Monday, May 17, 2010


I had this conversation with Timaya a few days after DaGrin’s death.

Timaya: See as everybody no happy say DaGrin die and even all of una wey be pressmen follow dey vex say DaGrin die. I no know say una like us like this o! (He laughs).
Me: You been expect say we go happy?

Timaya: I know say una for happy if to say na me die.

Me: Why you go talk like that?

Timaya: With all the things wey una dey write about me una no go happy say make I die?

That got me thinking. Why would Timaya think such? Is there anybody that would take pleasure in the death of a fellow human being? And would any music reporter in Nigeria be happy that any of the musicians in the country at the moment, who have successfully evolved this genre of entertainment into a lucrative and respectable business venture, exit abruptly without completing his or her part in the industry? Who would be happy that a young man in his prime should die so suddenly and whose fault is it that Timaya should think like this?
One of the universal truths of journalism is that every paper or magazine is out to sell or promote a cause and if you won’t help in doing these, they won’t write about you. Timaya had earlier portrayed the image of a careless, carefree, no-respecter-of-persons kind of guy when he successfully entered the Nigerian music industry. He only spoke his mind or whatever he found in it and gave anyone that came close a dose of his conceited self. So while his music attracted him fans, his person repulsed them as he confused his lyrical militant persona with his person.
But would you blame him? Just checkout his background: He is one of the numerous children in a poor family from a highly wronged zone of the country; had very limited education and suddenly coming into instant wealth and fame. Who was there to control and direct him? He had everything he wanted and could do as he liked but he survived. He survived that dangerous period of initial wealth and fame and even when he is not on top of the music chain, he is still a very relevant Nigerian musician and has the chance of always reclaiming top spot depending on his subsequent musical outputs.
That being a given, we go back to DaGrin. Frenzy (Emmanuel Okafor), the producer of his now much talked about track, “If I Die,” took it further when he said that: “Most of us (musicians) are from the streets and our talents come from there. We are not all from well organized homes and if you take away the street in us, you also kill the talent. The white man knows this that’s why when he gets talented footballers from this part of the world, they watch over them carefully. We mostly don’t have that system here.” He went on to blame DaGrin’s management for not looking after him very well.
DaGrin was from the streets. You could hear this in his songs and his beautiful video for his single, “Pon Pon Pon,” and his life also reflected this. He is one of nine children. His father is a music records retailer and equipment hirer. His mother is a petty trader. He quit education after secondary school and everyone knows that the computer school is largely a skill acquisition centre rather that a formal school. He has struggled in the industry releasing his debut album, STILL ON THE MATTER, in 2006 without any commercial success but he stayed the course and when people termed him local, he stayed focused and now that his name is spreading like staphylococcus; just as his first whiff of success blew, he was whipped away by it. Who in this world would be happy at that?
Others had survived. 2face survived. When they weren’t shooting or robbing him, he was busy getting people’s daughters pregnant and today he has five children and counting. But he has survived. He is still there today and we happily call him 2baba and are expectantly waiting for his next album. Wande Coal survived it. In 2008, when the folks at the Hip Hop World Awards gave him a car, he immediately went on rampage and almost killed himself. But for the grace of God we would have been left without a young man of his unique vocal talent. Today, his management never lets him out of their sight and no matter what he smokes or drinks or who he sleeps with; we still have him with us and are eagerly awaiting his next album. Durella was literally placed under house arrest by TC Records, his parent record label, because immediately after he won the $50, 000 at the MTV Base/ Zain Advance Warning in 2006, he went haywire. He began “Shayoing” everywhere according to his hit track “Shayo” until his management recognized the dangers and placed an outing embargo on him. He now drinks at home and is almost ready with his next album. Terry G the Intellectual Madman was also a big case. He was at the club every weekend and enmeshed in one controversy or the other (he is still in most of them) when he first saw money. But he has survived and we are happily writing him into maturity and he will one day be a very strong reference point in the development of contemporary Nigerian musical sounds. We don’t really want to go far back, but while Majek Fashek is now a ghost of his “Rainmaking” self, he is still alive and still bears his name.
This is DaGrin’s turn to shine. The streets, the majority shareholders of the Nigerian musical Stock
 Market are feeling him. His language was low but epic and his rhyme scheme in Yoruba would standout in any language of the world. He has just joined the A-List of Nigerian musicians. No big show takes place in the country now without his name among the headliners. But his stay was very short, hence the amount of grief at his death.
The music reporter in this era would feel no little grief in losing such a talent a DaGrin’s. This is a period when the music bug has bitten all (both young and old) and we are at crossroads trying to sift the wheat from the chaff among the rough music mass presented us in Nigeria. There are so many musical nonentities on the scene that we should have no business writing about so when we lose a genuine musical subject, we are sad. We grieve because we have lost someone we would rather write about than so many other pretenders scattered all over the Nigerian musical terrain.
As mentioned earlier, all publications are out to sell or attract readers and customers. To this we write about people that other people would love to read about and when you only portray yourself in the negative light while in the public eye, we have no other choice than to embellish and make you juicier to our readers. If you are in the public eye and carry yourself honourably, we shall promote you but if you make a fool of yourself, we shall only present you in more attractive motley.
POSTSCRIPT: As music has become a respectable and lucrative profession in Nigeria, our music stars should control themselves. If not, you will only have a big black carnival escort you home and in the process, give we music and entertainment reporters sleepless nights as against a lifetime of wealth, fame and popularity. We are not happy when a good musician dies or sends away his wife and young son anytime near the weekend because by then, we would have submitted all our columns and stories and on our way to a weekend of fun only for our various editors to call us back to the office to write a befitting farewell to your marriage or musical careers. All those managing a musician should look to them and those who don’t have managers should go find one. Every musician should be careful about what he or she does and should always take their fans and the reporters who write about them into consideration in whatever they do.

1 comment:

  1. what the hell is this about ??????????DEATH!!!!!!!! R.I.P DAGRIN


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