Why is the Nigerian Music Industry Successful?

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nigerian musicians

I m tempted to start this blog post with “We the best!!!!! who?!!! we!!!!” but that’s not what this post is about. As a child of the 90s, born in the late 80s and came to adulthood in the 2000s I grew up mostly loving foreign/american music. When I was a kid, I was a big fan of Michael Jackson, had a few VCRs recordings of his music videos and concerts. I used to practice the moves and would bust a move at parties I was invited to as a kid. Then at some point in the 90s I think it was 94’ I fell in love with hip-hop and my younger self really really was a fan of Tupac. I believed in the West Coast part of that beef, finger signs and all. At some point after Tupac and Biggie were killed I moved on to being a Nas and then a Jay-Z fan. Sided with Nas in that beef but that doesn’t matter now. Basically my point is that, although there was Nigerian music being made around this time I don’t think it was as popular. From the top of my head, I remember Ras Kimono, Daniel Wilson, Blacky, Junior and Pretty, Oliver De Coque, Eddy Remedy, Maintain, Plantashun boiz, Tony Tetuila eventually ( Trivia: What Nigerian musicians do you remember from the 90s and early 2000s?). Of course there were outliers like Fela who were popular even then.
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When Fashionably Late Goes Wrong, On Nigerian/African/Colored People Time…

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I have not written in what to me seems like a while. I had initially set a target of writing at least once a week. I would love to blame school work but then I think I have been procrastinating on my writing. I have let school work, a budding social life and a general addiction to sports and TV get in the way of my writing. Also I did not feel like writing a Valentine’s Piece or about Whitney Houston (RIP).

black man looking at time

To the topic at hand, Nigerian/African/Colored People Time. To give a little background I would say that I am one of the most punctual people you would ever meet if I can help it. I arrive in class 10 minutes ahead of time, prefer to go to social events such as parties and concerts ahead of time to scope the venue and relax before the crowd gets too much. General exceptions are when I am with a group of people. There is nothing that really pisses me off like trying to coordinate a group of people. Absolutely nothing. That is why some of the best time I have is going out solo. I am not that weird. I do like meeting new people, what I am not particularly fond of are people I already know who will show up late and act like it is the most natural thing in the world. Which brings me to the definition of Nigerian/African/Colored People Time,

In Nigeria it is called Nigerian time, I have even heard of Kenyan time, There is African time and in the climes of the USA there is Colored People Time. (a) – I really think the term Colored is antiquated and might give a clue to the historical origins of the term, (b) – If Colored refers to people of Color then it is surprising that the stereotype is not also associated with Asian people

Nigerian/African/Colored People Time is a stereotype created by God knows who (perhaps an observant racist?), which shamefully has some basis in fact that states that a group of people be they Nigerian, African, Black have a propensity to be fashionably late even when being fashionably late is undesirable. If you have an appointment with a person of the above stated group and the person is anything beyond the normal accepted limit (Normally up to 30 minutes) without a plausible apology then my dear friend you might have just witnessed Nigerian/African/CPT at work. The same concept applies to events where the organizers start the event sometimes 2 hours after the scheduled time without an explanation. You know what, I think Black People must have found out the secret of time dilation/travel or something because if someone shows up 2 hours late doesn’t that mean that they are already in the future while you are still mad that they weren’t there in the past on time (warped logic?)

It is a damn shame that this negative stereotype is one of the things I have observed that we of the African/Black diaspora seem to have in common. This is not to say I believe all people of color tend to be late, that would be racist against myself (or self-hating) but it is one of those things that make me shake my head anytime I witness it. It is absolutely unprofessional and frankly classless for the most part.

I actually started writing this because I went to a D’banj concert and I was pleasantly surprised that the event started an hour and a half after the doors opened. Now I do not know the protocol on these things. I just think that it is a shame that I have come to expect tardiness at Nigerian/black events that when something starts less than two hours after the announced time, I get excited. I find that I have become more forgiving of this behavior. I have subconsciously made a mental note never to arrive at a Nigerian social event before time. The best you will get from me is right on time. If it is a professional event, I would be there before time.

In general I have a principle that works for me when it comes to appointment and events. I arrive on time in case of any unforeseen problems. If it is a date. I rather be there 20 or 30 minutes ahead of time to make sure I find the right place. If it is possible see what the menu prices are so I am mentally prepared. Scope out the neighborhood and get comfortable. I might even get a drink before my appointment/date arrives. This makes my life easier and instantly puts me at ease. When the person arrives, being there on time shows that you cared enough about the person to be there on time. If you ask me not only is CPT unprofessional it highly not sexy or attractive.

