In Nigeria music industry today, it appears that the easiest way to sell songs is to portray women as sexual objects and meaningless lyrics. Vulgarity, sexuality and sensuality have become rampant in our society today.
Nigeria’s entertainment industry generally is undoubtedly the biggest in Africa, but lyrical contents of Nigeria hip hop music right now seem to be a shift. Many music artists pick up slangs and slogans from the thin air, suing it to drive the consciousness of music lovers.
Meanwhile, many years ago, Nigerians become proud of the fact that that our music and music videos are in better quality and good shape, enjoying more airplay on local and international television and radio platforms with good lyrical contents. But these days, lewd lyrics and vulgar sound music flood the Nigeria hip hop world as many artistes count it as a unique selling point.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with Nigerians, especially music lovers where they reveals to us their take about the lyrical contents in Nigerian music industry today.
PUFFY TEE (Music producer)
Why is it that Nigerians have vulgar lyrics in most of their songs?
Nigerian artists are following the trend. When you look at American artistes and artistes all over the world, they sing songs that have words like that. If you listen to Rihanna or Niki Minaj’s lyrics, you will hear words like that. Even all these big boys they have sex lyrics in their song, they are only following the trend. It doesn’t mean that they are artiste that sing about sex, when you go to some francophone countries, they sing their sex and vulgar words in their own language.
There are songs that are meant for adult, same as there are movies meant for adult. And every song is not meant for everybody. So I am not going to condemn it and I am not going to say that they should be careful how they write songs and even though they are going to say something like that they should find a suitable way because Nigerians frown at it but if you watch closely those people criticizing it, they listen to these music and even play it in their cars. So vulgar or no vulgar, music is music.
Do you think singing vulgar lyrics will sell a song?
First, in Nigeria, what sells song is not what they say, it is the beat that attracts people, once they hear the beta and move to the beat then you can think of lyrics. Like I said, there are songs for adult, there are movies for adult, there are censored movies that if you are not from age 18 and above, you can’t watch it. So, I think we should have music like that. They can put censor on the music but I don’t think vulgar words can sell music, it depends on the audience the music is attracted to.
If I am from the part of the country whereby I like those kind of music, I will buy the music, it will sell in those part of the country and if I am in the that does not like vulgar music, it won’t sell so it is a tool, it is either it kills music or it sells music, so I am not going to lie that the vulgar lyrics sells music.
What is your advice for Nigerian musicians?
Do what is best for you and what is best for the country and what is best for us in the environment. And if there is possibility for someone to remember you, what will they know you for, will they know you for the guy that sings vulgar songs or the guy that sings all the songs together, so just be yourself but that does not mean you can do what you feel like doing or do something that makes you happy.
Some people, what makes them happy is to do porn, some people is to read articles, some to become barbers. So as artists, if what makes you happy is to sing vulgar songs or crazy songs and energetic songs, you have your own market. There is always a market for that, it is just that Nigerians are not ready to fix that because we are too religious. But I will say whichever way, just think of what is best for the present day society.
What other people say…
The Nigeria music industry is growing and it still remains one of the best in Africa but I have stopped listening to Nigeria hip hop music. I only got attracted to few musicians nowadays. Raw lyrical contents don’t make any meaning to me. You will listen to some songs with lewd lyrics and you ask yourself, who are the target audience? I think our musicians should have a rethink. They are no longer singing for the children even the teenagers in one way or the other.
Lewd lyrics have been in the music industry for a while, just that musicians who used them back then knew how to make them meaningful and good to the ear. But lately I have noticed raw lyrics, vulgar music now flood the industry.
I will say the fact that people keep appreciating those songs boots their ego to produce more, but by the time we start condemning music with lewd lyrics, I think they will do something better.
I don’t allow my kids to listen to other musics except gospel and other selected children musics. The Nigeria hip hop world has turned upside down. I’m surprise because young artistes no longer compose music, they get high on drug and go to the studio to vomit whatever comes to their brain.
How can someone use this kind of a lyric Were loba de (inspired by madness) and people still join to celebrate his madness? I think we need to stop reacting to those lewd vibes. We should condemn whatever song that doesn’t pass any meaningful message across.
Music can be fictional, an artiste can imagine what’s not possible but not with lewd lyrics. Hip hop acts these days no longer fear the Censor Board. They use whatever vulgar languages that pleases them. This appears to be a growth to the music industry meanwhile it’s not.
Very soon people will no longer have throwback music in the nearest future because they will contain unfriendly words.
The industry is exposing a lot of teenagers to different things with their lewd lyrics. It is encouraging bad activities in our society. Many artistes have succeeded in influencing smoking, drinking and sexual harassment among the youths because that’s what their music denotes nowadays.
Musicians no longer pay songwriters for good music, instead they prefer to sing vulgar music which is causing a lot of damage to the future of our youths. We should try to stop them from influencing our lifestyle, let us say no to artistes with lewd lyrics.
The NBC is doing its best to curb lewd lyrics in our society but the love Nigerians have for those songs supersede the laws on ground. We can only curb the activities of those artistes if only the people can strand as one and say no to lewd lyrics instead those songs keeps flying high, they are mostly the rave of the moment in Nigeria music industry today.
– GLORY OSIGWE and OLUWAFEMI SOEWU