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Cisi Eze: What If Nigerian ‘Vocalists’ Have Colluded with the Government to Distract Us?

Cisi Eze

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Has it ever crossed your mind Nigerian vocalists MIGHT have schemed with the government to churn out dumb lyrics to distract us from the situation of our economy?

Truly, I have been SUSPECTING the government is in cahoots with some of these musicians to distract us. We “shake body” and forget the price of fuel is N145 in an oil-producing country. After we have danced because the beat caused uproar, we forget we have accident traps disguising as roads; we forget we have erratic power supply. Like zombies, we watch videos of half-clad women shaking what they have as men spray money in the air like “they just don’t care”.

Once, I asked a friend, “Why are you listening to this? What is this guy saying?”

“Babe, I gats groove,” he said. “Nigeria is so hard and these songs relieve stress and over-thinking.”

In other words, listening to songs with dumb lyrics and dope “beatzzss” is “therapeutic”, right? Someone drops a single, whose title is a strange slang. He thanks God for riches in verse one. Next verse, he is talking about his hoes. For the bridge, he is talking about “ne-ne-ne-ne-ne”. Brilliant, eh?

Media represents the collective conscious of a society. In a society where people eat toads for breakfast, it would be difficult to watch a movie with people eating bread and oatmeal in the morning. Media mirrors society. Fela said art must talk about salient issues in a society. Media is the “Fourth Estate of the Realm”. It is a powerful agent of socialisation. If used effectively, it can bring about social change. At times, I wonder if these “musicians” know they can do “good things” with their music.

They sing crap and tell you, “It’s what will sell.” That is what people are willing to buy. How many people would go gaga for someone with intelligent lyrics? Someone would say, “People listen to Asa.” They know only Asa. They probably don’t know how dope Ladipoe’s lines are. That boy is a genius! Probably, they have not heard Aduke. I watched her perform once, and I was smitten. That day, she said something that struck me, “Do we want our kids to meet Nigeria like this?”

How often do we hear music that gingers us to social change? How often do we hear songs that remind us of how corrupt and hypocritical we are as a nation? Seemingly, MOST of us avoid songs that provoke us to think. We want to forget the hardship breathing the same air as us. We want to nod our heads and shake to the beat of a song that a schizophrenic would call “absolute madness”. Truly, how do you praise God in verse one and talk about fornicating in the chorus? How disappointing! What is more disappointing is our kids listen to these songs and sing them.

I do not blame these artistes, because “who no wan blow?” Trash music is what sells in Nigeria. There would be no trash music if we stop patronising them.

The other day, some people brought out one singer and went on to dissect the person’s career. Why not call every musician. Call them to make freestyles on the spot and they go on telling you about how they are the greatest. Who their greatness epp?

Bez, Brymo, Aramide, Dare, Nneka, Falz, Dipo, Asa, Modenine, Lindsey Abudei, Da Suspekt, Niniola, Terry Tha Rapman, Simi, MI, and Tu Face, to mention a few, do good music. They have lyrics – you can’t listen to these people and not pick a message. Why can’t we boycott trash songs? Why can’t we pay to watch good artistes? But no, Nigerians will listen to weird kids that climb on stages to sinsult (portmanteau word from “sing” and “insult”) their elders and sing about booze, girls, and money. They are invited to display that idiocy and some of us take our hard-earned money to watch.

We need to shun songs with dumb lyrics. What do they say of us as a people? Are we so dumb that we listen to crap? Someone would “arrange” rubbish and say, “This is what Nigerians would love.” When did we become a rubbish-loving people? We need songs that would get us angry to bring about social change. Truly, we are not angry enough. “Do we want our kids to meet Nigeria this?”

P.S. “The government MIGHT have conspired with these Trash Vocalists”. Emphasis on “might”. Haha! No one can sue me for libel. Anyway, let us stop patronising nonsense. I know three radio stations in Lagos – out of 30+ radio stations in Lagos – that play good music. Mentioning them would seem like PR, but please, find them and keep it locked down on their frequency… that is if you love good music. Thanks.

Photo Credit: Gstockstudio1 | Dreamstime.com

Cisi Eze is a Lagos-based freelance journalist, writer, comic artist, and graphics designer. She feels strongly about LGBT+ rights, feminism, gender issues, and mental health, and this is expressed through her works on Bella Naija and her blog – Shades of Cisi. Aside these, she has works on Western Post NG, Kalahari Review, Holaafrica, Mounting the Moon, Gender IT, Outcast Magazine, Rustin Times, 14: An Anthology of Queer Art Volume 1 and 2, and Sweet Deluge (Issue 2). Her first book, published by Tamarind Hill Press, UK, is titled “Of Women, Edges, and Parks”. Cisi’s art challenges existing societal norms.

9 Comments

  1. Rahama

    January 13, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Finally someone else gets it. No to thrash music. I don’t even bother to listen to them and it always surprises me when people say they actually enjoy them

  2. A Real Nigerian

    January 13, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Hahahahahahahaha!
    Love this!!!
    Yassss girl gooo!

  3. Authentic Sunshine

    January 13, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Yessss call them out. So many things to sing/rap about and they’d rather explicit empty sounds. I heard one track the other day and I dived for my son’s ears.
    Yes before you pepo say it, I’m all over the place. I’m in the mood.
    On a different note, I’m suspecting SatNav Makers and Petrol stations. That thing will take you the longeseest route to anywhere. For whose benefit?

  4. Chinma Eke

    January 13, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Cisi, can you write a similar post about our movies? Thank you very much in advance.

  5. Lailatu

    January 13, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Insightful and witty article. Yeah it made me smile, but I couldn’t help feeling sad about where we are as a people. Well, hope springs eternal, someday we will get it right (I hope)!

  6. Engoz

    January 13, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Nigerians like upbeat music. They just want to dance. There are times I want to dance and times I want to chill, relax and be introspective. People like Asa, Bez, Brymo, Dare etc hold the later market down and are doing a great job being invested in their lyrics. But for some reason the upbeat music comes with the most watered down, numbing of the senses lyrics ever composed by man. I see a market for upbeat music with good, intelligent lyrics. Nobody has tapped into this market yet. I feel if this market is tapped into, it will be the death of these irritating charlatans on our airwaves.

  7. Ruhamah

    January 13, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    More power to your elbow, cizi.

  8. fleur

    January 14, 2017 at 5:36 am

    Cisi, sex is the opium of the poor. Nigerian musicians are cashing in on this. Indiscriminate and excessive sex is at its peak when poverty is acute. That is why too many babies are born during wars. You wonder when people havery the time to “open leg” as bombs are dropping. Sex is what they use to escape reality. It occupies the mind. It intoxicates. It becomes the sole source of dopamine since there is no job, income, or achievement to trigger dopamine release. The musicians are simply tapping into a demand. But your are right. Art can transform. Imagine a song in all its sexiness that places a high value on Sex and denies a horny rich and attractive character access because the female character believes she is worth more. By the time you sing and act it out the way we act out “grind into me just because you can” music, one would start believing the lyrics and act accordingly.

  9. Nitomeya

    January 14, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Welldone Cisi.

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