by Olawoyin Oladeinde
Few things amuse me like the paradox that is Fuji act MURI ALABI THUNDER’s somewhat withered career. And it’s quite odd that an admittedly talented artiste who once touted himself––and some would say ‘quite rightly’––as the heir apparent to Sikiru Ayinde Barrister’s throne would slide into a bottom-of-the-ladder position in the Fuji hierarchy.
But Muri Thunder’s ordeal is a lesson in the politics of success; a textbook analysis on how the process of attaining glorious heights isn’t as tasking as playing the right ‘politics’ to sustain such glory.
At the height of Muri’s glory, circa early 2000’s, very few Fuji acts of his generation, including the self-acclaimed ‘king’ of that generation––Sule Alao Adekunle Malaika––could compete with him, lyrically and otherwise. By the time Muri would come out with his monster hit, ‘Still Alive’, after surviving that ghastly accident along the notorious Lagos-Ibadan expressway, he had left everyone confused about whom the master lyricist was between him and his master-cum-mentor, Saidi Osupa.
But Osupa, intractable in the studio as he is elsewhere, would continue to wax stronger, churning out wisdom-laden hits after hits, conveniently keeping the needless supremacy debate within the confines of incoherent murmurs. Yet, Muri too was no pushover.
Well, he indeed was, until he decided to wrestle with his chi, in the guise of Osupa, his master. The crisis culminated in the patent rights controversies surrounding his smash hit ‘Ajiwere’, the Kokoro-Taofiki kerfuffle, the zillions of attacks on Saidi, and other numerous avoidable crises.
Across generations, Fuji lovers, by some not-too-puzzling traditional design, are often divided into two distinct camps––and so, as it was in the days of Barrister Vs. Kollington, so it was in the days of Wasiu Ayinde Vs. Iyanda Sawaba, and so it is today in the age of Osupa-Pasuma. And by this design, to appear on the big stage, all what a smart upcoming Fuji act needs is a little dose of mischief: join either of the camps and throw missiles at the ‘captain’ of the ‘other’ camp.
This, here, is perhaps the loudest explanation, albeit mischief-laden, behind the journey to stardom of more than a dozen Fuji stars: Safejo Amama, Tope Nautical, Larondo Waidi, Saridon 2 Kamoru, Oyama Azeez and of course the biggest beneficiary of this ‘manual’, Taiye Akande Adebisi Currency.
(In a way, Taiye Currency’s successful attempts at breaking away from the confines of Ibadan, beyond his touted loyalty to his boss, is a loud testimony to Pasuma’s mentoring prowess. And interestingly, it throws up questions about Osupa’s too–– especially if we look at the herd of largely semi-successful artistes Osupa had mentored: Saridon 2 Kamoru, Alamu Sherifi, Tope Nautical, Alujo Offa Morufu and the prodigal son himself, Safejo Amama. But that’s by the way, anyway.)
Muri enjoyed almost the same category of fans like Osupa, and because an attack on Saidi was considered as an attack on the legion of fans on their side of the divide, Muri earned for himself a ‘fatwa’, and his ‘treacherous’ position during the Arabambi-Olufimo crisis nailed the coffin.
And, sadly, the artiste died.
So, the other day, a bus ride from Ilupeju to Oshodi, with the driver blaring a new sound, was what jolted me back to reality about the existence of a certain Muri Thunder. And that’s quite unfortunate.
Today, Muri Thunder is almost off the Fuji radar; and even his badly cooked collabo efforts with pop act 2face Idibia couldn’t rescue him from the pit of obscurity.
If artistes battling obscurity ever had tombs designed for them by their well-meaning fans, here’s perhaps what would adorn Muri Alabi Thunder’s: ‘Making it to the big stage isn’t tasking, playing the right politics to remain atop is’.
Oladeinde, a journalist with one of Nigeria’s leading online news platform.