Monday, 16 September 2013

Nigerian rappers in supremacy battle

On September 6, 2013 popular music blog NotjustOk released a ‘10 Most Gifted Rappers in Nigeria‘ list which would spark off a chain of events – the list cited Modenine at the very top followed by Olamide, Phyno, M.I, Sinzu (formerly known as Sauce Kid), ShowDemCamp (SDC), Ice Prince, Vector, Naeto C and Reminisce.

A number of rappers were not pleased with the rap sheet and didn’t mind airing out their thoughts – Terry tha Rapman who was surprisingly excluded from the list, wrote on Twitter, ‘I inspired most of the rappers on that list, do the math‘.

Jesse Jagz who was also missing from the list voiced out his opinion, also faulting it ‘Just ’cause u own a blog doesn’t mean you know anything about music.. Business and the art of hiphop are two different things‘.

US returnee and freestyle king Godwon (one-time winner of Eminem’s freestyle battle in Houston) also questioned the list saying ‘So there’s a top ten list and I’m not there? #GTFOH’, adding ‘Banky is a better rapper than at least 3 niggas on that list, this is not controversial, its bullshit!‘.

And more comments poured in from not just Hip-Hop enthusiasts but just about everybody, most of them faulting the list, giving an opinion as to who should and not be included. Others were upset with the ranking, expecting their favourite rappers to closer to the top spot.

Hip-Hop music is likened to the sport of boxing, there must always be one champ in the ring, if you want a shot at the title, you’ll have to fight for it; from time to time, an MC (what a rapper is also called) comes from the nooks to test the champ, he either wins, loses or in rare cases pulls a draw.

The thing is Hip-Hop music in Nigeria has been generally conceived as a less viable genre of Nigerian music – in fact the, Hip-Hop music falls in fifth place to more favourable genres like Pop, Highlife, Fuji and RnB. Nevertheless, Hip-Hop music or Rap music has played a vital role in the Nigerian music industry in the last 14 years and even a bigger one right about now as rappers battle for the top spot.

Similar to the Western region where the culture/music was birthed, there seems to be two states of Rap music where its apostles lie – the underground and commercial state. Nigerian fans have one time or the other witnessed a clash of these sides; whether it was Ruggedman going off on Eedris Abdulkareem in 2003 or Freestyle and eLDee da Don in 2007 or Modenine and Ruggedman in 2008.

For a long time, Modenine has been considered an unmistakable legend of rap music in Nigeria with quite a lot of instances to proves him worthy of the throne – defeating friend-turned-foe Ruggedman in a prolonged ‘beef’, playing down Sinzu and Ghetto P‘s jabs, throwing former-rapper-turned-OPA K-Show to the curb, surviving M.I‘s intrusion into the Hip-Hop game and throughout the period, winning the ‘Lyricist on the Roll‘ award (six times in a roll). There however has been no hierarchy after Modenine’s position, making the rap game an open battle field for the others who are desperate to claim the nearest top position.

So it seemed like NotjustOk’s rap sheet was just the right elixir to spur every rapper and their mama to claim their position. After Terry, Jesse Jagz and Godwon’s outburst on Twitter, eLDee’s Trybe Records protégé Rukus verbally assaulted Naeto C, M.I, Vector and Ice Prince then Godwon and Sinzu released multiple diss songs at each other, dragging their baby mamas and kids into the beef, Naeto C released a subliminal at Rukus, Ice Prince spat back on Twitter. Right before the list was published, Vector and Yung6ix took claim to the throne, individually stating they are the best in Nigeria. Before now the scene had been quite silent, with every rapper trying to score a hit like Wizkid.

It’s quite surprising that things have quickly heated up in the Hip-Hop community in 2013, following the poor run in 2012 where only four Hip-Hop albums were released into the market; surprisingly all indigenous albums – Jhybo‘s ‘Be Naa Ni‘, Reminisce‘s ‘Book of Rap Stories‘, Illbliss‘ ‘Oga Boss and Olamide‘s ‘YBNL‘.

Modenine and Jesse Jagz are the only two MCs to have released albums so far in 2013 but with upcoming releases from Ice Prince (Fire of Zamani), M.I (Chairman), Reminisce (Alaga Ibile), Olamide (Take it Outside), Yung6ix (6ix O’Clock), Terry tha Rapman, Phero and Overdose (BANS), 2Shotz (B.O.S.S), the last quarter of the year will be explosive just like it was in 2010 (over to 10 rap albums were released then).

The recent controversy just serves as a perfect platform to re-introduce the genre which is steadily becoming more appealing to the Nigerian listeners.
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