Has Hip-Hop Left Nigeria?
Has Hip-Hop Left Nigeria?: Most Nigerian Hip-Hop lovers are anxious to know what happened to the status of Hip-Hop in Nigeria. Why did it become almost obsolete? Has it become obsolete? Is Hip-Hop still existing in Nigeria? Has Hip-Hop left Nigeria?
Before Blank Canvass goes into answering these questions, it is necessary that we give a brief definition of Hip-Hop to enable us to understand it and where it’s coming from, and how far it has gone.
Hip-Hop is an art movement created by African-Americans, Latino-Americans, and Caribbean-Americans in the 1970s in the Bronx of the state of New York. It is characterized by 9 elements but only 4 are fundamental to the growth of Hip-Hop musically. The basic four are – Rapping, DJing, Break dancing and Graffiti.
Hip-Hop has undergone so many changes over the years. It has moved from being the sounds from DJs at neighborhood parties to a voice for the people. It left the Bronx and traveled around the world and every culture that took a piece of it, made it unique in their own style. When it came into Nigeria, a country with multiple languages, every one took a bite out of this huge Hip-Hop cake and made it into a culture and a movement that was worth following till this present day.
The movement had several representatives that made it possible for the cats in the game today to be heard. For the Yorubas, we had Lord of Ajasa, Da Grin of the blessed memory-making way for the likes of Olamide, Reminisce, Tipsy Enupo (the rap game can’t be complete without a female Mc) Oladips, to mention a few. The Hausas had the likes of Six Foot Plus and Jesse Jagz. For the Igbos, Nigga Raw (now Mr. Raw), 2Shotz, SlowDogg, etc. kept the mic hot for the likes of Phyno, Zoro, Splash and a host of many other talented rappers. The pidgin speaking people of our beloved country had their representatives. The likes of Junior and Pretty made room for the likes of Erigga, Yung6ix, etc. The first phase of the English-rap scene in Nigeria had the likes of Mr. Kool and that led to the second phase of the English-rap scene which had Blackface, Eddy Montana, Eedris Abdulkareem, Mode 9, Eldee, and a host of many others.
In the late 90s and early 20s, Hip-Hop was alive in Nigeria but as the music market increased, the craving for more suitable dance hall songs increased. This craving put some of the Hip-Hop artists on the edge and most of them began to commercialize their songs. We have the likes of MI Abaga, Ice Prince, Ycee and a host of others trying to balance themselves on being both commercial artists and Hip-Hop artists. It’s like telling a judge that you want to stay with your dad because he gives crazy pocket money and you want to stay with your mum because she cooks the best of dishes but both parents want a divorce. You have to pick a side.
A while back, we had one of Africa’s “greatest rapper”/commercial artiste come out to say that Nigerian rappers should fix up their lives. A lot of rappers took the same instrumental, went back to the studio, and dished different variations of the same song back at the rapper. Irrespective of the fact that he meant well, I’m guessing he was trying to say that rappers were not being discussed like they were back then in 2010 and other years before and after that time, his intentions were poorly presented.
Over the years, fans of Hip-Hop have craved for the return of pure, undiluted hip-hop but they’ve been disappointed at every turn. A while back, Ice Prince promised a rap album. After his chorus, in PARTICULAR, nothing of worth has been heard from the cool cat.
In a country where commercial music is the order of the day, it’s hard for a hip-hop artist to find his feet. A lot of good rappers are out there. Rappers like Falz, A-Q, Loose Kaynon, Vector, Blaqbonez, Show Dem Camp, YGB, etc, are all very reputable rappers but most of them are not heard because of the loudness of the commercial horn. It may be worthy of note to remind some of us that Odunsi (The Engine) started out as a rapper but right now, he has created a whole new family with the ALTE CLAN. This movement might be a result of the loudness of the commercial folk or perhaps he had an epiphany. Either way, it’s working out well for him.
Quite recently, Hip-Hop dead body was caught lifting a finger. A lot of cats are getting their acts together in really splendid ways. The SDC has been churning out waves of well-composed lyrics, Blaqbonez is on the rise, Payper Corleone has been building momentum and his name is in a lot of mouths right now so it’s safe to say that Hip-Hop may soon be seen walking the streets of Nigeria confidently in no distant time.