In the rap sector of the Nigeria music factory, no one has actually lasted so long. When the “PASS THE MIC” saga between “Muna” and “Mode 9” occurred, the first questioned I asked was: where is the mic? Back then in the 90’s, rap came to us all in the name of “2pac” and “Biggie”, it later fell to the hands of “Warren G”, “Dr. Dre” and “Jay Z” before it was picked up by their Nigerian counterparts “Eedris Abdulkareem” who dazed us with what he called rap.
After a while of Eedris‘s self-defined rap, “Ruggedman” came and forcefully grabbed the mic from him to give us something real close to what rap should be. His forceful entrance into the industry cleared the whole area and real rappers had a say. “Ruggedy” held on the mic for a while singing songs such as “Baraje” and “Ruggedy Baba”. Still with the mic, he dropped two LPs which till date, have not fallen short of a good rap album. A scuffle ensued when “Mode 9” came around and the struggle for the mic started. They actually both dropped the mic and decided to use their vocal fists for a while which paid off as they both recorded fame and commercial success.
This mic battle went on for a while and at a point they had to split the mic. While “Mode 9” became a lyrical prophet with his mic, “Ruggedman” chose to impress the party and club groovers. Each carved a niche for himself and fans were able to choose whose mic they wanted to listen to breaking the monopoly of Rugged‘s mic.
At a point in time, I think they both lost the mic or finally decided to lay the mic to rest, although they still dropped singles, but now with commercial success in focus. They split awards locally and internationally before that short dude came over and collected the mic.
At inception, the short black dude did not seem to impress anyone as he was yet to pick the mic while he did tracks like “Crowd Mentality” with his raw voice. After several nominations as the next rap star, “MI” finally decided to grab the mic hereby dropping the hit single “Safe”. He sang so loud into the mic that he got the attention both home and abroad, and then “Ruggedman” and “Mode 9” knew it was time to pass the mic.
“MI” recorded huge commercial success with tracks like “Anoti” and “Forever”. This album got recognition from fans home and abroad. People now could tell what they missed. He came with a different approach to rap blending the hard core with the soft core. Party people could feel him and lyricist felt connected with him. He was a dream come true for the Nigerian rap factory. The mic meant so much to him that even after his “MI” album; he decided to risk the jury by doing “Illegal Music” [those illegal tracks were awesome]. He showed the world how dynamic he could be and the original artistes’ better things they could have done with the mic. Not being selfish, this short black dude dropped the mic to be picked up by anybody.
Then – the appearance of the “Chief Executive Omoita”.
This street rap king, who has been in the game for a long time without attention, came around and did not care about the mic. He decided to do his thing his own way. He gave unto Caesar what belonged, dazing the streets with his local flavour of rap. “Dagrin” connected well with all and sundry as his name and song was on every music lover’s lips. He gave to everyone what they deserved. His rap was everywhere, the streets, the clubs, parties, cars and houses. He gave the street slangs, all these he did without the use of the mic. The late “Akogun” was actually a man who defined rap in his own way creating a “DAGRIN” genre of rap music. After his demise, several other supposed rappers wanted to lace themselves in his old shoes, but i bet those shoes were custom made.
After the exit of street rapper “Dagrin”, acts such as “Olamide” and “Reminisce” tagged along. As street rappers, they also did not care about the mic too. Although “Reminisce” had been in the game for so long, it was the yahoo boy without a laptop‘s entrance that was obviously noticed due to people’s thirst for another CEO. He had a loud entrance with back up from people like “ID Cabasa” doing well with his first album having several songs including the hit single “Omo toh Shan” which i sometimes doubt who the owner is between him and “Wizkid”. After his first album, “Olamide” has featured on several tracks, doing well with his lyrics and delivery; but can he fill the vacuum left by “Dagrin”, the answer is NO, but that doesn’t rule him out as a very talented rapper.
“Reminisce”, another street rapper hasn’t been doing badly either, having done commercially well with the “Kako bii Chicken” track. That track did well on the street, allowing “Reminisce” to lay claim to the talented rapper title.
Back to the issue of the mic which “MI” laid to rest, no one seemed to be fit to hold the mic as several acts such as “Godwon”, “Iceberg Slim”, “Erriga”, and several others tried to do something with the mic, but they were quick to pass it on to one another. Of the lot that struggled for the mic, only a few of them really did anything tangible with it. The duration during which they each held the mic wouldn’t even have been noticeable for anyone without keen interest in rap.
A little cheat in the dark occurred and we all woke up to find the mic in the hands of “Ice Prince”. This man was justified of this crime due to the fact that he did well with the mic, dropping singles like “Oleku” and “Superstar” which was well appreciated. Rap lovers did not care about how he got hold of the mic until he dropped “Everybody Loves Ice Prince”. That album is one of Nigerian albums that was meant to do well. One would have thought having tracks like “Oleku” and ”Superstar”, including the feature of world famous “2face Idibia” would push the album, but people occupied the rap street protesting for a better rap album. What other choice did he have than to pass the mic.
Although there were several acts who did stuffs in rap’s name, but they all liked themselves, they did not go near the mic.
Who else was fit for the mic if not this short black boy again. “MI2” dropped and the world watched it like it was an action film. It did not disappoint. The songs topped several charts in Africa. This almost gave “MI” the monopoly of the mic. He definitely knew the use. Humble him never said he was the best, but his question of who is better remains unanswered. He again was ready for jail and dropped “Illegal Music 2” which although did not reach the height of the first criminal act, but still had good rap songs. At this point I give it up for “MI”. Now he can sing without the mic and finally decides to leave it for just anyone to pick.
The female folks such as “Muna”, “Sasha”, “Blaize”, “Kemistry” and others played their part in the rap game too, which i think is alright considering the fact that women also have a right. Only a few of the tracks came out well as rap though, others were self-defined.
The world now emphasises the right of women in the society, which i think has always been in the subconscious of “Muna”.
Realising its high time the female folks took charge of rap too knowing that a female president existed somewhere in the world, she walks up to the wrong person and chants PASS THE MIC!!!
Dear “Muna”, you just asked for the right thing from the wrong person. The mic ain’t with “Mode 9”. Even if it were, it’s not collected that way. You have to fight for it by not breaking the beat.
The Nigeria rap game remains open, but in my candid opinion, I think if nobody decides to grab the mic, all veteran rappers such as “Ruggedman”, “Mode 9” and “MI” should meet and just PASS THE MIC.
Written by Wale Applause.
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