Kelly Hansome’s real name is Odikaechi Obinna and he is from Eziobodo autonomous community, Owerri-West, Imo State. (Ego Ogbaro and Emmanuel Amunike are also from there). He grew up in Owerri and attended Government College Owerri and Madonna University. He was studying Computer Science in the university before leaving to concentrate on music. He is not a dropout, he says, as he has gone back to school to complete his degree. “Call Father Ede (the owner of the school) and ask him,” he challenges.
All these are contained in a 12-minute, 52-seconds documentary entitled, THE TRUTH IS BITTER BUT NO BEEF PEOPLE, WE ARE ONE! he made of himself and posted on the internet last week. In it he also addressed the issue of his “beef” with the MO’ HITS CREW, Don Jazzy, Wande Coal and Terry G. For starters, “I am a friend of MO’ HITS. I am a fan of D’banj. I love his music. We don’t have a problem; it’s just entertainment.”
Some weeks back, he had seemingly stirred the hornet’s nest when he released a track entitled “Igwe Kom Kom” – a snide echo of D’banj’s song, “Igwe”. Kom Kom is simply an onomatopoeic description of an empty can or container, especially of beverages, and this is basically what he calls D’banj. The song starts with and extended display on the “Oja”, a small wooden, wind instruments, uniquely used to usher in royalties in Igbo land. He also employs a series of rhyming couplets to buttress his points. He rhymes “Igwe” with “Iwe” (anger in Igbo). The line goes /Ha n’ akpasu m iwe/ (They are provoking me). And after antithetically juxtaposing Man U with Arsenal, he went on to rhyme it with Malu, a ram in Yoruba. This comes from Wande Coal’s song, “Who Born the Magga?” “Magga” is rhymed with “Bagger” and there is also the analogy with his last year hit track, “Magga Don Pay.”
With these and so many other references to the works of D’banj, including the emphatic and repeated shouts of “Nwafo” (Son of the Soil), he explains that one cannot be an Igwe if he is not a “Nwafo”. The tide shifts then shifts over to Terry G in the last verse of the song. There was confusion last year when both of them released singles with identical messages and wordings. Kelly Hansome sang “Magga Don Pay” while Terry G came out with “Alleluya” and people didn’t know who copied the other. So in the present song, Kelly claims superiority when he sings that he “runs the microphone and not testing it” and repeats sounds similar to the gibberish in the latter’s song “Free Madness” which is currently the toast of clubs.
So in this video documentary of himself, Kelly Hansome explains to Don Jazzy, who obviously tutored D’banj on the “Igwe” track, hat it is not right to play with tradition- even if in entertainment. “You cannot be an Igwe if you are not a “Nwafo”. “Oji eru eru, (It is hereditary), he adds in the Owerri dialect of Igbo language. A nationwide vox pop is also carried out in the video amongst people of diverse ages and they all agreed on the fact that, “Igwe is not a title.” The case is further taken to the Council of Elders of the Eziobodo autonomous community. The redcap chiefs take pains to describe the dynamics of the “Igwe”. It is the highest rank that can be attained by a member of a community and it is hereditary. A foreigner cannot be an Igwe because it is the highest level of authority in the land and can never be given to a foreigner. They sum it up with a proverb, “Obiara abia ejila eri anya ehi”, which translates, “A foreigner cannot eat the eye of a cow.”
When asked if the song would not lead to some kind of tribal friction in the music industry, Kelly Hansome answered, “I am not causing a tribal war. If I should sing that I am an Oba, e no make sense. Oba is the same as Igwe and we should respect tradition.”
All this while, Mo’ Hits have not officially made any statements about the song. Terry G, on his part, responded that he understood that Kelly Hansome was just courting controversy and actually meant no ill. “I am Mr. Controversy myself and anybody can say anything in order to gain attention. I think that’s what Kelly is trying to do.” Notes and Tones also made efforts to contact Mo’ Hits but all efforts proved abortive as their manager, Mr. Sunday Are, was very uncooperative when contacted. But we have it on good authority that Wande Coal has already composed a retaliatory song for Kelly Hansome, what we don’t know yet is if they would release it. In the song, he took pop shots at Kelly Hansome, telling him that it is allowed for an artiste to prey on another one in order to gain recognition and that he had nothing again him since he (Wande) was making progress in his career and trivialities like the controversy Kelly is courting.
D’banj’s song, which Kelly Hansome is making so much fuss about, is more of hilarious than insulting. Igwe can be used in two contexts- as a title and a praise name. In the sense which D’banj used it, it was more of a praise name than a title as he even specified the title which was given to him, OSI NA NWATA BURU OGARANYA (Young Millionaire). It served to the utmost the musical duties to which it was deployed rather than anything else in the song.
Igbos, like Achebe said, are a people who respect and revere achievements. A great achiever and respectable member of the society can earn the sobriquet, IGWE, and he would in no way rival the King of the land. IGWE, EZE and OBI are all variations of the highest office of the land, which can be loosely translated to mean king. There is also the denotation of IGWE as “sky” or “heaven.” And even in the song, Kelly Hansome claims that he is the real IGWE, which by the definitions proffered in his documentary, he too has no claim to that rank.
Finally, on his relationship with KENNIS MUSIC, which he didn’t fully address in the documentary, a phone call to Kelly Hansome was redirected to one Nosa who claimed to be from ROLLOUT REPUBLIC, the new managers of Kelly Hansome. He told NOTES AND TONES that Kelly signed an initial two-year-one-album contract with KENNIS MUSIC which has now expired and that he is now with the management outfit based in the US and owned by Sola Adeogun. He has also formed his own record label called MAGA MEDIA and his album entitled NAMES OF NOISE MAKERS would be released on the imprint early next year.
We also reached across to KENNIS MUSIC and their spokesperson, Mr. Ndidi Godwin, told us that “What Kelly Hansome had with the label was a six-year-three album contract and so far only one album has been released. KENNIS MUSIC spent close to N20 million to bring Kelly Hansome back from Dallas, USA, to Nigeria, release an album for him, house and maintain him since then and also shoot three videos for him. So anybody that wants to sign any contract with him must first talk with KENNIS MUSIC and settle with them otherwise Kelly Hansome will never release any other album anywhere in the world.”