A little over a year ago, in the thick of rapper, Falz’s criticism of veteran act, 9ice, Pulse did a breakdown of the yahoo and fraud glorification in Nigerian music.
Fast forward to a year later, Pulse also did a breakdown of how Yahoo boys are easily identifiable in a crowd from their accepted fashion and appearance standards.
They place a premium on wealth and make everybody else not interested in Yahoo-Yahoo, catfishing, and fraud feel like ignorant people who will never make it in life.
Yahoo has now gotten so ingrained that the fundamental wrongness of it has been normalized by conversations like, ‘Money na money, nobody wants to know how you make it, just make it.’
The average Nigerian street song is either laced with subtle instances of celebrating Yahoo like Victor AD’s “Wetin We Gain” or unrepentant yahoo rhetorics like on Chinko Ekun's “Able God,” featuring Lil Kesh and Zlatan Ibile — whose lyrics were riddled with Yahoo talk.
He said, “Omo ase, o lo n to’ro jacky, kuro n’be, To ye ko lo ra lappy. Tete connect, ki iwo na le collect, Ko le rale si Lekki, ko put e for Rent.”
It basically translates to, “Bastard, you’re begging for jacky (Jack Daniels), Leave that place and go get a Laptop (For Yahoo), Connect (Start Yahoo) so you can collect (Money), so you can buy a house in Lekki and put it up for rent.
Sadly, the issue has again crept its ugly head, like the villain in a horror movie or a thriller - worse a cockroach - that never really dies.
Blaqbonez vs. YBNL Boys
Two days ago, a salient issue sailed sadly under the conversational radar, either because the people involved had no real pedigree or because we’ve so normalized yahoo that conversations like that have become cliché.
Apparently, YBNL signees, Picazo Rhap, Limerick, Yomi Blaize and another rapper, Kayzmoore performed at King's College, Lagos and rapped some offensive lists off Kayzmoore’s sleeper hit, “Jaro”.
On December 12, 2018, 100 Crowns signee and Rapper, BlaqBonez jumped on his Twitter account (@BlaqBonez) , to criticize the lyrics of Kayzmoore’s sleeper hit, “Jaro,” performed at King's College. He felt the lyrics “offensive.”
Blaq felt the lyrics glorified fraud and placed a sizeable pressure on young men to make money.
For nuance, the lyrics to which BlaqBonez took offense were rapped in Yoruba, “At your age, se ko ye ko ma to ra benz ni? Ate your age, se ko ye ko to ma se yahoo?”
In English, it simply means, “At your age, shouldn’t you have bought a benz? At your age, shouldn’t you be doing yahoo?”
What ensued was a social media barrage from YBNL boys; Picazo Rhap, Yomi Blaize and Limerick who all mocked and shamed BlaqBonez either as ignorant to the ‘reality’ or as a poor struggling artist via Instagram either to support Kayzmoore or glorify Yahoo.
This represents the sad reality and normalization of Yahoo in Nigerian media, as the mainstream continues to document evidence which we can all attest to. These days, even on social media, we see people try to defend yahoo.
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Supporters of fraud are wrong
The song is all shades of wrong. No matter how much we have normalized Yahoo and other forms aggressive wealth generation means, illegality will never be right.
Not only is Yahoo an illegality, it is also a moral wrong; robbing people of their hard-earned money. Nothing will ever make it right and Blaqbonez will forever be right like Falz was right to criticize 9ice last year.
Yahoo is bad on its own, but brazenly promoting yahoo and shaming people who are not interested in doing yahoo to make money is another level of stupidity.
Society is hard enough a competition. Adding the illegality or Yahoo or fraud hits another straight low. The people who support internet fraud are dead wrong, and kind ignorant.
However, they are from a systemic issue
While no reasonable defence can be found for the people who support internet fraud, they are only products of the system, society, and environment that produced them.
Currently, grown Nigerian men hail and celebrate the content of these wrong songs that glorify fraud and yahoo at parties. Asides that, these boys didn’t grow up on Banana Island or Ikoyi.
Yahoo is the reality of where they are from; it is the Nigerian version of drug dealing on British or American inner-city street corners. It is that version of ‘the hustle.
We human beings are shaped by our subconscious and the subconscious is only shaped by normalized concepts and phenomena it ingrains.
There will always be a set of young men supporting Yahoo, but public figures have to do better.
It is not about right or wrong for them. It’s just about what you can do and what you can’t do. They don’t understand or can’t process the concept of how Yahoo is wrong.
That’s a probable result of combining how the system and environment that produced them fuses with their background.
Where these guys grew up, their role models are unrepentantly into Yahoo; so are their heroes and their friends.
They’re also probably from lower-middle class to lower class backgrounds, where the will for wealth is higher than on any other class cadres.
When Yahoo has then been the answer to wealth and change for people they know, it then becomes difficult to change the idea a young person grew on or into. It becomes fused to the subconscious.
Their minds are not wired to distill the wrongness of yahoo from what is right. It has now become instinctive; they are not built to reject the idea they’ve glorified for so long. Asides that, vices are thrilling.
Every society has its own version of glorified illegality and immoral acts - It’s just the sad human reality. These boys are only products of a system they didn’t create, it’s not entirely their fault.
Even if we want to talk about how a Cardi B told kids to not be involved in gang culture, we have 50 other celebrities who own their gang culture with their whole lives.
That said, they need to take some responsibility — they are now role models
Change is a power each human being has. You can choose what to accept and what to reject. They might be products of a system, but they still have a prerogative.
Societal factors are only ever persuasive. We human beings are imbued with a perfect knowledge of right and wrong; good and bad.
No matter how ingrained Yahoo is to these young men, somewhere in their minds, packed with the thoughts they discard, they know yahoo is wrong. They need to harness that voice — though this call is a very long shot.
But as public figures and emerging role models that kids look up to, it might make sense to sensitize themselves on the stupidity of promoting Yahoo as a hustle which everyone must be involved in.
They need to think of how terrible a world where 90% of the youth do yahoo will be; they at least, need to try —but again, long short.
They need to take some responsibility with where their lives are headed, but it will be hard when they look around and see how people profit from illegality and immoral acts every day through corruption and politics.
We need to support public figures who call out normalization of fraud
This isn’t a conversation about drinking too much at a club on a night off. It is about yahoo.
This isn’t a conversation about camaraderie, but one about calling out a problem that continues to cripple our society.
If that means abusing the kumbaya camaraderie, then so be it. It is a greater cause than the inner-circle fakeness of industry friendships. Public figures need to get off social media obsession and start being worthy role models.