Monday, June 22, 2009

Much Ado About an Article

You know whats worse than someone trying to get your attention?
Giving it to them.

Which is what ive seen a lot of my dear friends and acquaintances do lately.

So someone wrote an article lambasting Nigerian entertainment.

Hasn’t that been done before? And sometimes, even by the same writer? So why is this one any different? Have DBanj, PSquare, 9ice, Banky W, Terry G, and so on and so for th, not been lambasted before? So why is this one different?
Because he mentioned a lot of names? Or just because? I don’t get!
Do I buy into the article?
I think the fact that Lord Lugards MISTRESS named Nigeria, gives me EVERY right to change its name!
I think that stage names are important to distinguish from the artiste and the individual and I believe there are also examples of older artistes with stage names
I see my dad, who is well over 60, listening to music by artistes like Kel, like Lord of Ajasa, like PSquare, like J Martins and co, and loving it. Hey! He sometimes gives me the news before I hear it!
I know what Rooftop MC’s mean when they say, ‘Ori mi wu, e lagi mo’, and I see no difference between what Loose Kaynon says when he says SWAGGER MI TI POJU, and what Pa Fatai Rolling Dollar says when sings, WON KERE SI NUMBER WA
I see Nigerian artistes who basically have to fend for themselves because structures that should have been put in place where eroded a long time ago!
And I applaud the artistes who find this article annoying.
Me I just don’t get why they are paying it this much attention.

Do they pay us attention when as their fans, we complain that everyone is using the same beat?
Has anyone of them listened to us when we say we are tired of ‘Moet’ ‘Bentley’, ‘Maga’ and other words in their lyrics?
When last did they show they care that inspite of the fact that we cringe when we listen to some of the music they churn out, we still support them wholeheartedly?
Did anyone of them hold a press conference when we joked that we’d rather they didn’t say ‘DJ TRACK 1’ any longer?
When last did they stand up for alternative artistes, for clean music, for live music?

So why are they huffing and puffing now?
What happened to freedom of speech?
Isnt it the same freedom they exercise when they go into the studio and say what they want, how they want it, and then perform it?
Come on!
This article is news. But you know what they say about todays news being non existent yesterday and bin liner tomorrow?
But it would seem a Mission Impossible has now become Mission Accomplished because we continue to twit, facebook and email it!
Let us (for the article was directed at ALL OF US) internalise that anger so we can turn criticism into gold.
On this note I rest my case.
Oun to ba wun anybody lo le fenu e so!


  1. even by choosing to ignore the article

    that is ur reaction

    everyone is entitled to his......

    so the writer expected a buzz-he has one

    this too shall pass............

  2. ......true dat it would become the bin liner!!! but the Elder should hav done his research well...

  3. you just have a way of puting things to rest...nice...buh aparently a lot of pple dont see it dat way!!

  4. this is a very good prospective...

  5. nice one sweety.i totally understand what u mean.d more attention this article gets,the more Mr Abati gets unwarranted n cheap publicity.i neva knew who he was till i read d article last night.well,if his plan was to put himself out there n try 2 become as relevant as he used to,its definitely workin.on d real,nice one here.

  6. well...u should have put a link so that i can see it..i dont live in nigeria bt im a nigerian hu loves our the man is prob looking to be taken seriously...i always tell people if you are reading something you dont like close it or turn the page...that hs own opinion...watever it is.

  7. can i get a link to the article?


  9. heard about this kain article, never see am!
    Every man/woman is entitled to his or her own point of view!

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  11. Yes and while agree that the journalist has gotten publiciy...the question is this...has he gotten good or bad publicity.

    As a respected journalist i tell you that the publicity he getting is not doing him any ounce of good.

    While he has every right to have diarrehea of the mouth/brain or whatever...well so does everyone else.


  12. WELL SAID!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. I like this tosyn, it's a wonderful one from an entirely different percpective....may them artistes see and hear the cries of their fans rather the random tots of Rd Reuben Abati...'cos if u read his works alot u'll know, u can't just always agree wif him 'cos someday he writes a great piece for u and the next u writes another great piece wif maximum beef...if i can say it like that.
    My dad still likes him though, as for me i'll say - -- Let him speak!

  14. just read the piece and banky's response...what can i say?banky seems like the one hu should be working wt a nwspaper not mr. abati...i ws so angry when i read dat...hw many f the so called old musicians went to school?but almost all the recent musicians went or are returning to tired of old people talking and not thinking and thinking everyone will shut up cs the r glad banky did hs research and put the stupid man to shame...and i say that with all the respect i can muster now in the midst of all my anger.

  15. change is one constant thing we cannot do but have,and drawing from Mr R.A's article *since he did rightly mention that this is the age of abbreviations* i dear say he is a relic of the old age, and like some if i may say,(i wouldn't be so rude, just voicing the thought of others')... moving ahead seem like chewing rock, this age is totally different from what may have been obtainable in time past. this is only the beginning... there is a strong wind of change sweeping through and God help those who wouldn't bulge.

  16. Word, Sis...maybe we are giving Dr. Reu too much attention...he won't be the first to blame it on the Artist that an illusion is preferred..dude reminds me of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson..

