I sit here listening to one of his records ‘Rhyme tight’ ,a smooth Hip Hop piece with samples from New York rapper Biggie smalls’s ‘Juicy’ record off his Da Vinci Mode Album released in 2010.Reminiscent thoughts run through my mind as i recall the first time I listened to the album whilst nodding in appreciation of its quality.
*sigh* Where do i start from?, is it from the total misinterpretation of this talented UK born Nigerian rap artiste as tabled in the title of this article or from the fact that based on my corporeal evaluation of music,i personally think there is no such thing as “Commercial music”?, lets look into it together.
What is music?…well this is a question that would herald different answers from different persons as it connects to and affects various people differently,but personally my apt definition of music would be “Music is a form of art used by a musician to express his or her innermost or truest emotions” be it love,anger,hate,fear,envy,pride or even lust,Thus its an art for “expression” and personally for me speaking from the music composer’s angle,not an art to be used to try to “Impress”.
Why do I buttress this point you may ask,well since his first major break into limelight with his single ‘Cry’ featuring also very talented female vocal powerhouse and then label mate Nnena in 2006,Modenine’s art has been stigmatized as being too lyrically complex or in the term most commonly used “Too Hardcore” by the many lot who misinterprete this poet and also probably misunderstand how this life-force called music works.
Based on my observations and also acknowledging his diversity,Modenine’s original style of Hip-Hop can be likened to one called Boombap Hip Hop,a style of Hip Hop usually recognized by an acoustic drum loop/break and a chopped up sample style that mainly emanated in the mid 80’s and was popularized by veteran rappers like KRS ONE And Marly Marl amongst others.
Even though the original practice of this style of Hip Hop has dwindled over the years,Due to its efficacy it has evolved into a large percentage of the disparate styles of Hip Hop music we create today, be it Southern drums Hip Hop, East Coast Hip Hop or WestCoast Hip Hop with its elements found in either the use of samples on instrumentals or the delivery of the lyrics by the artiste.
Now back to Modenine, I find myself thinking is it a crime to unpretentiously try to be yourself with your art?…in my opinion,NO! Personally i wont say I’m an “ardent” fan or so to speak a “stugee” of his,but many a time i’m highly fascinated by his music.From the unexcelled lay-back feel it brings to the way it portrays the typical contemporary Nigerian social or corporate gathering as in ‘Mathematical sege’ or the exciting outburst of enticement you get listening to ‘Spartans’, Modenine is to me a poet whose value should be more greatly appreciated and not misinterpreted as he is to me an ingenious Rap artiste.
By Yemi Lawal [@LabzyLawal]