Stealing spells the end of an era for Nigerian artistes
By Oboh Aghonkhese
That last part of Michael Jackson’s Starting Something that sounds like the combined utterances of a Pentecostal prayer warrior and a Woli of the Cele extraction was “stolen.” So also were materials from Marvin Gaye’s works for Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. In these two instances, reparations were made when the owner of the stolen goods cried out. There must be many more examples out there. Here in Nigeria, a rash of such accusations have become as common as news of individuals executing disappearing acts on billions of Naira (although no one has told me were EFCC was when such acts as they are now revealing were happening live). The situation is not helped by an obvious avoidance of court action by the accusers.
The latest is Blackfaze, again, accusing 2Face of song theft. We have heard of Olamide strolling out of D’banj’s studio with a stolen line that is not even creative. Same Olamide was accused of stealing the Shakiti bobo dance: a move that is just an expansion of an everyday party steps. And Durella, the self-acclaimed King of Zanga, even alleged that D’banj’s captivating swag and stage presence were originally his. Ha! Remember the Mo’hits crew? Their hands movements was refined by Olu Maintain into the Yahooze dance: ask D’banj. Wizkid has not been left out of the stealing band. His Ojuelegba was allegedly stolen from… who? Blackface! In all these, both the accusers and the accusees give the impression that their creative abilities are limited or was never there. Why shout now and expect us not to link it with you forthcoming album launch?
Far be it from me to support plagiarism. One of the core courses I took at Lagos State University, LASU, was solely on proper referencing. No matter how brilliant your piece is, you will have to be another Jesus to have original answers to every question. They told us of mighty men brought down by plagiarism. A minister (not in Nigeria o) have had to resign over this. (Google it. No space here. Also check up Martin Luther King Jnr. on this)
So, yes, in music there have been cases of “theft,” but with credit to whom it is due. Whereas in other climes, such theft as in the MJ and Thicke’s cases, is pointed out with the purpose of getting credit and benefit for the original property owners in accordance with the relevant laws, in Naija it seems the accusers just want publicity and/or they have gone dormant in the creative department.
Although we do not know it yet, we are witnesses to the end of creativity in an era.
You only hear these kind of wash-rotten-linen-in-public fights with thiefers and the thiefees that are gradually “dying.” Ara redid Olomi, featuring 2face. When she went to Baba to confess, he already had the song in his I-pad. He just prayed for her. Again, if a genius touches your song, you would be happy. Just imagine Asa rendering a soul version of Kolomental in that smokey voice with her dreads taking on their own lives. Faze would be a fool in geometric proportions not to beg her for a duet.
If you want publicity, put more into your work and stop pushing down gullible Nigerians’ throats a 12-tracker of songs that will be replaced in our earphones by another set of rubbish after one month. Meanwhile, any time we hear Guitar boy… or Sweet Mother… or Omo pupa o…, we cry for our beloved moneybags-CD-in-the-back-pocket-today-singers— DJ, track 6!
Please, Beautiful Nubia’s What a Feeling on replay jare.
Credit: Mr. Agbonkhese blogs at Oboh’s Lens