Paybac, D-Truce: How young Nigerian rappers are putting their experiences into the music

''Rappers are scared... The depth, the consciousness, the introspection, every single thing that makes you a rapper is missing today.'' iLLBliss.

D Truce shares his life experiences on new album '2 Birds, 1 Stone' [Instagram/DTruce]

One area Nigerian rap has stuttered in recent times that perhaps lend credence to how far the genre has fallen when compared to that of rappers from the continent is how the fans cannot correlate the realities of their lives with that of his music.

We loved Da Grin at his best when he said ''Mo le fi enu shi Pepsi'', [He opens drinks with his teeth], Modenine's worshippers trooped through the doors when he spoke on cultism on 'Cry' or brilliantly described the Lagos Hustle on Stylee and M.I Abaga's 'Money' is exactly how it feels in our pockets, 'Slow to enter and quick to go.'

Yes, a number of us [the writer inclusive] are quick to defend Nigerian rappers online, because we know for a certainty that there is indeed an abundance of talents who know how to rap, but yes, they can spit hot sixteens, but can they actually make rap music that carries a pulse?

Do they tell their stories enough? Can you relate with their journey in their songs? We all got inspired by people like 2Pac telling us how many times he was shot and somehow survived and why for many non-fans, 'Brenda's Got A Baby' is one of those songs that we can never hate on.

Or Biggie detailing how he and his mum survived in 'Juicy' while giving us a hint of the demons in his head on 'Suicidal Thoughts.'

Often times, Jay Z is referred to as the greatest partly because of the numerous occasions he has given us an insight into his drug life in the earlier years and the vulnerability in his marriage in more recent projects.

How many of our rappers are constantly reflecting their struggles in their stories? 

M.I's Yung Denzel is one of the recent Nigerian albums that you can unfold and place a marker to where his mental state has been in recent years. 

Reminisce, A-Q and Show Dem Camp have also consistently opened the shutters of their worlds in their lyrics, but while we have an abundance of young rappers, very few are bringing their emotions into the stories they tell.

2018 would be remembered as one of those years where rappers increasingly became vocal with their struggles. 

Young cats like J Cole, Kid Cudi and the late Mac Miller released conversation shaping projects and a number of young Nigerian rappers are beginning to shed the masculinity inhibiting rappers from sharing their feelings and instead focus on bragging about things they don't own or ever stand a chance of having.

Paybac is one of the rappers who continues to hold a special place in my heart and the reason is simple. If you listen to Paybac long enough, you will be able to trace his development not just on an artistic level but at a personal level.

I remember my first encounter with him, he had no idea who I was, so I was able to observe from close range him for long spells. 

His energy, the sheer vibrancy of his person that easily rubs off on you, that raw aggression that seems ready to explode if channeled properly.

I also witnessed that inner rage when things didn't go as expected, the dedication to his craft, that sense of letting his 'fans' down no matter how little their numbers were and that is why one of my favorite records of him till date remains 'Daddy's Grand Cherokee' Feat Maka P and produced by Black Intelligence.

The song tells the story of his growing up alongside his Dad, events during and after Sunday service, then he talks about breaking down after the loss of his father while recollecting one of his most memorable life desires, a Grand Cherokee. 

Then in 2018, he put out the project that will ultimately be the legacy of his career, ''The Biggest Tree.'' His profound contribution to the rising and collective conversation on mental health. 

Just when more people were finally becoming bolder and more able to open up on subjects like Depression and Mental Health, Paybac released a project where he is at his most reflective and subdued in terms of his experiences, not too metaphorical or hidden in a muddled lyrical display, just a simple outcry of things he was passing through.

He is not too afraid to admit that he has lost his way and cries out for help. Songs like 'Help Me' which opens with ''Now that I got your attention can I tell you that I've been losing faith'' and 'Demons' where he admits to his own errors and life battles made it an intense and confidential offering. 

Like fellow Pulse scribe, Motolani Alake summarized as we compiled some of the best EPs of 2018

''The album was like a collection of different thought-processes of a Nigerian millennial... We needed this perspective, if M.I's ''Yxng Dxnzl'' was an anthem for 35-year-old Nigerians, the 'Biggest Tree' was made for Nigerians between 25-34.''

A few days ago, I reviewed D-Truce's debut album, ''2 Birds, 1 Stone'' and while having a discussion at work, I had to revisit the project to further appreciate the work he put in representing in its most honest form his life as a nine to fiver and that of a musician on the side.

Truce proves that it is not only when talking about depression or loneliness that rappers can be humane in their stories, as he provides a more comprehensive performance on his growth and how he sees life in a more positive spin. 

On 'Freedom', he sets the tone talking about the familiar chaos of life as a Nigerian and every time I listen, there is a mental image formed in my head of a video where he is walking out of his house, headed to work while each line of his verses plays out by the side of the street. 

A record like 'Conversations' is where he is perhaps at his most angry state on the album, tearing into people wanting to know his every move and opening up for the first time on the label drama that has stalled his career over the past couple of years.

Then on 'Oga Police', he and Paybac [Kindred spirits of a sort] find a bonding to narrate the now common experience in the hands of the Nigerian police, while '9 to 5 interlude' presents the central concept of the entire project.

''Working nine to five just to eat, still I'm in the club when I can afford, I just want to sip on Hennessy, sending Shepe to my enemies... same people tell me quit the 9-5 and focus on music, as if they go and buy my isht when I drop it.''  

There is a surge of emotion as he talks about his journey and all he has had to do just to eat.

The beauty of the album's in its relatability, simplicity and how easy it is for every young man who goes through the daily struggles of finding balance while juggling multiple jobs can easily find himself in the characters being discussed on the songs.

Rappers consistently rapping about the chain of events around them, and introspectively bringing their emotional realities into their lyrics adds a genuine and refreshing crisp to the music and helps the fans understand and appreciate them better.

There are few outlets better to express one's emotions or conflicts than music and having established that rappers are human after all and not immune to being depressed or going through tough times mentally, rappers need to tell deeper, engaging and evocative stories that will resonate with the fans and lucidly capture not just their triumphs but the environment.

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