The Rap Awakening

THERE’S A NEW WAVE IN THE RAP MUSIC INDUSTRY THAT’S BLOWING ACROSS AFRICA AND SOURCES SAY IT IS STARTING FROM NIGERIA – A REBIRTH IN RAP MUSIC

Source: Aledeh

Source: Aledeh

There are two things in life that finds an amazing way to unite Africans no matter the obvious differences and they are music and sports – in that order. You are likely to find 2 out of 10 people who could say that they don’t really pay any mind to sports but I can guarantee you that there’s hardly anybody on the surface of the earth that doesn’t like music – unless the person came visiting from Mars.

There are a million and one things I could outline in this short article about music which I am certain are not new to you but that is neither why you are reading this article nor I am writing this article. We are both here because of this new wave – the diss tracks.

Diss tracks aren’t new in the rap industry, it is as old as rap music itself. One recent diss track that rocked the global stage was that between Machine Gun Kelly and maestro himself, Eminem. I mean who didn’t listen to the bars they spat? I think I listened to both rappers like a hundred times each.

Diss tracks kind of died out of the African airwaves for a long time as rappers started to play safe. The diss tracks that really got Nigerians talking and also helped rap music become widely acceptable in Nigeria was that which was done by veterans Idris Abdulkareem and Ruggedman in the 2000s – those were the years – Nigerian millennials would certainly appreciate this.

I guess diss tracks are the new vibe, causing a new wave to blow across Nigeria and breathing new life into the Nigerian rap music industry.

Veteran, business mogul, and lyrical titan recently released a diss track in response to the diss track initially released by rap sensation, Vector the Viper. If you are yet to listen to it don’t waste another second, watch videos below, it is absolutely lit. 

Now that this trend has hit the shores of Nigeria again and in this post digital era, rest assured that this is going to cause a ripple effect across the continent. I personally cannot wait for what Kenyan, South African, and other African rappers are going to do.

Many have asked if rappers engaging in lyrical battles and releasing diss tracks helps their careers or whether or not it is something they should have even indulged in the first place. Well I’ll put it like this, it increases mentions and impressions, catches attention and increases listenership. What more would you ask for if you were in showbiz?

Africa’s Owning the Spotlight

BEYONCE’S ALBUM “THE GIFT” HAS GOT THE WORLD VIBING TO THE SOUND OF AFRICA

Source: Waploaded

Source: Waploaded

Following a successful premier of the Lion King movie, star artiste Beyonce Knowles-Carter released a one of its kind album and it has got the world in some sort of “spirit” mode. The movie which would see the star artiste play the role of Nala (Simba’s love affair – in the movie) was originally released in 1994 as a cartoon produced by Walt Disney. I practically grew up watching that cartoon, I think I must have seen it nearly a thousand times, to the point I could recite the lines of each character word for word. To be honest, Scar was my best character – he had a goal and he was determined to get it no matter what – he was ambitious, although he was cunning, a sly guy, and a liar (characters I don’t approve of).

I am particularly excited that such an album was released in my time. I guess it’s just the right time for Africa to feel the limelight for a bit and an opportunity for us to get this sound that we love so much to eardrums beyond our shores on a larger scale. Beyonce Knowles-Carter said that this album is her to gift to Africa and as such she set out to work with the best of the best in the African entertainment industry. The album featured many of Africa’s finest musicians such as Wizkid, Yemi Alade, Burna Boy, Mr Eazi, Tiwa Savage, Tecno, Shatta Walle, and more. 

One of the most difficult things I encountered while listening to this album was picking a favourite song, the album is simply phenomenal and if you haven’t heard it yet, I TINK you should and if you already have, kindly leave your thoughts on any of the songs in the comment section below.

The Future of the Future

EVERYONE SEEMS TO BE TALKING ABOUT THE FUTURE TODAY, WHAT ARE WE PREPARING FOR?

Source: EC Tour

Source: EC Tour

All my life I heard the phrase “plan for the future, today”, but it was always said in corrective tones like I was doing something wrong living wild and free without a care in the world. All I wanted to do was live in the moment but other people thought it wrong, they said “what if you go bungee jumping and crack your neck in the process? Have you thought of getting health care and can you afford that kind of health care”? If you actually want to live wild and free and stay in the moment you also have to plan for the next moment otherwise you’ll be happy today and frustrated tomorrow.

With that being said, I think the whole world is going bungee jumping soon because everyone seems to be talking about the future, the future of work, the future of tech, the future of business, the future of music, the future of wine, the future of movies, the future of social network, the future of education, the future of weed, and so on, but today I’m talking about something special, The Future Of The Future. The last time I heard this much talk about the future I was just a boy and it was in the year 2000. For some reason, in Nigeria, we thought that year was going to be the end of the world and till this day, I don’t know why. When that didn’t happen a couple of people started to plan for the next 2000 years. Please don’t laugh, it wasn’t funny then but I think it is hilarious now.

What is the purpose of these conversations?

