Where is the home of hip hop in Nigeria? is it the North or Lagos? This is the question we have asked for a long time. I had to go out to find the answers, there was only one real place for me to look; the hip hop heads.
Without wasting time, this article is a list of responses from respected rappers and hip hop observers. Read on and find a poll at the end of the piece, you can also drop a comment to agree or disagree. As you know, this blog all about promoting the practice of hip hop in Nigeria. So follow the gist, in no particular order;
1. Boogey Odey
About: Respected Nigerian Songwriter and lyricist. Hip hop world awards nominee for lyricist on the roll.
The home of hip hop in Nigeria would be the place where it started or the place where it matured, so I genuinely don’t think there can be any such thing here at this moment.
I have read articles about the pioneers of Nigerian hip hop but they usually leave out the “where”. As for the maturity, the culture hasn’t matured in Nigeria. It is still generally viewed as an alien genre in its entirety.
The technicalities are strange concepts, the diversity is misunderstood, radio and TV play are not easy to come by, and a rapper headlining a show is as rare as Arsenal not making top four in the EPL.
Our hip hop culture has to grow and tell us where its home is. It can’t speak well enough yet and we have no idea what its identity is or where its home is.
2. Terry tha Rapman
About: Veteran rapper, founding member of the defunct Nigerian hip hop band, the Swatroots. Originator of “Boys are not smiling” Movement.
It’s between the north and South though. In Lagos, Festac town and Surulere have Nigerian hip hop history (e.g. Ruff Rugged and Raw, Def O Clan, and recently YCee.
Surulere has 2shotz, Big Lo, Ruggedman, Abounce. Trybesmen and Kshow.
Up north about the same time, we had Swatroots comprising of Six Foot plus, Modenine, Ruleclean, Overdose and myself. Pioneers in Jos like Eldee XL, Mista Baron, Black Masqueraders
But I believe the culture is stronger up north. Kaduna, Jos Abuja and Kaduna. They still do hip hop events there till date.
3. Sizzle pro
About: Professional Nigerian music producer and sound engineer
Quite interestingly, Lagos is the home of almost anything music. There are just as many dope rappers in Lagos as any other place. There are 2 things that differentiate the two regions however.
a. The fact that Lagos is home to not just Hip-hop, but other genres. And the fact that these other genres, Afro Pop to be specific, are more popular, they drown out the Hip hop culture that exists there.
b. Places like Jos, KD, and the North generally, the pressure for artistes to chase a popular genre is not as high as Lagos, thus creating a conducive atmosphere to explore the culture more extensively.
You can see evidence in the fashion, sensibilities, and the general appreciation for the culture.
But to answer your question directly, the home of hip hop in Nigeria, if we had to choose, would be the North.
About: OAP, Video host and entertainment lawyer. Most notable for Gbedu on AIT.
The North is the best breeding ground for Nigerian hip hop culture due to the heavy influence of hip hop on it media channels especially Radio.
However, Lagos is the best platform for launching the careers of hip hop acts and breaking them into the mainstream.
So i will say the North provides the home while Lagos provides the industry. Without one, there can’t be the other. Their roles are complementary
About: Christian Hip hop veteran. Public speaker and christian apologist.
Well, the north actually is the hub of hip hop and art in it’s greatest and purest form. But then, the commercialism and market projections are more viable in Lagos than any other city. There are a couple of factors responsible for this but the main ones are:
a. religious inclinations
b. Socio-cultural factors.
c. Socio-economic factors
The religious factors are obvious. The socio-cultural factors relates to the family bonds and ties to the northern culture. The use of language, dressing (as it relates to costumes, nudity etc as portrayed), value system etc.
The Socio-economic deals with the willingness to spend money on the genre and stuff. The south can spend money on that, this is something which the north is not easily inclined to.
So summarily put, Lagos has the industry. Kaduna and Jos have the raw materials.
About: Founding member of Nigerian hip hop group, Str8buttah. Music producer and hip hop enthusiast.
Interesting question. I do know for a fact that what we have in Lagos is more of a rap culture as opposed to a hip hop culture.
The North from my experience living there have more respect for the hip hop culture as a whole.
Lagos however is bigger in terms of the exposure and opportunities due to high commerce.
7. MC Skill tha Preacha
About: Underground hip hop emcee, promoter and hip hop culture enthusiast.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet and be friends with lots of cats out of Jos. I know how solid the hip hop culture is there and I’d easily have said Jos is the home of Nigeria’s hip hop Culture but now Kaduna is being used as example instead. Its tricky.
Either way, I’ll go with Kaduna. Some of the finest emcees in Nigeria’s hip hop history originated or were brought up in KD.
About: Impressive underground Nigerian hip hop artiste and writer.
The North is the home of poetry and true lyricism while Lagos houses the entire art form as whole and commercializes the culture.
According to my intuitive statistics, hip hop heads in Lagos outnumber real heads up north. Regardless of land mass.
About: Veteran hip hop emcee, founding member of the defunct KD World records
It depends on what you mean by “Nigeria’s hip hop culture” is Sugar Hill Gang hip hop? Is Kool Moe Dee hip hop? are LL Cool J and Busy Bee hip hop? Because they represented different elements of hip hop music as we know it.
I said that because the North (Kaduna, Jos and co) was and is known for a certain type of hip hop sound. A more lyric driven and message heavy type of hiphop plus delivery.
Hence why I asked is Kool Moe Dee, LL Cool J and others like them hip hop?
On the other hand the south (Lagos and co) are into a more vibe and rhythm driven plus just the feel good nature of the art form (for lack of a better way to describe it)
Also why I asked if Busy Bee is hip hop? And if Sugar Hill Gang were also hip hop? If the answer is yes! Then they are both hiphop, just doing it differently to appeal to the surroundings in which the sound is made to cater to for.
In summary, I don’t come out to claim any coast or region is more hip hop than the other, because hip hop in itself is a borrowed culture, so who are we to judge on matters concerning it. My opinion.
Lastly, the home of hip hop is where it thrives. It thrives in the north as purely an art form to showcase brilliance, lyrical prowess and overall songwriting ability.
In the south however it thrives as a business, the media propagates it to the point of it being a culture in a country today. Finally it thrives for its showmanship and the lifestyle that comes with it.
So where is home to hip hop in Nigeria? It’s all about perspective. How do u see it? Cos they are both hip hop. They just represent it differently.
OVER TO YOU
Do you agree with them, drop a comment after you place a vote