By Abisola Alawode
I’m writing this article not as a writer or journalist, but as a fan who is sad and disappointed at the current state of female rappers in our music industry.
Gone are the days when the likes of Sasha, Kel, BOUQUI, Muna and Blaise held sway at the top of the female rap food chain. The last I heard, Sasha now concentrates on her budding shoe design business- Eclectic by Sasha, and as for Blaise who hands down was the best lyricist among the lot, no one seems to know what she is up to.
Kel was more of a flash-in-the-pan rapper. After the mega success of her single Wa Wa Alright everything seemed to go downhill. Her fight with her Clarence Peters-led record label didn’t help too. She now works with Cool TV.
Muna never convinced me that she had what it takes to survive in this industry. Maybe it was her modelling background or the kind of music she put out, but she just never did it for me. And judging from the trajectory of her short lived music career, this was the general consensus amongst majority of Nigerian music lovers.
BOUQUI showed early signs of genius. Even though she focused mainly on Gospel music, she still released songs that everyone could vibe to. In recent times however, her output has dwindled. Some say her move back to the U.S may be responsible. She deserves some plaudits though because via her Unstoppable Rap Competition, she may have found in (Greatman, winner of the competition) the next star of Gospel rap.
Our current crop of ‘Femcees’ are just there. If I was to pick one that stood out, Eva Alordiah comes to mind.
Eva’s rise to the top had the makings of a fairytale. Yes, she put in the required work, but some still feel the position she enjoys now boils largely down to luck. I say it’s her understanding of how the entertainment industry works that is responsible. You see, Eva understands that the 21st century Nigerian entertainer cannot be ‘one sided’ if he or she wants to be truly successful. We now have people who we thought were just singers producing hit tracks, singers transforming into businessmen/women and singers transforming into good actors and video directors etc. In Eva’s case, the music is still a big part of her but she is also a successful makeup artist, model and writer. If you cannot recall any hit song of hers, then you must have seen her makeup work or read an article of hers. These different parts of her help keep in her in the public eye.
Another Femcee that is attempting to carve a niche for herself is Mz Kiss. The Capital Hill signed artist has jumped on the indigenous rapper train and only time would tell how far she goes.
Splash is another rapper that has some buzz around her. Despite her new deal with Mbong Amata’s Bong House record label, I’m still waiting for her to outdo her 2013 hit Church Agbasa.
Many are of the opinion that the Nigerian music industry does not favour female rappers. This is simply not true. The problem remains that most of the Femcees have refused to adapt to the realities on ground. Hardcore rap or punchline heavy songs do not get played on radio or anywhere else as much as the pop infused rap tracks. The likes of M.I, Olamide, Phyno, Vector and even Illbliss have realised this and tweaked their songs to fit the status quo. That is why they can compete and perform on any stage like their colleagues who are more grounded in the pop genre. The same thing can be said of Nicki Minaj.
So for anyone hoping to make it as a female rapper in this part of the world, it’ll do you good to know what you want and how far you are willing to go in order to get it music-wise. Forget the trappings, forget the drama, and forget the lies. Hard work, ingenuity and resilience are the only guarantee for success.