With the current attention around Alhaji Abass Obesere, the original juju provocateur, thanks to his song ‘Egungun Be Careful’ attaining virality, we’ve seen more people make associations between him and our generation’s enfant terrible, Naira Marley. There is of course, the fact that Obesere himself brought it to light that Naira Marley referenced his music for his smash hit ‘Opotoyi‘, and musicians like Obesere helped to create the rebel culture into which Naira Marley has tapped to create his core fan base and be named the Culture Icon of the year.
But asides from Naira Marley’s very vocal musings on Twitter, he has remained largely quiet about his career growth, his private life and his children who came often in his Instagram lives. Much like Burna Boy, another mercurial outsider, Naira Marley has been reclusive about granting interviews,wary of the digital press that scarfed down accusations of fraud and criminality that saw Marley detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and condemned him for discussing taboo topics like masturbation. There aren’t many people who can convince Marley to be vulnerable in front of a camera, but those people have not met Olisa Adibua.
The grand pere of Nigerian entertainment, Adibua’s 30 year long career in radio and entertainment means he has a long roster from which to call favours, and the industry wide respect to pull this off. Their conversation is honest but searching, and it doesn’t completely unravel the mystery around Naira Marley, but it manages to dispel many of the assumptions of illiteracy or thuggery that have followed the singer.
Marley also debuts his recent signings for his newly minted label, shifting his focus from performance to building a sustainable music empire and talks about their plans to dominate the Nigerian entertainment industry in the coming years.
More of this please. The industry could benefit from more candour.