[The Music Blog]: Toni Payne’s flawed logic of Yahoo Culture and the music industry

The post-Falz reactions to the Yahoo Yahoo culture and the music industry have been mixed with each perspective ranging between empathy for Yahoo Yahoo boys but one particular narrative we should not let fly, is one that absolves the firebrands of the Yahoo Yahoo culture of the effect of their message on the masses who consume their music. According to Toni Payne, an entrepreneur and estranged wife to 9ice (who many claim is the primal target of Falz’ rant), music is consumed differently and doesn’t necessarily influence actions. See some of her tweets below

Toni Payne’s perspective is one shared by many. But as one would also presume, there is a lot here that’s not being said. Music has and will always be a reflection of social realities. However there is a need for context as abuse is otherwise inevitable for things not understood. Drug culture and American hip-hop are particularly intertwined because of the effects of the drug epidemic on life in black American communities in the 80s. While Yahoo Yahoo is similarly a result of the collapse of the Nigerian middle class, this context is often removed from music that has become a modicum for a criminal lifestyle. Like Falz who was accused of being too privileged to understand why Nigerian youth resort to internet fraud, Toni Payne’s logic of knowing better than to tow a life of crime because a song said to do so, is also guilty of the same faulty thinking.

Poverty robs people of social moral code. While Toni Payne’s privilege of exposure and education may shield her from falling into a life of crime, same can’t be said for some youth in solitary shanties where crime has been glamourised as the only way out of the ghetto grime. Artists who are at the forefront of influencing young people with little opportunities must therefore strive to either keep themes like cyber-crime in context or make some other kind of music.

Besides, American hip-hop has battled in the past few years to rid itself of gangster rap cliches, hence why the most critically revered rappers today preen their music on storytelling and documentation of black history (See Kendrick Lamar, Chance The Rapper, J.Cole). Songs about the drug-fueled rap star life may therefore sound good on radio, but listeners understand the context decries them leading the same lifestyle. This is the kind of self-awareness Afropop needs too.

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