance. Many pray in vain for another shot at the limelight, the money and most importantly, the feeling of power and invincibility that comes with just having people hang on to your records and words.
It’s a blessing, really.
But the lesson in this is about ‘patience’. 9ice didn’t despair as his stock fell. Instead, he rolled up his sleeves and kept working. If you intend to win at a game, you have to constantly throw yourself in the deep end of it, and play at the level that could give you success. 9ice has done that, and with ‘Living things’, all of that hard work and strategy is paying off.