By Kola Muhammed
In what appeared to be a fit of rage, Mavin act, Divine Ikubor, popularly known as Rema, had some hard knocks for stakeholders in the music industry on issues ranging from his personal life to career.
Taking to Twitter around midday on Monday, the Edo-born singer started by saying:
“Niggas don’t wanna see a kid win, they feel I got it too easy…”
He further lamented how he is perceived as “proud” or “rude” because he doesn’t smile to jokes.
In a similar manner, 2019 TFAA Music Prize winner and Grammy nominee, Burna Boy, some months ago also took to social media to express that he never had help on his way to the top. Through the lyrics of his songs, he expressed that some of his colleagues were happy he missed out on the Grammy gong.
These allegations are few among the lot which go up either on social media walls or into lyrical content. They hint at a pervading trend of bitterness among artistes who may not be indeed happy about the successes of one another.
It is therefore commonplace to see artistes have face off every time. MI and Vector easily come to mind while Davido is believed to have hurled ‘FEM’ at Odogwu. The list is an inexhaustible one.
For the rising generation of superstars that Rema belongs to, such trend appears to have found footing among them. And if it is coming from the older generation, bequeathing such legacy should be frowned at as an ugly legacy to bequeath.
Dear new generation artists, let’s be friends genuinely, don’t let this people forcefully make us friends just to prove healthy competition and make us enemies for their own entertainment. I swear I love y’all.
— REMA (@heisrema) September 28, 2020
Music analysts and culture experts believe that competition and rivalry makes the industry interesting and fans agog. This view, according to Rema, is instigated by label bosses and shot callers who make them “enemies for their own entertainment.”
While fans may indeed enjoy the thrill from diss tracks, attacks and counter-attacks, animosity among artistes crumble the united front needed to sustain Black agitation and cementing the genre of Afrobeats on the global stage.
Appreciating former US president, Barack Obama who included ‘Ironman’ song in his 2019 summer playlist is a shade from Rema that people who know his value are not in his industry nor his country.
Thank you OBAMA for seeing what I saw in Ironman, lot of niggas couldn’t. I was 18 when I made that song, the beat got 6 sounds. I’ll give that simple beat to half the game and I won’t get a record as strong as IRONMAN.
— REMA (@heisrema) September 28, 2020
He added: “Niggas label my music rubbish because I infuse my Edo language. Because I didn’t follow the usual guidelines to music, because I hacked Afrobeats with God given melodies…”
While the reason for the rage is yet to be disclosed by the singer, it is obvious that he had been bottling up the resentments for quite some time.
On the other hand, speculations on social media hint of a possible rebranding for the 20-year old singer. Rema, according to some, is still being perceived as a kid whose decisions are being made for, rather than an adult who has a say on his brand and style.
The ‘Dumebi’ crooner already passed his teen years since May this year, and opinions are that would be a good time to shed the alleged perception.
Rebranding or not, these are issues to be raised by music practitioners and stakeholders, from singers, producers, promoters to label bosses and fans.
Burna Boy tweeted to show support for the singer and that he agrees with his outburst. The silence of majority of their colleagues may as well be interpreted not in disagreement.
It’s not too often (probably never) that an artist from Nigeria says something so real that a nigga like me can relate to. You are one of the last of a dying breed. Don’t ever let them break you or change you. https://t.co/vvRnpC12if
— Burna Boy (@burnaboy) September 28, 2020
Despite the positives in the increased global attention for Nigerian music industry and Afrobeats in general, these ugly sides should not be swept under the carpet. Rather, the conversation is one which should continue.