Five-thirty a.m, my alarm should have already been ringing for about a minute. I get up for my daily early morning jog. I slip on my sweatpants and a shirt, put on my socks and canvas, unplug my phone from the computer-it should be fully charged by now-, plug in my ear phones (preferably beat-by-dre), press play and begin my jog. Music, rap music in particular, is a very important part of my life and without a music player, I am almost sure the time allocated for my morning jog will automatically be reallocated to sleep. However, in recent times, the terrible quality of tracks being churned out by our increasingly lazy rap artists has made me consider reallocating the time to some other activity, any other activity that I could engage in without having to listen to some of the ‘banging tracks’ on offer. I’ve considered watching paint dry, listening to toads croak and so many other standard mind numbing activities.
This morning I was jogging down a road for the first time when I paused to catch my breath. Just beside me was a very deep hole, probably dug by the road construction company for drainage but had apparently been forgotten and left open long after the road had been completed. This hole seemed deeper than any standard one and for some reason, as I pondered the possible rationales for which this potentially virulent hazard was left exposed, the music shuffled to Chairman by MI, I felt weird and a tad disheartened.
I’m not sure anyone was more excited than I was when MI came on the scene about five years ago with the classic album ‘talk about it’. It was good music produced here in Nigeria and it came at a time when the industry was severely in need of a ‘microphone magician’. Back then, the Nigerian rap industry was flooded with mediocre artists and a few very good ones whose lyrics were significantly inscrutable to the average Nigerian (Mode 9). There was a void in the industry, a chasm, very much like the worryingly deep construction hole I was staring at, one MI filled to near perfection.
Nevertheless, recently, MI has become annoyingly banal with his lyrics. He spends the majority of his time on the mic bragging and attacking critics when he should be more focused on cementing his legendary status with more timeless music. Some have suggested a burn-out due to the sheer massive number of tracks he has released since he stormed the industry but for whatever reason, the void he filled so gloriously a few years back seems to have reappeared.
A lot of pretenders to the throne have shown up recently. Vector, Olamide, Phenom, Yung6ix, Phyno, Ice Prince and numerous others have become more popular but none is yet to truly claim the crown for himself. For the sake of my fitness, I honestly wish someone comes in and takes this budding industry to the next level ala MI in 2008. I’m sure tomorrow morning when I take off on yet another jog and am forced to listen to the latest ‘hot naija rap tracks’, the moment I jog past that scary construction hole, the only question on my mind with regards the hole and the nigerian hip hop industry will be; ‘who will fill the void?’ I can only wonder . . .
Who’s hot enough to fill the void?
By I.V Okata . . . a voice of reason
Follow him on Twitter @izutadgaffer