Rappers performance sparks huge Internet debate amongst Nigerians
Following J. Cole's successful concert in Lagos, it has birthed a snowball effect with Nigerians asking what the problem with the genre is in the country.
The rapper who recently released his fifth studio body of work, KOD, was performing in the country for the first time and from the moment he climbed on stage till the final seconds of his set, the rapper held the crowd spell bound with his presence, energy and stage craft.
J Cole delivering a stellar performance in itself wasn't however too surprising, more eye catching was the fact that for every song he performed on the night, the crowd recited and chanted back the lines, word for word.
From his old songs like 'Nobody's Perfect' and 'Wet Dreams' to barely two weeks old singles, like 'Photograph' and 'Motiv8', the crowd rapped along line for line to the visible dumbfounded expression of the rapper.
However, barely hours after the concert, Nigerians took to social media to debate and question what the problem was with Nigerian hip-hop; if Nigerians could accept and react to J Cole the way they did, yet the genre is at its lowest ebb back home, what then is been done wrong?
This soon got everyone talking (or tweeting) and what started as a random question, a single tweet, soon developed into a trending topic as hip-hop enthusiasts, industry observers, OAPs and even rappers themselves chipped in comments from different angles and standpoints.
And while some asked questions, others attempted to proffer solutions
There is a ''We have been here before'' ring to this debate, and we probably will be here again, with the hope that along the line something will change and the talking will lead to the progress of the art-form in the country.
It will be recalled that in June 2017, a video had been posted online following young South African rapper, Nasty C's appearance on popular urban show, 'Sway In The Morning', the rapper had finished off his interview with an impressive freestyle that got Nigerians comparing and questioning the ability of Nigerian rappers to do same on a global platform.
Towards the end of last year, Nigerian rapper, M.I Abaga released the controversial single 'You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Lives'', taking aim at Nigerian rappers and the state of the genre.
M.I rhymed, ''none of you rappers is real enough... that's why these fans are not feeling ya'll," "SA rappers out here killing yall".
This generated an uproar on social media as rappers caught feelings and took to the booth, responding with covers.
Nigerian hip-hop has come a long way, going through its phases and challenges.
From the likes of Junior and Pretty to Weird MC, to the days when even Zaaki Adzee associated himself with the genre, but it wasn't until the early 2000s, when groups like The Remedies which had Eedris Abdulkareem and Trybesmen gave the art-form the visibility and commercial success that it deserved.
Then came the Ruggedman and Modenine from the Swat Root Crew to mop up the scene and give it some much needed sanity and imbibe standard into what was being offered.
Despite the seeming success that they attained, it took M.IAbaga's ground-breaking single, 'Safe' to create some form of balance between lyricism and artistry.
The likes of Ice Prince, Naeto C, Vector, Sauce Kid (Before he became Sinzu) have all enjoyed some spell of success as English rappers but perhaps, the best template of how to succeed in recent times as a rapper in Nigeria, has been laid down with the success of the likes of Olamide and Phyno who have consistently held it down in recent years confirming Ruggedman's words on Ruggedy Baba, ''Wetin go make them know where your music come from in the long run, na the fusion of grammar, your slang and your mother tongue''.
Again, there is no doubt that Nigeria has a bunch of talented rappers as witnessed at The Coronation event, which took place barely 24 hours after the J Cole concert, there is also no doubt that there is a young and hippy generation that appreciates the culture and are willing to buy and support if sold right.
What is however clear is the fact that there is no one way to success in the Nigerian music industry.
While it is easy to blame rappers who have had to switch to making pop music in order to stay relevant and survive, it is hard to ignore the fact that in a country where labels would not willingly sign a rapper who is not following the Olamide or Phyno template, where funds are not easily accessible to promote your craft to the fullest, especially with the lack of structure in terms of strictly hip-hop concerts and radio/TV shows, hip-hop in Nigeria may score a hit record once in a while, but these are feats that cannot be sustained and we will likely have this discussion sometime before the year runs out.
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