  17. Dr A. is getting this much bashing from everyone perhaps because he is the last of the links we have long trusted as a mediator between our generation and the outgoing one. Now this article, and the knock-out riposte casts him in the image of someone in a crisis of his own identity. Does he belong here, or there? In the end, he loses, or else crashes to a state of "acceptance" of the new undisputed reality: the buck now stops HERE.

  18. as far as i am concerned, we cant throw the baby out with the bath water
    he didnt express it well, but were there points made in his article?

    as our elders say

  19. If Reuben Abati had a right to his opinions, so did Bnky W. There is freedom of speech which both parties chose to express. There's been a lot of this kind of stuff coming from Abati's generation. To some extent, I may understand where Abati is coming from, but from a larger extent, I see it as beef, that these young guys have succeeded where they failed.
    I am thrilled not just because Banky W. responded but because he did so very intelligently. His article was better written than Reuben's and Reuben is the seasoned journalist. I think it is the silence of the youths that make them continue to throw these stones. Now next time someone wants to write articles, particularly negative stuff, they'll be sure to do their research.

    'We want to learn but your generation has to teach. We want to read but the Government must provide libraries. We want to go to school but the lecturers keep going on strike.'

    I thought the above was so cool, go Banky W. 9ja 4 life.

  20. This is a response I gave to Banky's note on Facebook. I didn't want to retype some of the stuff I wrote in there, so bear with me.

    I live in New York so I hardly listen to Nigerian music except for the very popular ones that you cannot avoid hearing when one attends Nigerian events. I also commend your attempt at constructively replying to Mr. Abati's position of the emerging fronts of popular culture in Nigeria. However, I will be the voice of dissent here. I am sure you appreciate a different opinion from yours on some issues raised.

    While I am excited at the growth of the Music and Movie industry in Nigeria, I also do worry at the shallowness of the substance. Some artiste have distinguished themselves in turning out music with not just a great melody, but wordy substance and creative nuances as well. Others simply come into the industry with no creative premeditation but a chance encounter. While these are necessary developments, the rare breeds must stand out in the industry and create such standards that will enhance the quality of music.

    I am a musician myself and engaged in full time music before I left Nigeria. Every time I sat through screening sessions of young men and women who wanted me to produce their music, my stomach churned at the scathing emptiness of what they wanted to offer. It was very obvious that they hadn't even listened much to the genre they were supposing to attenuate, talk less of pattern after certain models as a foundation.

    training to help out young artist in improving their skill set before they move headlong into the industry. I recently sampled the opinion of a well respected global music icon and his conclusion is that a lot of Nigerian artistes are is still trying to sell what's not indigenous to us. Hip Hop is a foreign phenomenon, a concept at which we will never beat the West at. What can stand us out, is what home bred ideas we can throw into the global market.

    The world is getting smaller and what we do is assuming an international dimension. Therefore our artiste must begin to think global. While I am satisfied with the Nigerian context of our music, as it satisfies local desire and demand (although the music is getting increasingly and annoyingly monotonous), we need more artiste who will think globally.

    I played Sammy Okposo's latest album in our car some weeks back and a friend asked me who was singing, and I mentioned the artiste name. And he was surprised at the quality and depth of the work. This guy resides in the same country but has a heart for what he is doing. Art comes first and business comes later. The success in business comes as a reward mastery of the art.

    So while Banky has done his part in defending Nigerian artiste, I would rather prefer he stands as the conscience of the industry and redirect the cause to substantive music that is not just about entertainment, but also about 'edu-info-tainment'.

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  22. oh how i love the 'delete' button!

  23. almost everyone who is attacking the dr right now is doing it because
    1. he is an easy target. pls put more energy into changing other things in Nigeria,

    2. he is an adult, and we all just love to get angry at adults dont we?

    3. its the hottest and the latest thing to do. so just like we all wear and eat the same thing, we must now all criticise the same thing

    i can respect those who are being polite abt it
    but hv no respect for those who then go on to insult him
    he is in the end, older than us

    our knee-jerk rejoinders have proven part of his point

    why this article?
    why now?
    because he is an easy target

  24. Why do Nigerians always sound as everything must be perfect and yet we are the most imperfect, "err-bundant" country ever. When you try to criticize things, do you realize you also have a lot of flaws in what you do? Nigerians please grow. Enuff said.

  25. lol..reading thru ur comments, u show know how to cause some controversy...However i praise wat uv done here, really! my bone with Dr. was dt he made some visible flaws like misspellin and making obvious 'untrue' accusations HOWEVER its his opinion, lets move on...Some musicians DO make flawed music however i think he shldnt have generalised entirely..Dr. should have given some of these artistes a benefit of doubt and not have compared with d older generation...Why r they being more western?well its cos right now, d whole world is GLOBAL no matter how hard we like to stop it. but they still try by puttin the 9JA feel into it. lets take time to weed out d bad ones n praise d gud ones and not generalise,k Dr? as we all know, THERE R MORE WEEDS THAN BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS AMONST THESE

    Praise and big-up Tosyn...ur so LEO!!! :)

  26. I agree with Holyreg, as the need for quality in Nigerian music. But i have to point out, that just like the US, has it's mediocre artist, naija is no exception. After saying that i feel it necesssary to point out that we DO have artists with depth. Listen to the music of Asa,Nneka,certain lyrics by Mode Nine like "Africa", "Leaders of Tommorrow",Roof Top Mc have a message in their albums.

