…the new face of industry perception
By Femi Isaac
The streets must have really taken over indeed; I have no scintilla of doubt about that. What I can’t quickly fathom however, is how the street made it from being the obnoxious bad habit to the celebrated and money generating code. From popular music to brand endorsements and the entire entertainment circle, the tides are quickly changing to accommodate the firmly established street credibility mantra.
The stories of street kings like Olamide, Phyno, Reminisce and others dropping hit tracks consistently and bagging mouth watering endorsement deals proves beyond doubt that the street can no longer be jettisoned either in the space of entertainment’s public opinion or in the caucus of brand ambassadors.
A section of music lovers, who have deliberately decided not to join the bandwagon of the street music enthusiasts in the name of calling a spade a spade on the unacceptability of the crafted music genre, sometimes inadvertently forget their position and groove to the rhythm of the masses and even learn to master accompanying dance moves.
A long road to acceptance
For some of us who grew up in the kite age, the tendency of always comparing what is obtainable now with our very own good old days seems a constant mannerism. I remember vividly how I struggled with other lads to be the first to memorize Craig David’s album “born to do it”. I had my fair share of learning dance moves too, Galala, Suo, Makossa, Konto, Yahooze, Azonto, Alingo, Kukere Shoki, Shakiti Bobo and the latest Dab were some of the interesting dance steps we struggled to master alongside their accompanying songs over the years.
So I was vigorously dancing my Galala to Daddy showkey’s Fire Fire after school, and my Uncle looked at me and hissed “my friend go and sit down, do you think you can dance, where were you when we were dancing “twist” by Chubby Checker? He said. I laughed out loud as he tried to demonstrate the twist dance to me, I guess age must have prevented his waist from helping him achieve his intention on the day.
From then till now, the Nigerian music industry has experienced a steady but progressive journey to a destination of superlative acceptance for homemade sounds and music of indigenous flows and languages. In fact, little is remembered of the time when albums and hits of international charts took the larger part of our shelves and the period when foreign artistes took the shine with pride, even replacing themselves as rave of the moment in our musical consciousness.
Back to Back beef and Brand Endorsement
It appears that there has never been a time as now, when beef and hard confrontation is being served consistently with actors and stagers calling themselves out at the mercy of public opinion.
Truth be told, this is not the first time that a pint of bad blood will flow in the veins of Nigerian entertainers, I listened to beef tracks in the 90s and I loved the tension since it comes once in a while and slowly dies a natural death. But 2016 didn’t start like any other year, from Wizkid vs Dammy crane, to Blackface vs Tuface/wizkid and Psquare together. The faceoff between lolo 1 and comedienne princess and the public assault on beat fm OAP Gbemi by the Olumofin brothers, the list of cases continues to update itself by the day.
Perhaps the most short lived but epic feud of all time in my analysis is the Olamide vs Don Jozzy post headies awards beef, for two solid reasons First because it took the intervention of the Richest Man in Africa to settle the rift between the two elephants and second, the tweets posted during the feud generated viral punch lines and copies, hugely leveraged upon by brands such as Guinness, Etisalat, Lawma and other top Brands who were quick to adopt the slangs to push their products and colour their adverts.
For the blogs, it is certainly a free run for information dissemination thanks to the new media as they are quick to serve rumours of breakups and even predict disaster in homes of celebrities, From the Ice prince and Maima saga to the Davido, baby mama and Uncle dele’s story and just when comedian AY had to firmly assert that nothing was wrong with his marriage the media latched on to the dramatic story of Tiwa and Teebillz and even rumoured that the Mavin queen has been dropped as Pepsi’s brand ambassador until Pepsi debunked the rumour. Once again the people online or offline are exerting their powers on what trends and what doesn’t.
Will the street be the last lane standing?
Whether or not our music now is better or worse than it used to be in the much referenced good old days is a conclusion that has never been reached without adopting the lenses of bias and whether a period of relative calm is in the offing, where a celebrity’s predicament will not be the selling point of blogs generating diverse public opinion both online and offline, we cannot predict.
But one thing is sure, the endurance of street music and attitude may have brought fame and fortune to several industry players as the new face of perception, I still think that a level of moral check and discipline should be taken by listeners to prevent a total loss of our cherished values in this everything goes age.