The new year has just started with two of the biggest music crews at the moment in Nigeria at loggerheads. Just some hours ago, the Headies for year 2015 was finally held having generated crazy buzz with its nominees list since September 2015. By now dear reader, I’m sure you’re very much aware of the drama that ensued between Olamide, YBNL boss and Don Jazzy, CEO of Mavin Records during the award. To set a tone for my take on the issue, let me quickly recap how the quarrel unfolded.
The 2016 Headies came with its usual thrills and frills until things suddenly got heated up when Olamide, YBNL boss questioned the choice of Reekado Bankz’ as the Next Rated artist rather than Lil Kesh, his much loved “mini-me”. He claimed that Kesh recorded hits all year round and should have won the coveted Next Rated Award (comes with a brand new Hyundai gift). He then yelled “Ko ni da fun Iya anybody” and stormed off the stage with his crew. His attack was aimed at the Headies no doubt, though disrespectful to the recipient of the award.
Don Jazzy, Mavin Boss, who must have deemed it necessary to react to the disrespect inflicted on Banks, responded promptly while receiving his Special Recognition Award. He revealed his plan of buying a car for Korede Bello and Banks and said to Olamide, “Egbon Olamide, if you want the car, come and collect it, God Bless you.” Apparently, “the car” he referred to was the Hyundai Car gift. This did not go down well with Olamide as he took to Twitter to rain invectives on Don Jazzy.
The rift apart, I’m of the opinion that the Next Rated category for 2015 was actually quite competitive and everyone nominated deserved it, depending on how you wish to look at it. Korede had the biggest hit out of all five. Everyone, from pastors, alfas, young and old to junkies, ajebutters and pakos, loved ‘Godwin’. You can’t imagine the length my father goes to analyze its lyrics and the brightness on the faces of toddlers whenever the song is played. Cynthia Morgan is no pushover as well because her ‘German Juice’ was a massive hit. ‘Simati Niya’ showed evidence of her versatility and her crown as the reigning queen of dancehall is undisputed. Somewhere, somehow I’m sure she must have felt entitled to that award even though other competitors seemed better loved by music lovers in the country.
Well, like Olamide argued, Lil Kesh had back to back hits last year even though he actually had to fashion a lewd but unique style. Is ‘Shoki’, ‘Gbese’ or ‘E fe Joku’ that you want to talk about? Or is it the more recent ‘Is It Because I Love You’ or the part he played in DJ Jimmy Jatt’s ‘Dayan Mo’? He definitely must feel he deserved winning the award as reward for his hard work. But “Egbon” Olamide did the talking for him instead.
Reeky nevertheless won the award, got the brand new car and looked like starting the year with the perfect motivation. He did quite well too last year, shining with ‘Katapolt’, that perfectly composed and rendered song. His talent is undisputed and aside Tiwa Savage, he appears to be his label’s hottest act. He also had a couple of singles that enjoyed positive reception from radio to clubs. He might not be a perfect replacement for Wande Coal. His game would however garner hits for Mavin Records in the next few years. Don Jazzy must feel like a lucky boss.
I think it is Kiss Daniel who must have felt hard done by out of all four “losers”. His ‘Woju’ was big all the way from 2014 through 2015 and the remix which features Davido and Tiwa Savage did well too. His ‘Laye’ proved that ‘Woju’ wasn’t a fluke. Also, you can’t but feel his performance on ‘Raba’, a well-rendered hit song with his label mates. If I was asked to make a pick, I might have gone for Kiss Daniel but that’s the thing about awards in Nigeria. Maybe the selection of nominees in each category was critical, picking of winners is often not. Moreover, the Next Rated artiste is reportedly voted for by the fans.
That’s where Olamide got it wrong and displayed his lack of depth as an individual. Sometimes you listen to some of his lyrics and go “damn, that’s deep.” But you also wonder if he could exhibit such depth in his day-to-day life. His outrage at the organizers of the Headies Award proved otherwise. Likewise, the length he went on Twitter to call out Don Jazzy was quite far-fetched. As a rapper, he has the option of going in the booth to do a dis track or something. You know, let his outrage out about the situation like real rappers do. I’ve found hip-hop to be an avenue to treat issues, vent out one’s frustration about the industry and exhibit the realness that the genre is all about. I believe Olamide’s actions at the Headies against the fact that millions of young chaps out there see him as a role model was shitty. He was disrespectful to his colleagues in the industry, the guests at the show and more importantly music lovers in the country. He should therefore 1. Apologize 2. Prepare to work harder in the coming months as a lot of people would stop taking him seriously.
As for Don Jazzy, in as much as I understand his urge to speak for his employee (which was quite noble), his one liner was indeed childish. It simply betrays the humble and dignified mien he carries all about like an invisible backpack. Letting Olamide’s vitriolic rant slide would have proved him a wise guy. On the other hand, it really must have been hard for him to stay mute at that moment. So far, he has not responded to Baddo’s twitter rant which makes the YBNL boss look foolish, never mind what his fans think. The longer Don Jazzy fails to react, the more foolish Olamide would seem.
That being said, the beef is bad publicity for both parties. But then, bad publicity is a good thing in the music business as it shows you are relevant. Such situation however comes with its risk: It could eventually kill your career unless you’re a musical genius. Eedris Abdulkareem is an immediate example while 50 Cent’s case is remote but still useful for reference. Olamide is a superstar only for as long as Time wishes. Don Jazzy will someday give way for another “baba agba” producer. Life after that will be sustained only by legendary status. Does either of these guys have that status yet? I leave that to you dear reader to decide. Both Lil’ Kesh and Banks have hailed each other on Twitter which is awesome but the battle line is definitely drawn between their CEOs.