NIGERIAN MUSIC : AN INDUSTRY IN DECLINE
Back in the days, legends used their music as a medium of communication. Their music defined not just their lives but that of the society they lived in. We had the likes of Bob Marley leading a salient revolution through his music. Questioning the guts of the white supremacist and the cowardice of the black man.
Fela Kuti became notorious during the military era for his blunt lyrics and eratic behavior. While some might argue that Fela is not a perfect role model for a child, undoubtedly we must acknowledge that Fela is a real hero.
A man who was able to thrill his fans with his high octane performances and captivating lyrics. Little wonder he’s the most celebrated African music legend of all time.
Let’s fast-forward a bit to early 2000. We had the likes of Tuface, Black Face, African China, Edris etc. Then our music still had some real juice in it. Music made some efforts then to lend voice to the sufferings of the masses e.g Edris’s jaga jaga, African China’s crisis, Tuface’s E be like say, black face’s hard life and many more .
I could remember the president then having an outburst over the “jaga jaga” song. And tgen abusing the crooner of the song in front of journalists. Now this would have been a very perfect way of keeping unruly politicians on their toes.
But Sadly, that trend died with the rise of artists like dbanj who laid more emphasis on ladies and sex. In fact I walked out of a dbanj show in 2009 when he invited 8 girls on stage to help pull off his top. It didn’t end there, with the influx of teen celebrities like the wizkids and Davidos of today, following the trend of their predecessors, the Nigerian music industry completely degenerated into a cesspool. In fact mediocrity has taken the order of the day and what is most important is that at the end of the day, they buy up the influential djs and OAPs and the song trend for years.
The only problem here is that when placed side by side with their foreign counterparts, their weaknesses begin to manifest e.g Stefflon Don ft wizkid, Davido and Fuse_ODG In fact those two guys embarrassed Nigerian music in that job.
The major concepts revolving around every Nigerian song is partying, sex, exhibition of affluence and any other social vice you can think of. Even upcoming artistes are promising to buy Lamborghini for Caro in their songs.
However what I find quite difficult to comprehend is that most of these big musicians still live in rented houses. Most of them are broke most often than not due to the kind of lifestyle they are exposed to. Practically, it’s very impossible to sustain that kind of lifestyle they portray in their music. I have argued with some bloggers that these musicians flaunt most of these affluences on social media to divert attention away from the inadequacies of their music.
I can’t say that the current crop of Nigerian musicians are selling records, they are just selling their personality. A foreigner that listens to top 10 hottest songs in our airplay would definitely have the wrong picture of situation of things in Nigeria. These musicians portray us as sex freaks that just want to drink, do drugs, party and fuvk.
At the peak of our recession, a Nigerian superstar was telling us that he has 30 billion in his account. Another one was telling Jane Doe to come and follow him “manya”. One other one was singing about weed and tramadol and another one was singing about the bum bum of his girlfriend.
While all these were going on, Nigerians were dying from hunger, herdsmen attack, political instability and many more. Politicians were being awarded grass cutting contracts for 250 million naira and about 10000 Nigerians lost their job. As a music lover, I ll tell you that our music has lost touch of reality.
It’s expected that these self acclaimed superstars still have fans on ground simply because no matter how bad a music is, once it’s adequately promoted, it ll attract audience. That’s music!!! Which is why you are expected to use that power positively. The direct effect of these laziness on the part of our musicians is that Nigerian music is not really making the kind of impact expected of it globally.
Poor content and over concentration on the erotic aspect of music has made most Nigerian artistes boring. These days, wizkid can hardly compose a song without mentioning “sexy lady”!!! Tekno stole a street vibe like Jogodo and still found a way to bring in the sexiness of Jane Doe into the picture. When will these boys understand that there is more to music than sex and money. Singers are supposed to be some kind of funnels.
They should be an avenue for words of reason into the society. Their every single line should be a food for thought for their audience. At the rate this industry is going, we are going to bury creativity on the alter of commercial tunes.
As it is, our music industry has lost its golden responsibility of being the mouthpiece of the streets.
Instead of challenging the ruling class in their songs over there wrongs. They turned psychophants and hero worshippers always calling one politician or the other in their songs just to get some couple of millions.
If the dead can see, the likes of Fela will be weeping terribly in their graves.
Author- Blind Truth