If you are Nigerian/African/Black, do yourself a favor do not be late to things you are making all of us look bad. Be a positive role model of how things should be. Rep your hood and I mean that in the most positive of ways. Its 2012, America has a black president, a lot of African countries have black president. So can we try to be on time? Thanks.

In the end, life is short. Make the best use of your time. You never if you have just 21 seconds to go.

Nigerian “Bad Bele” Syndrome and Forbes’ Africa’s 40 Richest

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Uncle Aliko

“Bad Bele” is a Nigerian Pidgin term that refers to jealousy, it is the Nigerian equivalent of playa hating. It literally translates to a bad stomach. The interesting thing is that in hausa sadness is bakin ciki which means black stomach. Playa hating is when someone is unhappy about someone elses success. Peep the video below.

So Forbes released the list of 40 richest Africans and the list included a few Nigerians, actually 8. The top three Nigerians on the List were, Aliko Dangote, Mike Adenuga and Jim Ovia. Now I know that the problem of player hating isn’t a uniquely Nigerian phenomenon but damn everytime a list of Richest anything is released and Nigerians see a fellow Nigerian especially Mr Dangote, there tends to be a lot of reactions along the lines that the man was given a monopoly by the government of Obasanjo and he wont be rich if he didnt trample on the dignity of ordinary Nigerians to get where he is. They typical tirade goes on to imply that it was easy for the man to make the wealth he has made because he was helped by the government. When it comes to Adenuga, people come up with things to say such as he is a front for IBB and so on. It is hard to find a case of a person who is wealthy in our country where people haven’t cooked up a story of how he committed rituals to get his wealth and so on.

I blame poverty of the mind, plain old poverty, nollywood and a general propensity to engage in discussions based on unsubstantiated facts and superstition. Can I also blame colonialism? Probably not. There is a level of self hate involved if you ask me. Isn’t it messed up that many of the Nigerians who insult Dangote or speculate to his wealth being ill gotten, have no problem with a white man say Bill Gates. In fact when many of these people talk about their role models of how to make wealth, they will point to Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or any of the non-Nigerian billionaires out there. Many times when I write, I know that I am oversimplifying or generalizing. I m not an idiot most of the time. I do know that there might be some basis to the tales told of our rich men. I am just amazed how we dont seem to appreciate our rich men who if common sense were to prevail are the blueprint albeit imperfect blueprint of how to make it in Nigeria or Africa. Its like if I was an American rapper and I wanted to be successful, would it make sense to look up to Tim Mcgraw who is a country musician or to look up to Jay-Z who has turned his hip hop career into a million dollar industry. Think about it.

So I mentioned poverty of the mind, nollywood and a general propensity to engage in discussions based on unsubstantiated facts and superstition as possible culprits for this string of player hater-ness going on in our country.

Poverty of the Mind

In the context of this discussion, I m not referring to education. There are educated people who are impoverished in the mind. Poverty of the mind makes you hate on someone’s wealth when you cant seem to wrap your mind around how the person could possibly make so much wealth and as such you resort to believing wives tales about how homeboy cut off his genitals in sacrifice to some evil spirits to get his wealth.

Nollywood and the media

Nollywood IS the source of these superstitious tales or wives tales. I grew up watching in Nigerian home videos and movies that people perform rituals to get wealthy. The go see a babalawo who asks them for a three eyed goat to bring so they can become wealthy. Sometimes in these movies they sacrifice members of their families. So if you feed yourself a steady diet of such hogwash, it will be near impossible for you to imagine anyone getting rich because of any other reason that is not evil. I mentioned media here because as someone who for most of my life read newspapers because my dad brought one home everyday, I did come across stories of people caught with human body parts on their way to make wealth or to sell them to make wealth. Damn shame this, I dont care how much money you offer me, I am not holding another man’s dismembered genitalia in my hands

General Propensity to Engage in Discussions based on Unsubstantiated Facts

Like honestly, I would have thought after leaving secondary school I would stop having arguments with people where the only facts that win the argument are the number of people who agree with said person’s theories or how loud a person can shout their point of view or make it sound like they sincerely believe the crap they are saying. Alas such arguments are alive and well, stroll through our Nigerian discussion boards and see people discuss politics with no regard for facts on the ground and without even providing a disclaimer. I am occasionally guilty of this but I do provide a disclaimer when I make a general statement, I will tell you I am generalizing or that what I am saying hasn’t been proven or it is a theory of mine.

