Okay, so, here we go. Finally found the time and most especially the guts to put this piece together. I know I will get a lot of sticks for doing this. I know Marlians will come at me and tear me to shreds. I know. But somebody has got to do this.
At some point, someone had to stand up and call a spade what it is – a spade!
First, let me begin by saying I have nothing against Naira Marley. He’s an exciting entertainer. He provides something quite fresh. He is educated. He is, in a way, original. My only problem with him is the content of his originality.
The substance of his music gives me, and I’m sure I speak for thousands of others, cause for concern.
I have watched the frenzy Naira creates whenever he steps out on stage. The excitement, the madness that erupts from the audience, usually the youth, can sometimes be confounding. They love this guy like crazy.
Naira Marley, whose real name is Azeez Fashola, has become some sort of demi-god that the young ones, who prefer to be called Marlians, now look up to.
They now walk like him, they dress like him, wearing their trousers without belt, and of course, they are learning to smoke high volume of weed like him (God help us!).
To them, Naira, a.k.a. Igbolabi, is the ultimate musician, the one they believe will go on to become a legend and dust the legacies of some of Naija’s biggest music greats.
Sorry to burst your bubble guys, your Naira Marley will never attain that height. Not because I say so, but because he simply lacks the credentials to be mentioned in the same breath as any Naija music legend. Here are five reasons why he will not be remembered as a music legend.
1. The Naira Marley craze is nothing but a fad. And the last time I checked, all fads, as always, will certainly fade away. They always become confined to the dust bin of history. And the Naira craze will not be an exception. All the indecent soapy dance steps, all the vulgar language his lyrics are laced with, will thankfully soon fade away. That is the natural order all fads take. Because they often lack any sustainable substance that can enable them stand the test of time.
2. No artiste attains legendary status by singing lewd and vulgar lyrics. Go back in time and check to see if there’s ever been any artiste who is remembered today as a great musician because he serenaded us with gutter music. For you to be considered a great artiste, you have to deliver quality sound, fantastic lyrics that will endure and stay in our minds possibly for the rest of our days, just as we remember the music of Fela, Obey, Sunny Ade, Majek Fashek, Bob Marley, Tubaba, Psquare, etc. Naira Marley is only a master of obscene lyrics, not a master of evergreen music.
3. Believe it or not, any Naija hip-hop artiste whose songs are not openly embraced by children is only living on borrowed time. You can check out all the big names reigning now including those that reigned in the past, like the Dizzy K. Falolas,, Chris Okotie, Yvonne Maha, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, The Remedies, Psquare, Tubaba, to the new boys, Davido, Wizkid, Kizz Daniel, Tiwa Savage, Olamide,etc. These are artistes who are all hugely loved by kids who could sing every line of their songs. And their parents approved of this and would even go out of their way to buy the CDs for their kids to play. Now, lets be honest, how many descent parents would allow their kids sing the lyrics to Naira Marley songs? In fact, in some homes, dancing to Naira’s songs is prohibited. You couldn’t even dare to sing his songs. It is believe that only street kids know the lyrics to his songs. Let Naira not be deceived, undiscerning adults like Toke Makinwa and DJ Cuppy, will never approve of their kids, if they had one, to spew the nonsense that comes out of Naira’s songs.
4. In the music world, when you wear dreadlocks or you smoke weed and constantly gets in and out of police cells, you had to be only one thing – a conscious artiste. A freedom fighter. A singer who uses conscious songs, powerful lyrics, to fight the oppression of the masses and confront dictatorial governments. This is why music legends like Bob Marley, Lucky Dube, Peter Tosh, our own Majek Fashek, and the king of Afro beat, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti because their music live on inside us. But what does Naira Marley do with his own dreadlocks and weed? He goes into the studios, high as a kite and gives us gutter music that only a few undiscerning adults and hundreds of misguided youths openly associate with. All of the aforementioned music greats smoked weed for inspiration that could only take them to that realm where they could create some of the powerful hit songs with soul stirring messages that we enjoy listening to today, even decades after the singer is gone. But, abeg, tell me, what will we remember Naira Marley’s songs for? For obscenities?
5. Okay, I agree that things are pretty bad in the country right now. We’ve thrown our values and morals to the dogs. However, celebrities and public figures still owe the younger ones the responsibility to mentor them and also serve as role models. Especially these days that all the youths think about is how to make quick illegitimate money. This is why many artistes often mention Dangote, Otedola, Adenuga and sometimes Davido’s dad, Adeleke in their songs so the young ones can draw inspiration from these successful billionaires. And who does Mr. Marley use as his parameter for success? Yahoo boys!! He proudly tells us they are his friends. In a few years from now when these young ones (Marlians) grow up and mature, they will realize they should’t have taken this fad as seriously as they did. They will wisely begin to forget all of the Naira gutter lyrics and everything it represented to them…