Well it is in no doubt that the world is in the age of disruption and everyone is thinking of future proofing their businesses and as a result, a couple of trends are emerging especially that of The Merger. Big and small organizations all over Africa are consolidating efforts for the sole purpose of ensuring sustainability.

Another trend which is equally important is Agility. This word has been thrown around throughout the year as businesses and brands are trying to position themselves in such a way that they are equipped to transform speedily when the need arises. Someone once told me and he said: “old men talk about the past, but young men talk about the future”. No one wants to be obsolete, they all want to be relevant so they invest in a nimble and forward-thinking team.

These two trends and more are the co-parents of the future. Everyone is coming together to share trends and information so that they can all ensure that no one is left behind in this race to the future. Like my favorite line from Vin Diesel in Riddick, “If you can’t keep up, don’t step up”.

What would these conversations produce?

As these conversations continue to flood the economic landscape I believe we are in for a mega shift in everything that we currently know and do. A few years ago, social networks didn’t exist but now those networks have created tons of global businesses around the world.

Soon we will birth innovations that’ll change the world – this is something Pinky and the Brain would have loved to do.

How Do You Listen To Music?

MUSIC STREAMING PLATFORMS IN AFRICA HAVE BECOME A BIG DEAL AND ARE TRANSFORMING HOW WE LISTEN TO MUSIC

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Tap your feet, nod you head, hum a beat, and dance on the streets, nobody seems to be walking straight these days – there’s either a tune in their heads or a beat in their steps. Coupled with the growing culture of headphones in Africa it just seems like a no brainer for this trend to take center stage. The way we consume music in Africa has obviously evolved and it’s certainly exciting. I sincerely can’t remember the last time me or any of my colleagues didn’t use a music streaming platform to enjoy great African music.

Listening to music used to be limited to turning on your radio, or the tv set, or downloading it on your device so you can share and also listen at a time of your choosing but right now we can stream it. These music streaming platforms have become increasing popular among the younger generations (millennials and generation z) as it is forming a large part of their lifestyle. These young people use these platforms to gain recognition in terms of followership and acceptability, make some money (some of these platforms pay you for streaming original content), have a good time, and stay up-to-date with entertainment trends.

Source: Vactualpapers

Source: Vactualpapers

Digital music streaming platforms such as Deezer, Spotify, Mtn Music +, Apple music, Habari, Boomplay, and so on have taken advantage of the rise in earphones culture, the increased penetration of smart devices, strong and affordable data, and a healthy youthful population in Africa to build a multi-million dollar business.

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It now seems ancient to just download songs to your device to listen or share, now we stream it. Music has always been the pulse of any vibrant community and it has found a way to be a part of our daily routine as it thrives on the back of these digital streaming platforms. After music is made, we stream it to hear it – it’s a whole new experience.

As a result, music producers and artists have adopted the digital first strategy – launching their work on digital media before going on traditional platforms - as they are certainly going to reach a larger number of Africans in so little time.

Like they say “content is king” therefore digital is the King Maker and if music is the beat, then music streaming platforms are the heart.

Battle for the Eardrums

THE EARPIECE WEARING CULTURE IN AFRICA IS CREATING A WHOLE NEW MARKET

Source: Dreamstime

Source: Dreamstime

It’s a bright and sunny day on any particular day of the week as it is every other day in tropical Africa when it is not a rainy season – one of the predominant seasons in Africa. Still nursing hopes of beholding a snow flake fall through the African skies but loving the African weather just the way it is, we wake up every morning to a hot or cold shower, say a prayer – most of Africa is very religious, get dressed, and head out to conquer the world. Although, we often stop at the door, walk back into the house to pick up a vital accessory we nearly forgot - the earpiece.

The earpiece wearing trend in Africa has become a culture, a way of life that has eaten deep into the society. I remember riding the bus onetime and realized that nearly every single person sitting in the bus had their earpiece on. Although, the elderly in the society frown at it out of concern for their ears but the massive youthful population housed in Africa have almost entirely embraced the culture. You’ll find people on the streets, at homes, or in their offices (places where they do business) wearing an ear plug.

Source: Marketing donut

Source: Marketing donut

This culture is largely buoyed by the love for contemporary African music, the need to speak to friends, loved ones, and business partners while driving, the need to get the best out of video calls, and the shear need of wanting to be alone or cut one’s self out of the presence of others in order to concentrate.

This culture has given rise to a growing market which has made audio music providers such as Deezer, Boomplay, Apple music, Samsung music, Spotify, and so on very popular. As a result these audio music providers or platforms are in a battle to deepen their market share on the African soil, deploying exemplary marketing strategies to win the fight for the eardrums.

However, the side effects to wearing earpieces may include tinnitus (noise in ear), hyperacusis, ear infection, pains, loss of hearing, or worse, affect the brains. In as much as we may not be able to abandon the trend we should devise healthier means of using our beloved earpieces to prevent any of these side effects from occurring.