There are two kinds of gospel rappers in Nigeria. These two categories perform the same function but employ different means of delivering their message. Before we talk about how you can make it, let’s look at the categories;
a. The category will thrive in the church and rely majorly on support from pastors and members of house hold of worship. They have an audience and usually tailor their music to suit the needs of the religious audience in which they have found themselves.
As such they are usually very concrete in bible teachings and will be perceived as ministers of the gospel. They have a very night chance of succeeding and reaching a wide audience at any attempt.
b. This category are not comfortable in the church and promote their music outside the congregation like regular Nigeria artistes. The rappers on this category usually attempt to preach a broader sociopolitical message due to their lack of confinement. They might be perceived as conscious rappers. But they are gospel rappers since they draw their art from a core belief in the teachings of the bible.
By church, I mean church organizations and not the institution itself. As gospel rappers in Nigeria, your main goal is to preach an undiluted message in a distinct manner. To do this you need to get your music out and that requires strategy and planning.
How to make it as gospel rappers in Nigeria
But what is “Make it”? How is that defined for a christian hip hop artiste in Nigeria?. By make it, I mean gain more followership, more attention and more of everything you set out to achieve. You can define your goals yourself but lets agree that you’re still an artiste and you need people to hear your work.
Whichever type of gospel artiste in Nigeria you want to be, you should know that there is no point making music if no one is listening. So how do you make it as a gospel rappers in Nigeria? Here are a few things you should take note of in your journey to recognition and relevance;
1. Make relatable music and target the youth
Let’s face it, the people in the church on Sundays are the same people in the clubs on Friday nights. So what’s different and why are they not so crazy about gospel music? I think its because of two things; the first is that they have a poor orientation about gospel music. The second is that the gospel music they get is basically the same with what they’ve always gotten.
There is room for creativity and you have to explore it. You might be scared of straying out of the confines of your Church’s limit. But if you truly want to hit a harder point and stamp your image, you have to write more youth oriented verses.
Now its time to talk about relationships, love, politics, sex, family, career and other themes. The youth are your vehicle and its a waste of effort if you can’t get to them. We already have enough of the “God bless me, God give me money” gospel rappers in Nigeria. Let’s say something new and break the stereotype.
2. Differentiate your brand and approach
There are too many gospel artistes in Nigeria that look and feel just the same. Your songs don’t impress anyone if it can’t provoke an emotion. You do not get a replay as an artiste when you’re just a clone of another guy.
So from your stage name and chosen genre, you must stand clear of the crowd. It doesn’t help if your stage name is Rapsodi and there’s another guy named Rapsody and another guy named Rapsodee. Your name must not be a word that sounds deep and spiritual. Its not by force that it comes from the bible. For example, I’m OG Adoga and I don’t think you can ever mistake that for any other name. Those are my initials and my Idoma sure name combined.
Your art also has to hit a nerve. You can do yourself a whole lot of good if you can switch up the style of your music to something more exiting. We know you’re preaching the word but the listeners are people and not spirits so impress them.
Underground gospel rappers in Nigeria like V Blaise, Nolly and LC Beatz are the fastest rising rappers in this genre. Why? They rap in Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba respectively, that’s something exciting isn’t it.
3. Work with a church
The easiest way for gospel rappers in Nigeria to get their music out right now is via an already followed niche platform. The church readily provides this opportunity.
Secular artistes find the sane opportunity at parties and clubs where they can perform over and over till they gain recognition.
The task at hand now is to find a way to express your creativity while keeping from violating the limits of that church. For example some churches may not endorse their ministers to perform at secular events.
This is a church policy which you have to respect as long as you rely on their for a platform. It doesn’t mean they are right. You want to argue that Jesus would have preached at a secular event rather than at a temple. But rules are rules.
You might get a lot of invites from outside but your primary aim now is to build a strong following from that church. Once you’re able to establish yourself as a name to reckon, you can now begin to venture off into reaching a different audience.
What do you think?