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Pulse Opinion: It is time for Blackface to grow up

Is there ever going be an end to the animosity between Blackface and 2face?

Blackface and 2face, a feud that has no end [Ghafla/Guardian]

Once upon a time, there were three friends, Blackface, 2face and Faze together known as the Plantashun Boiz. The group gave us some of our best memories of Nigerian music in the late 90s and early 2000s but in 2019, hate, bitterness and a failure to age gracefully is threatening to become the legacy of one of its most iconic members.

Of the trio that made up Nigeria's foremost boy band, it is not much of a stretch if you gift Augustine Ahmedu aka Blackface as the most talented of the trio, but in the last few years, engulfed in a need to extend a controversy that should have died long ago, Blackface has lost focus of what matters the most, the music and legacy.

Following the break-up of the Plantashun Boiz, his long-running feud with 2face, at times dormant, other times heated have been well documented and just when many dared to hope that his high energy will be directed to a more rewarding venture in the new year, Blackface on Monday, March 18, 2019, two days before a scheduled court date released a 2face diss song titled, 'War.'

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For those who are perhaps unfamiliar with events, the genesis of their bitter feud dates back to when the song, 'African Queen' was released in 2004. The game changing single that shaped not just 2face's career but also the music industry at the time.

According to Blackface, he was the original composer of the song and for years, this dragged on and even made its way to the courts and to be fair to Blackface, 2face has never openly made an attempt to clear himself of these allegations over the years.

Then in 2014, 2face released the lead single from his ''Ascension'' album, 'Let Somebody Love You' and yet again, Blackface went to town alleging that the song belonged to him and 2face had this time added his manager, Efe Omorogbe as a composer.

In the record 'War,' which came with threats and insults, Blackface referenced these age long claims of 2face stealing his songs, and then made strong and provocative allegations alluding that he was gay, which he points as a major contribution to his success. 

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Anyone who knows Blackface would know that he has always been quite vocal and never shy to call names when something does not sit right with him.

It was on his record, 'Hardlife,' that rapper Alabai called out then sitting president, Olusegun Obasanjo, rapping, ''ÓBJ, we don't feel you, as matter of fact, we don't need you.''

Also following the release of his debut album, ''Ghetto Child,'' the most influential music publication at the time, Hip Hop World Magazine, in its review called it a poor album and scored it a 2/5 and in his next single, 'Ahead of the game,' Blackface went ahead and rhymed, ''Make them damn HipHop World, make them check my profile.''

He is from that era where emcees never back down from a fight, that Eminem era where having the last word fuels your pride and masculinity and when it comes to diss records, there are really no rules, but when allegations, like the type he mentioned on the song gets thrown around just so you can hurt the other party, then it becomes a mess.

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As one who consumes music with particular emphasis on lyrics, artists must always understand the weight of the words you choose to use. 

Without overthinking it, 'War' is a spiteful record, a corny record that expresses hate, and yet another wing of his emotional attachment and obsession to 2face. Or how else do you explain his seeming inability to ever get 2face's name or music out of his lips? Almost on a daily his social media pages are littered with unrelenting shots or subliminal at him.

Even though fans love 2face's music and applaud his humility, there have been many who in the past expressed an understanding of Blackface's pain especially after he appeared on the Loose Talk Podcast in 2017.

At the time, his outbursts seemed to have been born from a place of betrayal, supposed backstabbing and high emotions, but now his cries are no longer welcoming, he is no longer that baby that needs to be pampered with back rubs and ice cream, he is now a fully grown 40 years plus adult and it is time he stops with the tantrums and take more responsibilities for his career.

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In previous conversations with him, Blackface sounds like a self-serious individual who believes he is only chasing what he deems to be right and fair, but increasingly, he seems to have positioned himself to be a thorn in 2face's flesh while forgetting to actually live out his own life or make something out of his music.

His claims that 2face and his team are blocking his songs from getting played on radio or him getting shows sounds so 2005 when Ruggedman accused Kennis Music of same, not only does the radio no longer command the influence it once had on the listening audience, Blackface should not need to wait to be put on shows in 2019.

While he and his fans will quickly push the argument that he has always been releasing new materials, which is very correct, with his seventh project [''Defenders Vol II''] on the way, it is safe to state that from being a pioneer, to also being one of the early acts that understands the place of evolution with how he transited from being a rapper/singer to the dancehall character, Blackface has peaked and the music no longer catches the ears of the fans.

There are layers upon layers of nuances to this conversation, too many to adequately detail in one piece. Nevertheless, one thing is clear: 

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This year, 2face has rolled out plans to celebrate his 20th year on stage and with an identical timeline in how they started their careers but a gaping disparity in how they have made a success out of it, it’s perhaps time for Blackface to consider the legacy he will be leaving behind; the perceived bitter and toxic act who endlessly waged war against a more successful former friend or the talented individual who at some point was indeed regarded to be ahead of his game.

Why this constant urge to keep looking back, at a time when everyone is choosing to go forward? Reigniting a fight that nobody, absolutely nobody is interested in.

He swears that he is doing all these just for artists to start doing things right, but it becomes unbelievable when you consider that he has already taken his case to the proper place it belongs, the courts, so why not just wait and let the courts decide if making an intellectual statement is really what he seeks?

It is sad to see how his career has played out, like the tragic ending of a fairy tale story and if you follow fairy tales, you will understand that they usually have happy endings.

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While this was perhaps amusing at some point, it has become a tired and recycled game, one that is petty and inconsequential especially as it is only one side that has largely done all the talking.

I remember watching the 2009 American movie, Obsessed, which starred Idris Elba and Beyonce, and every time Blackface throws these tantrums, I am reminded of that white lady who always had a flair for the dramatic and when ignored, it becomes a tale of acting juvenile and antagonistic, making everyone the enemy.

From the fan on Twitter who has a contrary opinion to that writer who doesn't think highly of his new single, but more particularly to that person that he feels for some reason should owe his life to him and seeks his attention the most, the enemies know no limit.

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Blackface has promised a video and also a sequel to the song, like a boxer who walks into the ring fighting an imaginary opponent, after several airy blows, it becomes inevitable that he begins to self-destruct and punches himself instead and when this happens, it is only sensible that his friends, family and industry elders throw in the towel and help save him from himself. It is time he puts an end to this show of shame, it is no longer funny.

This article has been updated to reflect the proper rating of Blackface's ''Ghetto Child'' album by Hip Hop World Magazine.

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