Every Nigerian generation needs a villain. A scapegoat to point the finger at and call all sorts of names. A bad person to blame all the bad music and bad influence of the youths on.
Here are Nigeria's most lovable pop music villains
Pulse Music looks through the list of villains that we have had in Nigeria, and why they have been so lovable.
In the ’80s it was Fela and his “protest” music, weed and womanising revolution. The ’00s briefly belonged to 2face Idibia, whose babymama drama was the toast of town and inspired both love and vitriol. And in 2016, well, who is our 2016 villain?
We have morphed into a music industry where everyone needs to be liked to sell out shows and make money from brands. Many artistes who are maverick on the inside, are unable to express themselves properly because of how it hurts their brands, and ultimately affects their power to generate income.
But we need a villain to hate. Nigeria needs to point fingers and say ‘That’s one big bad dude’. We need someone to love to hate.
In the past Nigeria has been blessed (yes, villains are a blessing to spice up the industry) with a good number of these characters. But we have come short.
We can try to point to the moment where everything changed in Nigerian music – for worse, but the marker for what ruined us, and gave us a taste of nonsense, is Terry G’s mega hit song, ‘Free madness’.
Nigeria went wild. We embraced the singer, and his senseless music. This was an acquired taste. We had seen a song that required no level of intelligence to understand, and we jumped for it. The scales were tipped in favour of that tempo, the radios gave it numerous spins, videos were rotated on air, and like all trends, and the music makers jumped on that bandwagon.
It isn’t Terry’s music that has made him out to join this elite list of transgressors. It’s his eccentric quality. Terry G’s branding has him looking like a villain with no actual dastardly credentials. But he earned some good villainy points when he attacked DJ Jimmy Jatt’s protégé at a concert earlier this year. Not enough, but he sure got into the books.
The Port Harcourt-bred artiste who is regarded as one of Nigeria’s underrated consistent hit makers hasn’t always been all fashionable outfits and dancehall. Once upon a time, he had more similarities with Terry G, than Darey Art Alade. Spotting dreadlocks and a menacing demeanour, he pranced around the country giving off good music, spiced with a bit of threats.
But it all came together in one incident in 2009, which still lingers as one of his worst career lows. Timaya is darkly famous for attempting to forcibly collect the keys to an SUV he bought for his ex-lover, actress Empress Njamah, at a church in FESTAC - Praise Resurrection Ministries aka Jehovah Sharp Sharp church. Timaya, had a rough taste of love turned sour, when he was manhandled, handcuffed and subsequently detained by the FESTAC police for conducting himself in a manner likely to breach public peace.
Over the years Timaya had ‘sold out’, dropped his villainy, and now preaches peace and all things fly.
Wizkid is the closest we have to an industry villain right now. The star singer is currently famous as the biggest act on the African continent, and in 2016, he is pushing the music to other markets, with the aim of truly crossing over.
But back home, he has long history of doing whatever the hell he wants and to whomever he chooses to. Wizkid hardly ever goes in search of trouble, publicly. He only reacts faster and bigger than his aggressors. He owned Linda Ikeji during their beef, physically assaulted Dammy Krane, played nice when Skales stepped to him, but held his own in a cold, and silent war with Davido.
He did all of these while dropping numerous hit songs and raising his profile on the continent. How ingenuous.
Wizkid’s arch-rival, Davido’s very existence is tied with villainy, although of a very good-natured brand. How many times has there been muffled reports of a beef with his cousins B-Red and Sina Rambo? Countless.
Davido in 2016 humorously wore the toga against Dele Momodu, infusing him into two different songs, and stepping up to his baby Mama with a well-crafted response to every accusation.
When he signed up new acts to his record label, he attacked B-Red for voicing his dissent. As a response to Facts Only With Osagie Alonge, he was very robust on Twitter, and took shots at just about everyone.
Davido loves to fight back, and he does it very well. That’s villain material, 90 yards.
If anyone deserves to be the lead villain of Nigerian pop culture, then Burna Boy is a shoo-in for the position. Trouble and Burna Boy are one, and they go everywhere together.
Burna’s list of controversy is as long as any paper on which it is written on, taking the front seat sometimes and overshadowing his music. He has been accused of disowning a pregnancy, assault, clashes with producers, threatening to kill bloggers and many more. He even sacked his mother once upon a time.
All villains need to fire their mother at some point in their lives. Period. Burna Boy has done it, and he sits at the top of the list.
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