Friday, August 14, 2009

The Roots of Nigerian Rap!

Imagine the imagination of one useless small boy the other day... Just because I said that I'm not feeling most of the contemporary hip-hop coming out of Nigeria right now (though I'm happy for its success), this guy had the audacity to tell me that I just don't understand hip-hop and I need to take the time to go and study the history of the music and culture!

My guy... I was repping hip-hop in Naija before most of these kids out there were even a warm glow spreading across their dad's groin region. And I should mention that this was way before rappin' was by any stretch considered "cool" in Nigeria. Yo, where's my man Deinma? Where's Koko? Molo, do you hear me? Remember how we were ridiculed by our peers? Remember how when we would bust rhymes in the staircase, everybody thought we were stupid (and not stupid fresh)? Remember when the verb "rapping" because synonymous with talking idiotic nonsense? Remember how they told us that rap was a passing fad that went out with breakdancing and that we were just too retarded to see that it wasn't going to last?

Ha! Who's laughing NOW, suckers?

Today in Nigeria, hip-hop is the music that revitalized the country's near-moribund music scene and is considered "the voice of the generation" but I want to give props to the first generation of Nigerian hip-hoppers who built this city. So me and my peeps at have collaborated on this lesson on the first decade of rap music in Nigeria.


(Big ups to my girl Ivory Dome, by the way)


Anonymous said...

There was a Nigerian rap group called ZARIA that opened for the reggea band "Sweat" back in 1985-87. They played all UniLag, UniJos and UniPort.

They, along with Sweat, were managed by Maxwell Benson, the son of the great Bobby Benson, right out of Hotel Bobby in Lagos.

Zaria, even cut some tracks with the then new producer, Kingsley Ogoro, well before he produced other raps groups...

Research with Mr. Benson or Mr. Ogoro. They even worked with Scratch from Sound on Sound.

Zaria should not be forgotten in the history of Hip Hop in Nigeria.

Comb & Razor said...

I'll definitely follow up on that... The name actually sounds familiar to me.

Back then me and my crew were so intent on releasing the first "real" rap record that we used to monitor the progress of any potential challengers anywhere in the country... I *think* I remember hearing of Zaria at the time...

icastico said...

Hey you kids. Get off my lawn. ;^)

Comb & Razor said...

Ah, icastio! I feared that my tone might come off as such, but whattayagonnado?

I'm learning to embrace my inner crotchety curmudgeon!

Ivory Dome said...

(Snickers) even our fathers were rapping and then they call us omo Yo!

Anonymous said...

Nigerian Hip hop artist are now doing great, to meet some of them, check this website out.

BeninBoy said...

Extremely commendable compilation (As Usual)! But there was one group you left out. They were the only other 'real' rap group apart from sound on sound to have released a full fleged rap album ('87). Probably didn't gain much popularity outside lagos (for obvious reasons). Anyone remember THE FURIOUS TWO ?

Uchenna said...

Man... I can't believe I forgot the Furious Two!

Anonymous said...

Hello, sorry for offtopic.

Do you happen by any chance to have some information on William Onyeabor beyond ?

I'm very interested in his music and have MP3 vinyl rips of his first two albums "Atomic Bomb" and "Tomorrow". Also I'd like to know if he was popular in Nigeria at that time, was his music viewed as experimantal or groundbreaking? What do YOU think of his music? Did it age well in your opinion? Would you still call it innovative for that time?

Also if you have some of his later albums (as far as I know they never were issued on CDs) and some free time on your hands I would be very grateful to download a vinyl rip. If you need his first two albums don't hesitate asking me — I will upload them for you in quite a good quality.

Thank you for your very interesting and informative blog!
Sergey from Russia.

Seal67 said...

Hey Comb, where are you man? Two months off is not acceptable, you've changed lives, saved marriages and given global hope, you have no right to like...just disappear, come back superman we need you.

Nuff respect just passing by to pay long overdue respects!

N.I.M.M.O said...

I was going to ask about Furious Two but I can see the question had been asked.

I think they were the FIRST - the very first - Nigerian person, group or duo to release a full rap album.

They were a duo from around Ketu area of Lagos and I remember the Lagos Television (LTV) gave them a whole lot of airplay. Their rapping with very heavy Yoruba accents was staple comedy for us then.

We were in secondary school and much as we used to laugh at their efforts, we really admired their courage.

I will really want to know where those guys are now.

Joe Asikpo said...

What about the guy that was called Segun Robert that had a rap song about the time Dizzy K came out and also boys like Emphasis and Junior and pretty that made impact before this present Hip Hop generation

Mawuse said...

Ok, for serious, I'm gonna need you to keep blogging again.