During the banter era of Liverpool Football Club, its fans experienced a lot of heartbreak. Ian Ayre was the Managing Director who ruined a lot of deals. Fees would be submitted only for deals not to materialize in the late hours of transfer windows. The anxiety made Liverpool fans start tracking flight routes and planes.
In a not so dissimilar way, Nigerians see their favourite American celebrities, but the regularity of it is what you can't put your money on. On November 19, 2019, news broke that Grammy-winning American rapper, Cardi B would be in Nigerian on December 7, 2019 courtesy of LiveSpot Nation. As is pertinent to Nigerians, some were cynical and couldn't believe the possibility of this great event.
Nobody could blame them. After all, the cynicism isn't unfounded. When videos of Cardi B dancing to remixed version of Davido's 'Fall' surfaced online, a lot of Nigerians began the tracking - It wasn't unlike Liverpool fans during the banter era. But unlike Liverpool, Nigeria seems to be stuck in a perpetual banter era.
The plane was tracked and Cardi B, Grammy-wining daughter of descendant of immigrants, former stripper and the human representation of the American dream, finally landed in Lagos. Either for a show of support or to confirm the arrival of Card B, she was greeted by a horde of Nigerians at the airport. These Nigerians recorded videos as her plane pulled to a stop.
They also took pictures as she stepped off the plane and onto the tarmac. Alas, it's real and she was actually in Lagos. Before her performance, she made stops for interviews at Cool FM, visited a strip club, filled her Instagram stories with beautiful filth and made a video to express why she loves Nigeria.
She liked the 'hustle-spirit' of Nigerians and likened it to New York City - It's Lagos stress, dear, not the entire Nigeria. Nonetheless, in the thick of it, Nigerians filled social media with tales of fake Cardi B love and gender wars. Marlians sought to protect their king from the throes of partial amnesia.
A few weeks prior, Naira Marley had been brandished a 'bigot' and 'chauvinist' for 'helping a stripper strip'. Fast forward 12 hours later, Niniola had just finished performing when Darey Art-Alade, owner of Live Spot Nation and event host for the evening introduced Cardi B by her Yoruba name, Iya Ayomide (meaning Ayomide's mother).
Apparently, Nigerians had given Kulture, Cardi's daughter a Yoruba name.
Just as the quality sound production of Live Spot's engineering and speakers took centre stage, beautiful women swarmed the show in scantily-clad outfits. This writer and the Pulse team were in the VIP section just before the American rapper made her way onto the stage. Immediately Cardi B was announced, pint-sized women stood on their seats and blocked people behind them.
Things got rowdy for a minute and people who were not obsessed with recording show content for social media clout protected their phones and wallets. As this writer made his way out of the rowdy VIP section into the crowd on bare sound, other people trying to do the same as him overloaded the wooden VIP podium and it gave in by cracking.
Such was the madness that the black piece of tapestry that clothed the wood on which people of the VIP section walked tore. Yet, the show hadn't even started. As this writer managed to get down, a bevvy of beautiful back up dancers ran onto the stage and sat on the mini steps created for the show.
Like the boss she is, Cardi B swooped in wearing an avant-garde green, feathery body suit that was missing one leg. The song was 'Money Bag,' this writer's favourite from her Grammy Award-winning debut album, Invasion of Privacy. Supported by her back-up dancers, she rumbled and swayed on stage to the quality sound production from LiveSpot's speakers.
Her energy was second-to-none as she went through other songs. In the opening minutes, the obvious IJGB-contingent in the VIP and VVIP sections as well as a few people in the crowd beneath the stage screamed Cardi's lyrics from the top of their lungs. Her message of sexual liberalism and freewheeling lifestyle obviously resonated with women.
After the roar that greeted her entrance to the stage, the next roar came from her first twerking session. She beautifully twerked about seven more times before the show was over. This begs the question, are her knees made of solenoid? On one of those twerk sessions, her hands were on the floor. During another session, her back was on the floor and her legs in the air.
Her energy was envious, but as the show went on Nigerians beneath the stage and most of the showgoers were busy recording the performance on their phones and sing into the phones to clout-chase on social media than muster lyrics after rapper. Initially, it was obvious Cardi thought it was about her performance. So she put in more energy than required. Sadly, it wasn't.
Clout-chasing is the new 'showgoing' and the problems with 'audience ethic'
The new global definition of attending a show is recording the show on your phone to 'pepper' those who are stuck at home and mark the abstract 'register' to prove your attendance. People rarely enjoy the artist and invigorate the artist with renewed energy of their enthusiasm anymore. Instead, they just want to record and record.
It got to a point on Saturday night that Cardi B had to jokingly bemoan the lack of effort from her crowd. She said, "Nigeria, show me some love. I'm out here grinding and working hard. Show me some love..." The crowd then screamed in appreciation. While on stage, an artist gains energy from the crowd's energy.
They enjoyment makes the performer give more. The performer owes you wonderful stage craft, but you. the attendee also owes the performer audience ethic. This audience ethic is the sum of your energy to a good performer.
When you don't shout, sing along and scream, they get slightly drained. That's why you saw Burna Boy pay someone to leave his show for a lack of energy. It was the wrong move, but the point is the point. That's why you see upcoming Nigerian rapper, MOJO fill the foot of the stage with members of his Chop Life Crew.
In turn, that crew jumps up and down throughout the show and MOJO feeds off their energy. It happened at the ill-fated Reggae Dancehall Jam Rock in November 2019. Nobody can tell anybody what to do, but showgoers need to start helping artists out. If you're going there to record content and not show enthusiasm, you might as well stay at home.
It's hard enough that a Cardi B is performing in Nigeria - an 'unfamiliar territory.' Like other performers, she needs to know that the crowd feels her. But sadly, Nigerians only gave her showed energy. Granted, most people don't know all her songs and that's not their fault, but the worst you could do is show some energy and not be busy with your phone.
Clout-chasing has ruined a lot of things across the world. Worse, people don't realize what they're doing is clout-chasing. It's been so normalized that people don't realize. No, Cardi B is not even remotely a bad performer. People just got stuck with capturing moments for social media that they forgot to enjoy the show.
Cardi B didn't stop
She kept going, and even kept the first. As she performed 'Ring,' her smash hit with Kehlani, she told her crowd that the song was about demanding relationships. She said, "Ladies I don't care what part of the world you from, these n***s ain't sh**."
As she performed 'Press,' she joked about the 'pyro problems' from the flame throwers beneath the stage - the flame throwers didn't really produce fire. Showgoers did make noise for songs like 'Clout,' 'I Like It' ' No Limit' and 'Bodak Yellow,' but the lapses in their audience ethic was also missing.
In the end, Cardi B ended her set and exited the stage. Burna Boy and Tiwa Savage came on and performed to better reception from their home audience, but the energy was still lacking. If people want to learn what audience ethic is, they should watch 60's rock shows or Michael Jackson's shows in the 80's.