Twelve years ago Eedris Abdulkareem sacrificed his career for Nigerian artistes by taking on the biggest rapper in the world, 50 Cent.
When the news hit the public that Eedris Abdulkareem wanted to go toe-to-toe with 50 Cent, who was marketed as the man who could not be killed by 9 bullets, many Nigerians wondered what had gone wrong with the Kennis Music rapper.
You see back then Nigerian music was not yet dominant as it is now. On the airwaves a lot of American Hip-Hop music was still being played. And when it came to the big shows Nigerian artistes played the background to acts such as Usher, 50 Cent, Sean Paul, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and others. The big brands preferred to rock with the international acts rather than the Nigerian ones.
The Nigerians artistes who were on the supporting bill of these shows were not treated fairly. During Sean Paul’s show in Lagos in 2004, Nigerian artistes backstage were flogged by security men who wanted to make way for Sean Paul. Also the Nigerian acts were paid peanuts.
All these led to what happened on that fateful day of December 4, 2004. Tired of the way Nigerian artistes were being mistreated Eedris Abdulkareem decided to do something about it.
After performing in 2 out of 4 shows, 50 Cent and his crew were headed to Port Harcourt aboard an ADC flight. On the flight Eedris Abdulkareem tried to sit on a seat reserved for 50 Cent. The Nigerian rapper was stopped by 50 Cent’s bodyguards. Eedris was not having any of that and this led to a brawl in the plane.
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As a result of the melee 50 Cent decided not to perform at the remaining two shows and left Nigeria. Even though this incident was one of the many reasons that led to the decline of Eedris’ career, it was also a catalyst for Nigerian artistes being treated better.
A few years after the incident, Nigerian acts started co-headlining the big shows with acts from abroad and started getting better performance fees. Sadly Eedris was a martyr.
In 2007, Eedris Abdulkareem would apologize to 50 Cent on stage at the KORA Awards in Abuja.
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