Humanity is a wholesome struggle. Living, as great as it is, can sometimes be a huge ask. Intermittently, part of living is engaging in some craze of humanity.
When you're the pinnacle of visibility - a celebrity, for example - everything heightens to unprecedented levels. That requires control so it doesn't combust and disintegrate. That control sometimes comes as responsibility. Other times, it takes the form of moderation. If you're not careful, the addiction of 'celebrity' will make you lack moderation.
That's the case of Peruzzi. In 2018, the uniquely dreaded, mercurial singer with the midas touch had a stellar breakout. He jumped on bare songs and literally turned them into freshly minted gold bars.
From 'Aje' to 'Amaka,' he proved invaluable, elevating his peers and complimenting legends without falling even half-a-step behind. Asides that, he also formed a dynamic partnership with DMW boss, Davido. Together, they aided other acts.
Together, they absolutely ate all flesh off Fresh VDM and Speroach beats. With his emergence came controversy, stans, female admiration and so forth. Around the time that he launched, another equally super-talented artist launched, her name was Teni The Entertainer.
She wowed the industry with her energy, technique and effortless cadences. Like Peruzzi, her talent shone through. This led to inevitable comparison between both acts in relation to their eligibility for the Next Rated Award at Nigeria's premier music awards ceremony, The Headies.
Based off his/her achievement over the past year of emergence, the award is given to the artist perceived as being likely to have the more stellar career.
The drama began.
Peruzzi vs. The Industry
Towards the end of the year, Peruzzi released his 11-track EP, Heartwork which showcased his undoubted brilliance of penmanship, vocal delivery, technique and cadences, but was too monotonous, overly similar and filled with boring Fresh VDM, Speroach revised pon pon sound.
The project was polarizing. On one part, fans like Liverpool FC midfielder, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gulped each song down with a bottle of big Heineken and on the other part, critics who listen to music with finicky tendencies. They picked the project apart.
To trolls, and people who foolishly - but not surprisingly - felt it was an either/or with Peruzzi and Teni, it was more validation to what they've asked all year; Could Peruzzi excel on his own without features? They had a point, but ruined it with their apparent agenda.
If we're being honest, I think he did prove it to an extent, but we can't all be the same. People with an agenda will always pull validation for their criticism out of thin air with the mastery of Professor Peller.
Of course, Peruzzi is first, a human being and secondly, an artist. Even if you're a descendant of a whale shark, with three inches of thick muscle for skin, these things will get to you.
Emotions might be fickle, but they're sensitive. When they're subject to creative outputs which usually fuses with sizeable ego, they're extra sensitive - you can ask any creative.
Nonetheless, artists and creatives are entitled
It was then no surprise when Peruzzi went on a rant-fest on one great morning - apparently not for him - earlier in 2019 after Teni emerged Best New Artist at the Sound City MVP Awards. The problem was brewing, we didn't realize.
A few months later, after the singer finally ditched his reclusive tendencies and left his hermit lair, he appeared on Moni Talks, a YouTube show hosted by Moni Osibodu, one-quarter of Loose Talk Podcast.
One of the things he discussed was how he doesn't do Twitter fingers and would instead, pull up on you in real life. Apparently, he'd probably digested an excess amount of abscess from Prettyboy D-O's reenactment of 90's Nollywood home videos with his single 'Pull Up' featuring Santi.
Peruzzi vs. Pamilerin
Pamilerin is a Marine Engineer, food critic and more importantly, a verified Twitter influencer who dwells on a lot of Twitter fingers and terribly crafted LGBTQ publicity stunts. In December 2018, he hosted a much-publicized sanitary pad giveaway.
I still don't understand why people have to publicize good deeds with social media, but that's besides the point. Anyways, back to the point...
Apparently, Pamilerin (hereinafter referred interchangeably as Dr. Pam Pam), is a huge Teni head and has always been on Peruzzi's 'Case.' He criticizes Peruzzi, asks of him great things and even trolls him.
But unfortunately for Pamilerin, he's always out and about at events and on Sunday, June 9, 2019, our very own Dr. Pam Pam allegedly got whacked across the face by Peruzzi. Insufficient videos (as evidence) are on social media.
As we speak, Pamilerin has posted receipts of his allegedly slapped cheeks having been on the wrong end of Peruzzi's thick palms - that must have been fun?
Rumour has it that Peruzzi had his bodyguards hold Pamilerin down before dishing out those slaps. Presumably, Peruzzi listened to that 'Pull Up' by Prettyboy D-O featuring Santi.
This act has since made Peruzzi the butt of endless trolling on the morning of Monday, June 10, 2019. In fact, the streets have renamed him. His government name is now, Obalende Travis Scott.
Apparently, he had reached a threshold of Pamilerin's supposed insubordinate comments towards him.
Twitter NG has also laid into Peruzzi for what they feel an unnecessary outburst that could have been avoided. It is true, he acted like a grown kid in a world where you create art for the pleasure of an audience.
It was an unnecessary occurence that showed gross immaturity. Pamilerin is also not exempt in this discourse. But first, let's understand something...
Artists and emotional attachment to their work
Earlier in this article, I linked the process of creativity and release of creative outputs to emotions and ego. You cannot separate the artist's emotions from his music - even when he doesn't necessarily make the music about himself.
Artists are attached to their works - Peruzzi is no different. Artists and creatives don't just wake up and get entitled one day. It is a process that starts with supreme confidence in the work they put out.
While some are nervous about what they put out, criticism hits them the same way, even when the reaction differs. Some come for blood, while others cower behind sandbags of disappointment and recoil into their nests.
