Monday, 30 March 2009

Naija pop...Comedians blast

• Pls, don’t corrupt our children, comedians chide hip-hop singers
• Timaya’s irresponsible gestures on stage


THE first story on Naija Pop… published a few weeks ago in The Guardian Life magazine generated mixed reactions from a wide range of readers. While those, who have been nursing some reservation about the recent trend in the music industry pitched tent with the report; like the yellow madam must have done, others were like, “eh, gradually, we will get there.” One obvious thing is that something is actually wrong with the quality of works in the industry.
It’s not as if one is not happy with the crop of music ‘stars’ in the country, who are benefiting from the trend, winning awards, headlining gigs and even gaining international recognition for their work… far from that. But as one of our readers pointed out, “for how long are we going to continue like this.” That was the motivation behind the article in the first place. The truth is that, if we fail to arrest the situation now, then it might just become a standard for the younger generation.
At the AY Live 3, a comedy show held recently at the Expo Hall, Eko Hotel, Lagos, a good number of comedians echoed on the same issue –– poor lyrical content in our music. Coincidentally, that was the same day the first part of this story was published. As if it was planned, the comedianss, one after the other, took on the artistes… not minding whose ox was gored. A good number of them (hip-hop artistes) were actually present. In fact, some even performed that night.
I waited patiently to see if the attacks will hit any of the female artistes, but hands kept pointing towards the guys and they laughed over it; though not all. Yes, I observed some of them closely at the gig, as they received attack upon attack from the comedians; that was where I concluded that these guys know their game plan.
Comedian AY dedicated a better part of his performance to about the poor quality of lyrics in recent times; his point were clear. “I don’t understand what our musicians are singing today. They just sing anything they like and we patronise them,” he observed in a comic manner.
With DJ Jimmy Jatt on the console, AY sampled some evergreen songs produced in this same music industry in the past; songs by artistes such as Ras Kimono, Chris Okotie, Alex O and Felix Leberty others. You need to see the reaction of the audience when the songs came blasting from the woofers, still sounding fresh after years of production. Gongo Aso and Yahooze were hits last year, how many of us still play them on our CD? How many of us today would jump from their seats at the call of the tracks? That’s the point.
As if that was not enough, Comedian Kofi came on stage, still on the same topic and I was smiling inside. Yes, because that was the point I was making in my report. Kofi faulted the lyrics and titles of most songs by Nigerian hip-hop artistes. As usual, the audience totally agreed with him, with some of them nodding their heads in approval.
“But you are the ones buying them,” Kofi fired back.
I don’t know what you make out of Kofi’s music, but you can’t miss the messages anyway.
The highpoint of the night was when comedian Jedi came on stage; instead of telling jokes, the comedian turned musician did a different thing all together.
“I want you to listen to this interesting ring tone I have in my phone; I got it from someone,” Jedi said.
At that point, the hall was calm. The next thing, we heard from the phone was a very tiny voice singing “Orie o 4kasibe, orie o 4kasibe…” the crowd was thrown into a prolonged laughter.
“This girl is about two or three years. What is Orie 4kasibe,” Jedi quizzed amid laughter from the audience, who couldn’t provide any answer to the question.
“Is this what we are teaching our young ones? What message do we have for the kids…,” Jedi went on and on.

I recalled the previous week at The Vault, Victoria Island, Lagos, during the Nigeria-Britain organised concert. Comedian Omo Baba, who anchored the event, express his disappointment over the poor level of compositions from our artiste. This time around, it was reggae artistes.
“One thing about reggae artistes is that they don’t think about their compositions. The only thing they think about is the instrumentation and then sing whatever comes to their minds,” Omo Baba observed. The comedian practically demonstrated his points with the live band backing him.
Trust Djinee. Immediately the Ego crooner was called on stage that night, he started with his usual preaching. “This is a night of live music; enough of ‘DJ track one.’ If you can’t play your songs live, then you are not an artiste.” Truly, Djinee belongs to the group you can actually call musicians.
Meanwhile, if Timaya’s performance on stage at the AY Live3 concert is the best he could come up with, then the Egberipapa 1 of Bayelsa should go back to his drawing board. Aside his uncoordinated show and the fact that his Dem Mama Soldiers are now trying to overshadow him on vocals; Timaya needs to observe some level of decency.
Based on his standing and his ability to break into the main league of Nigerian entertainers, which he has embraced as the major line in all his compositions, Timaya is no doubt a successful artiste. But the act of throwing his underwear to the crowd is irresponsible and grossly indecent. Yes, Dem Mama singer actually attempted pulling his trousers and throwing it to the crowd –– the VIP area for that matter.
Timaya started well that night with a standing ovation from the crowd, but along the line, he went off the hook. He climbed down the stage to pick a lady from the audience, but instead of the normal dancing, both Timaya and the lady ended up on the floor. As if that was not enough, he started pulling off his underwear!
“Whatever Timaya has taken before climbing the stage is not sold in packets,” Ali Baba said as the Port Harcourt-based artiste exited the stage.
Yes, it was obvious that Timaya was under the influence of something I don’t really know.

NO doubt, we’ve succeeded in making our own music; we’ve excelled in making our people love and appreciate our songs; we’ve attracted the attention of the world to Nigerian music; we’ve won several international awards; we’ve created jobs for hundreds of young Nigerians; we’ve produced our own stars; we’ve provided content for the media… but we are not done yet. We must set a standard for our industry and there’s no better time for that than now.

1 comment:

  1. we are all enjoying the tremendous output of the nigerian pop industry around africa, especially here in CAMEROON, but indeed, we are more excited about Asa, Keziah, Ayo, Nneka, than we are of Timaya, psquare and the like. Its most probably the businessmen who have decided as business model to commoditise the products rather than focus on longevity of the material. music is no longer music, its like a lolipop bar...sweet for a second. i wish my brothers stand up and go beyond "free me now" and "o4kasibe"... and those girls need to start REALLY RAPPING if they want to be taking seriously too. otherwise, we are proud of and very much inspired by Nigeria. From my perspetive Its just a saturation phase in the industry whereby the sheep are to separated from the goats...i hope not any worse than that...