by Wilfred Okiche
Iwe is a fitting tribute to the late MC, one brother honoring another.
‘Iwe’ is a popular chant among the Igbos of the South Eastern region of the country. It connotes feelings of rebellion, anger, grief, and sadness and it is to this chant that crossover highlife rave-of-the moment, Flavour N’abania turns to vocalise the pain of losing his close friend and contemporary MC Loph.
MC Loph, born Obiajulu Kenneth Nwaozor, left the world tragically on September 14, 2011 in a motor accident along the notorious Benin-Ore expressway. He was on his way to begin his traditional wedding ceremonies.
Flavour N’abania is known for raucous and raunchy lyrics, but the magnitude of this loss sobers him. This one hit close to home. This one hit hard. And backed by a keyboard and a drum, he pours out his heart in song.
The delivery in his native Igbo is poignant and heavy with meaning even as his voice rises and falls with the conflicting emotions that accompany the stages of grief. He is in turn angry, sorrowful, resigned, and hopeful. You do not have to understand the language to be moved.
But if you do, it wrenchingly begins with a few words for the grieving mother who lost her two surviving children in the ghastly motor accident – the Almighty gives and takes, he says. At times like this, bereft of all understanding, it is all we can do.
He then traces their relationship to the days as a struggling artist, when MC Loph would let him sleep in at his Lagos home.
And that background wailing as the song enters its final arc? Truly, “I never saw a man cry till he saw a man die”. The song finally climaxes in a swirl of groovy instrumentals even as mutual friends drop by to pay their last respects.
Iwe is a fitting tribute to the late MC, one brother honoring another. But then it does something more – provide Mc Loph with his second genuine hit since 2007’s Osondi Owendi. And that in itself is the ultimate tribute. Rest in peace soldier. Y!
*This piece was published in Issue 7