by Ogbeche Ohotuowo
Those who love music have been blessed with music battles from their favourite and not-so-favorite musicians and music producers. We have had Teddy Riley vs Babyface; Ludacris vs Nelly, Sarz vs Shizzi, Jill Scott vs Erykah Badu and the one most Nigerians went crazy for – No Signal’s Wizkid vs Vybz Kartel.
We’ve also had the audio battles: Black MJ vs White MJ; the battle that nearly took over Obasanjo’s internet: Beyoncé vs Rihanna; and the one some of us are waiting for: Mohits vs Mavin.
Today’s music conversation on Nigerian Twitter centres on two icons of rap music in Nigeria: Naeto C and MI. The two stars have agreed to a battle of hits, come Sunday but the excitement of many has led to a flurry of questions.
“What standards should we use to crown the king?”
Is it just the music – or the movement behind the music? Are we concerned about the rapper with the highest number of hits, or the one with the biggest hits? Should this battle be about the rapper with the higher number of awards, or the one with more street credibility?
People seem to suggest that Naeto C was the first of his peers to address some social issues with his song like “Ashawo” which condemned people name-calling video vixens and automatically assuming they slept with the artistes they worked with. This is a significant factor to look at. Music helps to drive the narrative of a people and if your songs do not speak to the things that are important, what good is that?
According to others, he revolutionized the game by showing that you don’t have to be ‘street’ to rap well. In this light, Naeto C is said to have paved the way for rappers like Ycee of today. There may now be a lot of rappers with Masters degrees, but we must pay homage to and rightly acknowledge the first?
We know that our stars and biggest icons transform our slangs and dressing. Perhaps that is why many people will say Naeto C is the bigger rapper, for making Nigerians say slangs like: “Yes, Boss!” and “You know the p.” Naeto C’s style and Freshness influenced fashion trends. At that time, all the boys were wearing Ankara pants with hoodies and Hausa caps (wagambari) with T-shirts.
But people who love MI will argue that there simply is no better rapper in the game. He has given his wide fan base steady hits from his ‘Crowd Mentality’ to ‘Talk About It’ to MI 2: The Movie to “The Chairman” and now to “The Live Report.”
Still, you can’t help but love, admire and wish to to be like Naeto C. His latest song “Kill’N me Softly” was released in 2017, but we can never forget “Ten over Ten” from a decade ago, or “5 and 6” or “Share my Blessings” or even “I Gentle;” not to talk of “Ki Ni Big Deal.”
Maybe we forget easily how the music icons of the 2000s transformed our societies and had really big hits even without streaming platforms or social media. This forgetfulness is why someone had the effrontery to suggest a battle between 2face and Joeboy.
@Osi_Suave is probably right, as we cannot attend concerts now, maybe we should look forward to Sunday as a time to reminisce and party from the comfort of our homes. But if Nigerians don’t fight, who will?
Regardless of the standards you use to determine who means more to you as a rapper, the battle of Sunday is clear. We’re looking for who has the most hits between the two stars: 10 v 10. Who wins? We trust that whatever happens, some Nigerians will show up fully armed and ready to destroy people who hold different opinions.