Demola Rewaju: 9ice is not so 9ice anymore

by Demola Rewaju

9iceApart from his failed relationships, another major challenge is that his repertoire is easily copied by others. Nobody has a monopoly or copyright of Yoruba proverbs which is the major source of 9ice’s music. Jaywon, Isolate and a few others are easily doing what 9ice does so he needs to up his game.

There was a time when Abolore Akande aka 9ice was the hottest in town as far as the music industry was concerned. As with all stars though, the shine never lasts forever but 9ice could have shone brighter and longer than many others because of his raw and fresh talent which gave him huge potential in the industry.

His first album ‘Certificate (2007)’ had songs like ‘Little Money’ and ‘Ganja Man (Pass Me Di Lighter)’ and was a hit. It was his sophomore album ‘Gongo Aso (2008)’ that blew the charts and took him to the top. 9ice headlined major concerts including Mandela’s 90th birthday in Hyde Park, London and a major concert in Cyprus which practically every Nigerian student attended. He also won awards from MTV Base to MOBO and Dynamix to ‘The Headies’.

‘Tradition (2009)’ confirmed 9ice as an A-list artiste. He was rumoured to have been paid NGN5m to perform at a top bank’s 2010 end of year party for just 20 minutes. By this time though, cracks were beginning to appear in his core relationships.

The 31 year old act had first appeared with rappers 2Shotz and Ruggedman in their hit songs ‘Make Dem Talk’ and ‘Opomulero’ respectively. In the latter, he propped his friend Ruggedy as the main issue in rap music in an obvious jab at ModeNine who then had running battles with Rugged over rapping in vernacular or English. 9ice’s producer was the beat-master ID Cabasa and he was very close to 2Phat, Jahbless and a host of others.

He married fashion icon and music promoter Toni Payne who had been and increasingly became a major part of his success. Any question you posed to her about 9ice then would be answered with veracity, from his favourite colour to his childhood moments, Toni would answer them.

In his third album, 9ice had a track ‘Once Bitten, Twice Shy’ where he refered to a woman’s infidelity with his friend. Everyone concluded it was Toni and Rugged he was referring to and 9ice made no effort to dispel the rumour. The affair became messy and ruined his relationship with his wife, his producer and many friends. Suddenly, 9ice had to forge new alliances in an industry where recognition only comes when you’re hot.

By the time he released ‘Versus and Bashorun Gaa’ in 2011, 9ice was almost becoming yesterday’s news. The albums were successful but not by the standards he’d set for himself with previous albums. ‘Versus’ featured a lot of artistes from different genres and saw 9ice struggling to assert himself on tracks with Timaya and Duncan Mighty. It wasn’t a surprise he flowed well with K1 de Ultimate as he was once a big fan of the fuji artiste Pasuma.

Apart from his failed relationships, another major challenge is that his repertoire is easily copied by others. Nobody has a monopoly or copyright of Yoruba proverbs which is the major source of 9ice’s music. Jaywon, Isolate and a few others are easily doing what 9ice does so he needs to up his game.

It would be 9ice to see him do collabos with major African acts using the platform of his traditional music. Angelique Kidjo, Yossou N’dour, Lagbaja, Papa Wemba, Awilo Logomba and maybe even Fally Ipupa would help his career.

As I said of my president and his wife, Toni was an important part of his success. Remember the video of his song ‘Photocopy’ where Toni dressed him up physically? I know she did that professionally too. Where 9ice would have been seen as little more than a street kid who got lucky, Toni made him look good.

I did a story on the Toni Payne/9ice/Rugged issue two years ago for a magazine and found that there was no truth in the infidelity allegations against which he failed to defend his wife and mother of his kid. I spoke with Toni and saw a woman desperate to protect her husband while battling the allegations of infidelity. Curiously, she still worked with ID Cabasa to produce Olamide and is still friends with Ruggedman which seems to prove that they are standing by her side of the story. The response of the 9ice camp through one Oladeinde was quite haughty.

Finally, confidence is good and a little bragging isn’t bad in hiphop. Personal humility though is a necessity especially when relating with industry topshots. 9ice is definitely not the most humble artiste in Nigeria.

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Read this article on Demola’s Blog

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

One comment

  1. No comment…lmao.u jst squandering ur tym on som1 who doesn't evn knw u exist talkless of living

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