AS MUSIC LEAVES THE GHETTO…
Following the recent growth in Nigeria's main movie industry,Nollywood, there is a reason to be concerned on the reverse trend in Kannywood, the northern version of the former. Anthony Ada Abraham compares both situations
Though many would say music did not start from the ghetto, but a critical look at artistes be it contemporary or gospel, will tell you it all started from the ghetto(hood).
Internationally, 66.5% of the supposedly big names always dedicate songs to the ghetto due to the fact that it's where they started even though majority of them are not from poor homes.
Great artistes like, Tupac, Tuface, R-Kelly, Bob Marley, P Square, Akon, Mary J, lil Wayne, Jay Z, Snoop Dogg, the late Nate Dog, the great man himself, Dr. Dre, Hitman, X-ibit, while Baba Fryo, Daddy Showkey, Majek Fashek, Evi Edna Ogoli, Chaka Chaka, late Brend Fasie, Lucky Dube were all handmade of the ghetto.
Little wonder Tupac sang about four tracks dedicated to the ghetto before his death especially… one most people know as 'Ghetto Gospel'. Same goes for R-Kelly, Akon and the likes.
Coming back to Nigeria context, how have these so called artistes who started from the community belonged…had it impacted on their lives?
The last time something was heard was when NCTDC (an NGO)took the initiative to collaborate with some celebrities by visiting the less privileged of the ghetto like Ajegunle where Daddy Showkey, Segun Arinze were part of.
You hear in the western world artistes using their hard earn wealth to fight for the people even though they spend for themselves also.
Reverse is the case in Nigeria, as they tell you they have an NGO, which is still being sponsored by one government agency or the other.
You hear people like P Square, Tuface, D'Banj, Timaya and others not forgetting those in the movie industry too, showing off what they have got but not channeling some of it to the community they cut their teeth from.
While others are looking at Baba Fryo, Daddy Fresh, Daddy Showkey, Stereoman, not leaving out African China and others, as people that would have changed the face of the ghetto, their songs fall short of what is obtainable in today's Nigeria modern music industry…so they can't stand the test of time.
Take for instance, Terry G, a producer of the modern ghetto kind of music, he is using his knowledge in music production, weaving it with the already fading away ghetto music but in a modernised way.
There are other artistes like Terry G who claim to know production and have good lyrics but are still basking in euphoria of old…not wanting to change. And not knowing that if you want to produce a song, you need to upgrade and meet the taste of your prospective listeners.
That is why majority of their songs never enjoy air play, while some are given strict scrutiny just like Wande Coal said in his song 'bumpa to bumpa' are being followed.
There is need for Nigeria celebrities to plough back a part of what they have achieved so far to their communities, especially where they started from though some have foundations and NGOs…have they ever done something for the people that would warrant them saying 'yes thank God for this Nigeria artiste' or come out to tell our leaders that their policies are affecting the people of their communities?
It was reported on LEADERSHIP Weekend, a sister publication recently that ace movie star George Clooney was led away in handcuffs after storming the Sudanese Embassy protesting the actions of the country's president Omar Al-Bashir, (Not in America)an alleged war criminal.
Clooney made the rounds in Washington hoping his superstar wattage will help shine a light on the situation in Sudan.
He is using his fame to bridge the gap between the government and the people, not minding if it is his country or not.
The report also says the actor testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and held private meetings with the Secretary of State and President Obama about the African nation's dire humanitarian situation and the Obama administration's policy. He led a protest outside of Sudan's embassy calling on Omar Al-Bashir, an alleged war-criminal, to stop the violence and allow humanitarian aid into Sudan.
Not in our case…the gathering is always to flex…forgetting that this country needs them also.
One guy aside Charlyboy who has been speaking is elDee the Don. He has never kept quiet or joined the band wagon of government loyalists. He has been using the social media and other means to pass his message across, sometimes it doesn't have to be music…but action.
Nigeria Ghetto music is fast fading away, and some ghetto artistes always say they remember when they go to shows to perform with one big name or another.
They can help each other to stand back on their feet, either by featuring them in songs or doing some humanitarian work for the benefit of their communities.
If you have fame and fortune and you can not channel some to those in need…check yourself.