    YES, Mr Abati has a point about senseless lyrics, many of us cringe, when we hear certain artists and we wonder how on earth they got sudio time, not to talk of a video.But THAT then becomes the artist that sells the most, such is the irony of the taste of the Nigerian masses.

    Most of us on this debate and on this blog understand Mode 9 when he talks about his critics "flying like Icarus, too close to the sun".But depth like that rarely turns into sales.

    Many of our artists are already of international quality, like the ones i already mentioned.

    Not every "rapper" is going to be as deep as Black Thought of The Roots, or Common and Talib Kweli. Not every singer is going to be like Sade Adu, Musiq Soul Child. We should hail the ones that are doing their best

    While we should be concerned that a large proportion of those selling big, is just mindless bable. We should appreciate those who maintain artistic integrity and forgo sales.

    The music industry has produced global class artists within a span of 3 years plus (i'm counting since 2006) ,an amazing turn around , considering that in 2001 , you would have to beg the average naija kid to listen to a naija artist. This is something that it's sister industry has failed to as many of us still cringe at it's productions.

    I am proud of how far Naija music industry has come in the past 3 years. I can recommend many of our artists to any non - nigerian, without ANY reservations.

    Yes,there is room for improvement, but let's applaude the ones that are making great music that is both entertaining and artistic, and not let te mediocre ones overshadow their efforts.


  27. I have no problem with the name Nigeria. I don't understand why you should want to change it just because it was given to us by a foreigner! That shouldn't even be an issue.
    I understand there is need for us to be proud but then again we don't have to be over protective.

  28. should know Dr. Abati otherwise they'll say our generation doesn't read the right stuff.

    @leggy...pls don't use words like "stupid" for Dr. Abati, he was expressing his freedom and his article actually contained a lot of truth..which Tosyn rightly "pointed out" to me on facebook...though I never said he wasn't, it just wasn't the whole truth!

    Kola on!

    @Tosyn...we are all expressing our freedom of expression. Dr.Abati was very right with most of his arguments and i said so in my note on facebook but he simply overdid it, the truths were veiled by the non-truths! I have always loved his writings and I won't stop loving them. It is human to err, it is human to rebuke, it is human to get angry!

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  30. While it would be foolhardy for me to insist on the “too gbasky-ness” of every member of this generation, the so-called "golden generation" cannot claim they haven’t been a colossal shame.

    But we have not relapsed into the dreariness that their generation created because we did not expect them to glorify our bad.

    It is instructive to note that despite the shortage of role models and laid down structures, we have stepped the game up and created movements, businesses, NGO’s, an entertainment industry (no matter how crippled it may still be) etc and we are making sense by the day.
    Only those who appreciate the strength of the youth can positively impact them with knowledge, grace and vitality.

    Basically, issues, issues, issues should be issues…ROOFTOP MCs? It is scary to see that someone I grew up on will get it sooooo wrong. What is the next big blunder? Which mentor or leader will get it wrong next? I hope not my mentor.

    I think this generation has got to rise up on every side and look above for inspiration…the earth has been eroded of prophets maybe the real ones need to speak louder…

  31. oooooooooooooooooooojare! and oun to ba wun tosin lo le fi laptosis re ko. go on soun jo.

  32. Very, very, very well said… Not only did you hit the nail on the head but you built a whole solid house out of your arguments. I SO love the hard-hitting neutrality tone of it. Of course I just had to steal whole portions of this post to quote in mine.
    Good work, Tosyn! Keep it up!

  33. so late in this brouhaha, but enjoying it all d same. Abeg, mek una no crusify Uncle Reuben. D dude don talk am as him see am. Twenty - thrity years from now,, most of una will probably think d way he is thinking of d things u'd see of dat generation. Na so life be

  34. Dr. Abati wasted a great opportunity to complain about one vexing issue with the naija music scene; the lack of real talent (in the fore front) and the dearth of live music and the irritating over emphasis on computerisation and vocoders. this is what will kill this industry if something is not done quickly.

  35. personally, journalism is about research...its without emotions. i saw alot of that in mr R's article...he wanted to stand on d fence but his emotions wouldnt let him...they say when u beat a child with your right hand, u pull him back with ur left...he pushed it.

  36. Quite frankly, I'm tired of the brouhaha surrounding this whole Reuben vs Banky issue...but I like ur perspective; it seems neutrally balanced, kind of...weldone SpeechGirl...
    btw, it's my 1st time here...

  37. in as much as i appreciate the efforts of nigerian artistes in trying to make waves they should be more constuctive in their songs cos their lyrics are so meaningless and i reckon its the beat that people like and as africans we believe in morality; songs like ki ni big deal have no meaning to me they should go get good song writers