Tribalism/Ethnic Beef or General Dislike for a group of people

Like my statement above, I am going to provide a disclaimer here. This is a theory of mine. It might not hold out in a court of law. Actually, the views expressed on my blog are my theories and personal opinion and are in no way supposed to be based on fact (this makes me less liable to a lawsuit, no be so my lawyer friends). I have often observed when the disagreement about the wealth of Dangote comes up, the discussion is split along a north south divide with the occasional person daring to cross the bridge on either side. Of course my sampling for this conclusion is a group of comments on Sahara Reporters and Nigeria Village Square. The thing I find interesting is that most of Mr Dangote’s assets are in the southern part of the country as far as I know with regards to plants and so on but of course to the tribalistic mind he will forever remain a bloody “aboki”. I do find the term aboki offensive in the sense that people have taken a term that means friend and used it as a derogatory term for anyone who hails from above the river Niger. Go figure.

All in all, I chose to celebrate the rich men who come from my country, not only Dangote. I am proud of Adenuga, if it werent for Glo, MTN would have kept the call tariffs so high and we would all be suffering. Even if these men got their wealth in not wholly pure ways, they hire millions of Nigerians and didnt decide to put their money in Swiss banks. Shouldn’t you be happy as a Nigerian that a list of richest Africans is published and the only Nigerian in it is not a dictator? Shouldn’t you be happy that a Nigerian has made such a list? The assertion that we should not celebrate these men is false in my opinion, is it easy to make such a stupendous amount of wealth even if it was with government help without some business knowledge or a brilliant sense of networking to be able to reach the leaders who would grant you such a favor? Riddle me that.

In conclusion, I think in general if you are wealthy or famous or both, some sort of negative rumor will surface about you. Personally, I think hating on someone else’s wealth or fame is a waste of time. I can sit from today till the end of time insulting the Adenugas, Ovias, Dangotes of the world but it wont change the price of garri on the street. In reality, it is these men that do determine the price of garri on the street, not my insults. They will still be enjoying their kudi, ego, owo. If anything, I should spend my time studying how these people made it and try to replicate their success in the cleanest way possible and hopefully someday when I am on the Forbes list, someone on a website I have never been to starts a rumor about how I sold my “blokos” for money. It would be lie but I wont care, I will be off somewhere providing a village with electricity with my “ill gotten wealth” so player hate all you want.

My Top Naija Jams at the moment: What’s playing in my Car

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MI – Undisputed

To start it off, I must go with MI, Mr Incredible himself. My favorite Nigerian Rapper hands down and he delivers on his sophomore album MI2, Which in my opinion is on its way to becoming the Nigerian Album of 2011. With tracks like One Naira, Number One, Beef, Undisputed and Epic. The track below is Undisputed. Definitely one of my favorite on the album. Enjoy

Darey – Ba ni Kidi

Another strong contender for Album of 2011 is Darey’s Double Dare Album. This 2 cd combo, comes with “Heart” which is Soulful and takes you back to what beautiful R&B is supposed to be and then you have “Beat” which gives you tracks to nod your head to and get a lil hype. On Beat, He has two tracks that make so much sense, Ba ni kidi which mixes hausa and pidgin in a comical way. And yes I like it probably cos I speak hausa and there arent many hausa jams out there.

Also for good measure, since I m on Darey, here is the the way you are

Darey – The way you are

The beat on this song is so sick. I would have sworn Timbaland made this beat but nah, its our very own Soul Muzik. Ideal for some high speed movements sha,

Wizkid – Dont Dull

I love this song and I like that Wizkid is just 21. Thats like 14 in naija years cos its so hard to make it early. His second hit single. Enjoy

Timaya – Watta Bam Bam

Good Jam. A bit old but I love it.

Naeto-C ft Asa – Share my blessings

Another strong album if you ask me is Naeto-C’s. The only MC with an MSc. Love that line. Enjoy this song with my girl, Asa.

D’Prince Ft D’banj – Give it to me

No top naija jams list will ever be complete in contemporary Nigeria without a Mohits song. This tune makes sense jo.

Over the moon – Dr Sid

My Mohits parade continues with Over the moon by Dr Sid, catchy as hell. Don Jazzy definitely knows his beats.

Danjuana – Allha ya kawo ballai

Arewa stand up! This song is old but I loves it anytime. It makes to play this if u be “malo” boy driving Honda in Abj. lol. Enjoy.

Waconzy – I celebrate

Cool jam. Relaxing.

Asa – Be my man

Love the video. The song is so chill. Love her style.

Duncan Mighty – I dont give a shot

Last but not least, Portharcourt’s first son, aka Wene Mighty aka Mr Scatta your dada with I dont give a shot,