The entitlement those who - like Peruzzi - come for blood show just manifests their hurt at the bad reception their work got from a particular critic or a group of critics. So when this happens, it is not really entitlement, it is hurt. All that 'my art is the best ever' reaction is a management scheme and a coping mechanism.
Trust me, I know. I'm a writer and I get criticized. To be honest, you don't like getting criticized for something you choose as your career. You're either angry or disappointed or both.
Creatives need their egos to thrive. The ego feeds hunger and that's how they get up daily to create more. Once that ego is shot, they suffer. So they need to fight back with different representations of 'my art is the best ever.'
Sometimes, that manifests as physical confrontations like Dr. Pam Pam witnessed.
They put in so much work, and effort before these outputs come out. It's hard when they get panned like they didn't work on their art at all.
The audience is more important than the artist or the art
When it comes to art, there is a process. The artist creates the art, and the audience consumes.
But you see, the artist is always at the mercy of the audience and so is his art. The audience doesn't need the artist, the artist needs the audience. Thus, he's always at the mercy of the audience. Nigerian artists like Peruzzi need to get this.
The audience is why Peruzzi has a job. If he wasn't creating, the audience won't know him. The audience is forever there, while artists come and go. You can't replace the audience, but you can replace artists.
The artist creates for the audience, his livelihood depends on their reaction to his art. The audience are tastemakers. Whatever they say goes.
While the critic is a member of the audience whose voice is sometimes more important than everyone else's, he's still fundamentally a part of the audience. The artist needs him, just like he needs other members of the audience.
Sometimes, some members of the audience beg the artist to release content, but that's just a few sentimental ones. In the grand scheme, these fans consume other artists and there is never really a void for them.
No music is capable of changing someone's life except it inspires you to start creating or helps you through depression.
Peruzzi needs to understand that once the artist creates, his work his done. The audience doesn't owe him a thing other than consuming his art and giving their reaction. Bad reaction is part of the risk of creating.
Creating is risk-taking that will either work or won't work. The good part with creating - unlike business - is that, there's always a middle ground of mixed reactions.
Art exists and thrives over some form of emotional reaction and fails by same. If the audience accepts your art, good for you. If they don't accept it, then criticize and dissect you, chest your L and deal with it.
How hard you worked on the project doesn't always equate quality or good reception.
Comparison by the audience
Naturally, comparison plays a role in judging art. That's why Peruzzi is getting compared with Teni.
As Music Critic, Joey Akan writes in his Friday, June 7, 2019 Guardian column , "Interaction with art is an endless and inevitable process. As long as art gets to the people, and a connection is attained, interaction becomes eternal...
"What we do when we say “Wizkid is better than Davido,” isn’t a fresh conversation. It’s the intersection of two independent monologues. We are comparing notes, and challenging our choices."
Comparison is natural because reception of art triggers preference. Fans compare what they deem quality or ability - though ability is sometimes unquantifiable when two talented people are involved.
Like other artists, Peruzzi needs to understand this and deal with his comparison to Teni.
Criticism vs. Trolling
Nonetheless, there's a difference between criticism and trolling or hate messages. There's a difference between just criticizing the art with points and plain condescension.
While we're all prone to episodes of condescension in relation to artists we don't like, either for what we deem unfair comparison to our faves or some other reason, we all need to understand that artists have feelings.
I think it is fair to say Dr. Pam Pam veered off the criticism course and laid an onslaught on Peruzzi with endless trolling. Artists have huge egos, but their ego is a function of sensitive emotions.
And sometimes, you don't annoy people and get to determine how they react. You don't have that power.
Peruzzi, the human vs. Peruzzi, the celebrity vs. Peruzzi, the reasonable
Peruzzi is human before he is a celebrity. We could argue that the human in Peruzzi took over and made him act that way. Humanity means imperfection. That means sometimes, we do wrong things just because we can.
While Peruzzi's actions were calculated, it still represents the imperfections of humanity. That was Peruzzi lashing out. This is a climax of all the Twitter rants and criticism he's received. He's past his threshold and Dr. Pam Pam just happened to catch the singer's eye, unfortunately.
So, he poured his anger on Pamilerin. Nonetheless, it is still stupid and childish to want to control what people say. It's the social media age. You can't control anything when you're an artist.
What he hoped to achieve with the slap is what I don't get. Was he trying to force the most visible critics and trolls to only talk good things about him?
Was he trying to deter everybody from criticizing him? Was he trying to force everybody to become forced fans of his music? Was he hoping this would send a message of his Alpha male status?
Now that over 30,000 people are trolling him on Twitter, calling him names like Obalende Travis Scott, will he send a bomb into his phone and hope it hits everybody telepathically?
However you look at it, it was a war Peruzzi was never going to win and he failed to understand that. Asides that, he's the celebrity who has more to lose. Pamilerin's stock will only rise - he thrives off terribly engineered publicity stunts, anyways.
As the hosts of Power 107, New York radio show, The Breakfast Club noted during Cardi B's beat down series with several artists, what if the people you assault sue you?
What happens to your endorsement prospects as an artist? What happens to your music once negative reactions are largely ascribed to you? We're all human beings, but there are much bigger things at stake when emotions are involved.
Maturity is learning to overlook things, but the humanity in us all means that's sometimes a tough ask. As a celebrity though, you need to have a lid on your emotions. Lest, you ruin yourself.
Burna Boy was close to that edge of the cliff. Since he's cleaned up his act, he's soared to unprecedented heights - albeit with some streaming mix up while he still battles his demons. Once you make your craft about anything else but the music, the music suffers.
It's best to just make your music, drop it and go.