All year, the biggest news on this continent that hasn’t been the MAMA or some Pan-African collaboration, has been a beef. CassperNyovestand AKA admittedly have grown bigger as brands due to their elaborately chronicled beef.
With AKA and Nyovest, there has been blood, slaps, one-sided fisticuffs, threat, twitter attacks, baby mamas, prayers, half-diss tracks, full-diss tracks, videos, and fan fights. This has been an endless source of light and compelling entertainment for the duration of year. Who hasn’t enjoyed this?
AKA and Cassper prior to 2015, had been footnotes in Nigerian press. Their music was largely ignored, their utterances feebly waved away, and their activities largely inconsequential. But after their beef, they have had triumphant entries into Nigeria. Their music has become headlines, their fights as sacred as biblical stories, and the diss tracks well-reported, analysed, covered and enjoyed for its sake.
Then there was Drake and Meek Mill. That beef between the US rappers, have done wonders for Meek Mill. His diss track was plain ugly, but combine that press gotten from it and his ‘Fans mi’ collaboration with Davido, and you have a star born into the average Nigerian heart. Wait until he visits this country. It’ll be nothing short of glorious.
Beef in itself is good for the art. Although in the Western cultures, it tends to spill blood and result in loss of life, in Africa, our artistes and all their representatives lack that amount of conviction mixed with hatred to pull off a killing because of beef. No one has that guts, We are too conscious of our status to compromise our careers on it.
So where are our Nigerian beefs? Where are our thrilling diss tracks, messy twitter fights, and entertaining words of social media anger, banter and bile? Why have the Nigerian fan not enjoyed some of this?
The truth is simple. Nigerian artistes don’t in their hearts love themselves. Most of them are a bunch of haters unto themselves. They long for each other’s success, see another’s gains as a personal chance lost for them. They carry out ingenious plans to steal each other’s beats and choruses, and when that fails, they copy it and try to improve on it so as to take the shine off the other guy, thereby killing off his song.
Honestly, ignore all the high-fives, selfies, bonding on Instagram, birthday shout-outs, gay tweets and supportive interviews. Deep down, and in muted conversations, when the cameras are gone, and the lights are off, there’s anger, bad blood and bile. That’s when the real story is turned on, and the intrigue that scratches the underbelly of what we call celebrity lifestyle come to the fore.
Once in a while, this escapes into the open, and it becomes a good reason to follow the news. But almost all of it gets swept under the carpet due to compromise, bullying and media cowardice. See Basketmouth and Sean Tizzles exchanges here. It’s just a sneak peek into what the real story is.
The reason why our artistes don’t beef is fear. A typical Nigerian artiste who has had considerable success is a walking bag of skin, blood, bones and consummate fear. They are scared for their careers; they are scared for their cash-flows, endorsement deals, and reputation. They hold tightly onto the image they have, and try their best to not upset their cart. What makes theirs further interesting is that they have perfected the art of masquerading this fear as moral superiority and undeterred focus on their music, films, comedy and art.
This fear which rules the industry has taken off the element of relativity from the it. We are all flawed beings, and beefs are a normal way to express unhealthy struggle. But with each new way the artistes devise to hide their disgust at the next singer and rapper, they further alienate their fans from the true workings of their minds, and lose out on the opportunity to grow a cult following based on relativity. Fans adore truth. They love fallible humans, who they can project their personal misdemeanours, character flaws, and indiscretions.
Check out the biggest stars in Nigerian pop culture, and see a trail of imperfections. Wizkid loves his weed, Burna Boy’s arrogance and veiled disgust for humans is happy fodder, Jim Iyke is a gift that keeps on giving, Charlie Boy is a master of dark spectacle, 2face Idibia has a chronicled history with women, D’banjis all shades of robust living and ‘debts’, Iyanya’s need to show off his anatomy sparks of lovable narcissism, and Davido can’t just stop spending without caution.
Someday, there will be a big bang in the industry. All these pent-up emotions that haven’t been acted upon will rise to the fore, and break free. There will be some sort of emotional purge and cleansing, and it will be ugly, very ugly. There will be books written on wrongdoings, epistles crafted to expose some indiscretion, the mother of all tweet fights and everyone will be smeared by this Beefpocalypse. It will be artiste versus artistes, actor versus actor, journalist versus artiste, journalist versus journalist, veterans versus newbies, and most amusing, veterans versus veterans. Just imagine a 2face and Modenine beef.
How enthralling a contest that would be.
When this happens, only then can this brand of ‘fakeness’ which the average fan has given to the industry be removed, and true followership can rsie in its stead. Until then, all is fair, square and sunny, in Nigerian entertainment. And we all have to believe that.
Joey Akan is a Writer, Presenter, Poet and Music critic and Editor at www.pulse.ng writes from Lagos.
Note: Views expressed in the article is of the writer not necessary of the publisher.