Social Political Rap in Nigeria

‘Jaga Jaga’, which was released in 2004, tackles the various socio-political problems in Nigeria like social inequalities, and bad government and expresses it as a chaotic country. It uses Pidgin English, a language commonly spoken by lower income populations, to convey its political message to the masses. It is a protest song as it speaks against the problems and constructs a reality that they want the viewers to take into consideration and form their own meanings from it. This song talks about the state of the country and informs as well as stresses on societal problems like armed robbery, death of people, unlawful detention of citizens. This song was to criticise the president at the time, Obasanjo and his cabinet in 2004. He was largely criticised for the song due to the meanings it propagated and the effects it left with people.

Modenine released ‘Politics and lies’ in 2007 and this song picked up the feelings and sentiments embodied by the government at the time. He talked about the reasons for apathy in the society and where they originated from. It explained how Nigerians have learnt to adapt to their situation because they find themselves in a helpless situation. It penetrated the problems that were happening at the time, the plane crashes, the fuel scarcity, the continuing class inequalities, and he expressed the feelings of Nigerians, directed to the government.

‘My head, My belle’ by M.I was released in 2010 and it explained the scattered state of the country as one that was full and overrun with police bribery and corruption, government deception, etc. It was a song that was directed towards the government, hence a protest song; but as well to appeal to the masses and explain their problems. It explained the hunger that people in the country were experiencing and was a continual cry to the government that had completely abandoned the state and its people for their own personal benefits.

Falz released the song ‘This is Nigeria’ as a follow up to Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America’. Alongside its video, it carried a lot of metaphors, connotations and expressed in graphic means the state of the country in 2018. The lack of ethnic progress, disunity, the skills that people had had to adapt from having lived in a failed state like internet scamming. It was a direct message not only to the government but as well exposing the government and showing the world the true state of the country.

In 2009, elDee released the song ‘One day’ and this was in an effort to explain his dream and hope for the failed state of Nigeria. He talked about the state of education and the need for basic amenities in the country. This song comes across as both a combat and protest song as it not only expresses the sentiments of people but pushes people to fight for their rights and to push out the government that has denied them their basic rights.

This alignment of the songs was essential as it conveyed the sentiments and feelings the masses had of the need for socio-political change in the country. It starts from Eedris explaining the state of the country and the same sentiments passed on my modenine. M.I gives the bigger picture and continuation of the crises happening. Falz exposes the country and wants an international audience to see the reality of the country and the last song ‘One day’ was an essential one because in all of this we can understand that we want a better country, a better Nigeria. elDee proves the love these rappers have for their country, that in the midst of despair, they will still talk about the problems in an effort for something to change in the country and will use their voices to help the people who are of a different social class to be able to gain a better and equal life in society through criticism of the government and its policies.

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