There are things today we were never used to, and whether we like it or not, they seems to become parts of our daily call, some are the messages we listen to in the name of music, lyrics and lyricists, gone be the eras of those who don’t sing unless there’s message in the music, who don’t prophesies unless there’s warning in the lyrics, but today, we are yet to understand the true meaning of today’s songs even though we know quite well, there is no more message in their heavy kitted studios.
When we pierce into todays’ musical realm, you might not feel so dissapointed about the turn of events and the wide changes that has engulf the “Noise Industry” as I term it now, why? Because everyone is entitled to what they say or do, likewise what they hear…
You walk through some the greenfield of Nigeria music industry, during those early 70s down to the early 90s, one begins to wonder what happened to the organ grinder of ayonders, but quite alright nothing really, its just some shift in focus, the whilrwind of refuse has crept into the moral industry of the Nigeria lyrics provider, therefore for some of us, we find it hard to turn oblivion of the things we enjoyed, importantly the songs that raised us.
There were elegies, dirges, ballads, humourous and inspirational tunes, used to fine tune, the moral decadence now absence in today’s arena.
If you ever listen to “Owuro Lojo”
Lyrics such as:-
Ojumo ti mo, ara mi e gbe’ra n’ile, ise ti ya
Ojumo ti mo, ore mi e gbon’ra jigi ka tun’ra mu
Oni’se owo, alakowe, gbogbo eni to nwa’se, omo’lewe o
Owuro l’ojo, eni ma r’ire o, eni ma r’ire o
Won a se’ba owuro o
Good morning, I greet you, how do you do?
Good morning, I greet you, we’ve got some work to do
Good morning, I greet you, how was your night?
Good morning, I greet you, it will be a beautiful day
If you do your work with honesty and pride
You will find your dreams coming true very soon
If we could be patient and live within the law
There would be much progress
Everyone would be happy…
Your understanding of the deeper meaning of that is more like the undiluted concepts of our heritage, when the roads were not yet really thorny, Beautiful Nubia usually has this words that expose mans voice in general terms, the poor the rich, the lazy, the needing motivation for some chores amongst our so many daily and endless tasks.
Therefore I am indebted to one of the very most blessed one, which luckily for me, I happen to be born during his hey days, The Beautiful Nubia, those songs where what raised people like us, his songs to be precised, changing the narratives of how I see and live life.
In contrast to today’s lyrics, which lacks all forms of moral decadence, any kind of positive reinforcement, or some forms of rewards when you do what the lyrics today says, you probably. Would ask the same question with me, what has happened to our heritage, does that mean the beautiful ones are leaving one by one, or rather they are getting old, and mopped to ashes by the singers of falsehood.songs which depict either how to get rich quickly without labour, that shows to us the naked parts of our home makers, and they receive merchandise even more than the positive tones that raised us.- Tragic
Like he would say, who made the earth shed tears of sorrows, only this time its the sorrow of civilising the music industry, and even though it is okay to say, there never would be some like Eni obanke, which not necessarily needed, at least shall we put some sanity into the walkmans of today, there were legends like Orlando Owoh, King Sunny Ade, and hip-hop reigning today there were still legends who’s lyrics help shape the African child.
It would have make much sense if we can compare the best selling music’s of today in the Nigeria hip hop industry, with any of Nubia trends, I did bet there seems to be non worthy of comparison, it would be unwise to pick any songs but I could challenge you to select any out there, to one of my favourites,
In my journey through the world, over land and over sea
I see different cultures and different people’s ways
I was born where the sun never sets and never rises
I was born where the heat is like a second skin
Children crying on the streets, automobiles making noise
The land is growing dry and weak, spirits dying low
The forefathers are calling me: never tire, never weaken
The pride in me is bursting loose – I’m an African boy.
On the farm my father called me down behind a tree
He said prostrate at my feet and say a few prayers
Then he told me all the stories of my brave ancestors,
“Look into my eyes son, you were born to be great”
So in the twilight I went home behind my father with a hoe
Listening to the songs of birds, whispers of the night
Singing: seven goats, seven beads,
Seven cowries, seven nuts,
Seven lifes that’s what I’ve got, I’m an African boy
Over sea, over land, over mountains and in the wild
I’ll be brave and I’ll be strong, I’m an African boy.
You probably would find non, more tragically, while beautiful Nubia currently charge token of about #3000 just to pass inflow the songs of positive reinforcement, which ultimately would elicit some form of conditioned response, in positive manner, today’s youths and opposing counterparts charge beyond your monthly income in some cases, just to make you feel negative vybes, conditioning some form of negative feedback, and yet they trend and make headlines much more than some national broadcast. I ask What hit us.
Born and raised to the original name, Segun Akinolu In 1968, Ibadan, perhaps one philosophy we both share is passing across messages through poetry, a bit oral than what I am growing up to become. A born songwriter who started writing songs at the tender age of nine, and that’s usually tradmark of people who discover thier talent or rather who are really born to do it, not just some who in order to make ends meet, turn inward to pass wrong messages inform of songs, those are songs that seems to be raising the computer age children, and even the music industry isn’t doing anything about it. Even more unfortunate.
Been a veterinary by education from the prestigious university of Ibadan, as a lover of folklore, he wen ahead to from the root renaissance, and also as a bandleader and music writer, the Eni o banke (1997) came into been, which still lives till current time, it so estimated that more than a million Nigeria listen every morning to the inspiration music, Owuro Lojo, from the 2002 album of Jangbalajugbu, I will call that legendary, much more than any I listen to, in the current trends we are now becoming used to.
Once asked by Wole Adejumo how he came about the name “Beautiful Nubia” his reply was a narrative, someone truly willing to be heard, “I gave myself that stage name in 1997 just before releasing my first album ‘Seven Lifes’. The first part describes a state of spiritual perfection I thought I should seek, a beautiful spirit, one that is beyond hate, greed and selfishness. Imagine someone who can see beyond face and faith, beyond gender and colour, who sees every human as deserving of one’s total love and service. That is the kind of person I wanted to be. I want to be beautiful and pure inside out, this was a quest I set out on early in life – every new day is a challenge to see how I can become a better and improved person. I am still on that path. The second part, Nubia, is the name of a nation of African people who basically led the world about 2750 years ago. They were people like us in complexion and they laid the foundation of modern scientific and social advancements. I chose that name to remind Nigerian and African youth that people from our part of the world have not always been slaves, colonized peoples, technologically backward or second-class citizens of the world. We were once the leaders of the world in science, philosophy, social organization and the arts, and if we can learn to love ourselves, give selfless sacrifice and invest in the health and wealth of those coming after us, we can attain those heights again”
His songs maybe classless, they may belong to no particular group under today’s shades, but then truth and most importantly is the message which today’s music completely lacks, they have no roots, and they don’t have any positive drive in them, its usually a matter of choice anyway, but if also we must contribute our quota to a decaying system, the type of message we listen to daily would go far in shaping our frame of mind. Beautiful Nubia stands for that, I really do hope we return back to the basis, and even in the music industries.
This songs raised us, but unfortunately, we need to start a filtering war against demoralising songs, using roots as truly where we belong.
Kareem Itunu Azeez writes from Lagos State University
Twitter at Itunumi Solace