This article was written on the 27th of August 2013
Anyways, I ran into a tweet about how the popular South African song 'Khona' is not supposed to be a 'party jam' as many Nigerians perceived it to be.
The tweet made me curious and so I tried searching for the meaning of the song. And wow!!! There it was, lying in one of my favorite blogsites (www.citrusmusiclive.com).
Prior to this, the only thing I loved and respected about that song were the unique dance moves I saw in the video.
However, as I read through the blog, I got a totally different view about the song. I realized that the song is way deeper that just a 'bunch of South Africans' dancing and singing. I fell in love with the music itself immediately.
Back to the matter (no be open and close oh. hehe), the interpretation got me thinking, 'a song which so much depth in meaning and expression, how come it got so much commercial success?'
You wouldn't blame me though, the Nigerian mentality that a commercial song has to be 'meaningless' got a serious grip on me. And there I was all these while thinking we Nigerians made the best music in the continent. *smh*
It also got me thinking about the general Nigerian mentality that to be successful as an artist you do not only have to be commercial, you also have to sing 'crap'(nonsense).
Ok, yeah we know that loads Nigerian artists making very low quality music. I must say, rather than blaming it all on these music makers, the 'fans' also are a major cause of this.
I know at this point you are thinking, 'wetin consign fan with making of music', but for this point to be well understood, I must break something down.
The fact is, this music thing is business and this is why you hear a lot of our artists calling themselves business men/women. And just as the normal convention, every business has its customers, and of course, the demands of these customers are what these business people would love to satisfy. They have no choice. Doing otherwise would be like forcing your product(s) on the customer/consumer(just like wana said in 360nobs) and this, my people cannot work anywhere in the world.
From my experience with Nigerian music, I have come to a realize that not only are the fans indecisive, they are also confused.
For my point to be well understood, I have to delve a lil bit into explaining what I really think music is (or should be).
Music is an art, a way of life, major means of communication, telling stories, it is used to narrate experiences, used to express feelings among several other things.
If not for music, many wouldn't know the life stories of the likes of Tupac, Biggie, Dagrin (All in blessed memory), Warren G, Snoop Dogg, 50 cent, Jay Z, Akon, Chris Brown, Usher, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Kanye and many others.
Without even meeting them in person, we get a good picture of their lives, their struggles, challenges and exploits and other things.
However, it is so sad that in 2013 an average Nigerian artist's belief is that,he has to sing 'crap' to be successful.
This trend as far back as I can remember started in the mid 2000s.
I remember an artist back then sang that he was totally tired of making sense in his songs. Why? Because he has tried over and over again but he realized that the fans seem to rather prefer the 'nonsense' music to good music. He then said he was gonna start singing 'nonsense'.
Well, I cannot remember the artist who sang it so I wouldn't know if he made it with the 'nonsense' music.
My point is, there are several artists who are ready to make good music, but due to the kind of market they are selling their products to, they are forced to sing 'DUST'.
All these artists have several things at stake. We know of several artists who after getting their degree (instead of working with it) because of their passion for the game, dumped their degrees and pursued their musical career. We know of other who dropped out and several others who never even went to school at all (all in the name of wanting to 'blow').
As if all these ain't enough, they face several challenges from home as we know that in the kind of society we live, only 'omo burukus' (bad kids) would want to do music.
Like i said earlier, the fans are the customers, but what happens when the customers/consumers are indecisive or confused?.
Today they love rap music, tomorrow they love, RnB and the day after they are in love with 'Ginger' music.
I've witnessed many good Nigerian artist depreciate. Not because they don't enjoy making good music, but because the good music they made didn't get them paid.
M.I's first album (Talk About It) as far as I'm concerned is one of the greatest rap albums in Nigeria. The song 'crowd mentality' moved the airwaves as Mr. Incredible made an attempt to encourage Nigerians to do what they love and not what the crowd does.
And the Story even gets more interesting in the next part of this post.... stay connected to this blog for the better half..
write up by Olayemi Oladapo