Hip hop is widely acclaimed as the most popular genre of music, consequently making it the most powerful type of music, in fact it has transcended beyond music, and has evolved into a movement, a way of life.
The Independent describes hip hop origin this way
”It was DJ Kool Herc who kick started the movement – historically perceived as an expression of urban youth – and before too long had spread across the entire borough where it soon became a celebration as well as a powerful tool used during protests.”
And slowly over the decades, it has been used as fuel to drive movements against all form of oppression, mostly against police like NWA, Icecube, 2Pac in the 90s and more recently Kendrick Lamar, J Cole and the new generation,speaking out against the black hate crimes by US police.
Even down to our very own Nigeria, king of afrobeat Fela Anikulapo’s music fueled a lot of movement against oppression and sparked up a generation, but unfortunately Hip Hop has slowly lost that voice lately in Nigeria.
Hip hop has been watered down to party tracks, which isn’t necessarily bad as I would rather take my mask off and jam to future at a party rather than other genres of music, but the Nigerian hip hop scene has been bastardized by these party tracks, socially aware songs have rapidly lost relevance and rappers don’t even talk about issues affecting the society when there is so much to talk about
Over the week, There has been a campaign in social media against the rogue ,unconstitutional and inhumane treatment of youths by a sector of Nigerian Police called SARS (Special Anti Robbery Squad) but ironically, as frequent as armed robberies are in Nigeria, SARS uses most of its time to harass young citizens, accusing them of being criminals (yahoo boys) and intimidating them with threats just to blackmail them to extract money.
A lot of people have spoken for #EndSARS and there has been thousands of messages and tweets to support the campaign, but unfortunately the people we look up to to raise the loudest noise about this: Nigerian rappers are nowhere to be found.
The voice of the masses have been reduced to tweets, drake’s line in the song back to back : ”trigger fingers turned to Twitter fingers” comes to mind when I remember this disappointment.
Nigeria has a healthy crop of hip hop artistes that have benefited from the large market of youths about 79 million ,few of which are acclaimed worldwide and are household names around Africa, but when the biggest movement against oppression was kick started by their fans, they are nowhere to be found.
The only person that has dropped a song – Gunshots by Vector turned out to be a snooze fest as the song failed to strike any chord, it almost felt like he was scared of spitting bars.
Where I got skeptical was when I saw Samklef as the producer, the production and the lyrical delivery combined is softer than a 90 year old woman’s breasts, dude be taking shots like he scared of the ricochet.
I think it’s incredibly ironic when these cats praise Kendrick Lamar for dropping To Pimp A Butterfly, critically acclaimed as one of the best album of all time, an album that talked about various issues affecting Blacks most notably, the oppression by police officers and a similar problem is happening in your backyard and all you can do is tweet a hashtag.
Fela would be looking down from beyond in shame right now, looking in disbelief that he inspired such a generation to make songs.
Honestly tho, I wouldn’t even say I blame the rappers, most of you don’t even face the harassment we do from SARS, but even if you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your fans that buy your songs, that come to your shows!, that vote for your awards.
With great power comes great responsibility.
A lot of nigerian artistes ride on the Fela bandwagon, to seem cool and gain relevance, recently Wizkid won a MOBO award for the best international act and it was a shame to see the Fela comparisons resurfacing,
Sometime in 2016, Dremo dropped a hot song Fela, stating boldly that he’s Fela reincarnated in hip hop but where is his voice now?
We have one question for you artistes?
If Fela was alive right now,
What would Fela do?