In defining the identity of a social milieu or the cosmopolitan space, the urban language is key— the ability to weave words that unify and strengthen the community. In the search of a voice that speaks to the souls of its members, communities (cities, in this case) have found music to be an adhesive that sticks its poles of diversity together, with the web of familiarity entangling them. Societies have employed distinctive sounds and themes in their music to set them apart in a crowded soundscape.
Records have been done, slangs have been created for the philosophy of its people, ode for the times, and transfer of its wisdom to other cities.
Lagos. Eko. Eko Akete. Las Gidi. City of Dreams and Nightmares. Expressed in Molue talks at Oshodi, champagne baths in Lagos Island, a union brought by Eyo. Fela did Eko Ile. Yinka Davis sang about its bright lights and people. Jazzman Olofin revived a Folk for contemporary use. ‘Segun Babatunde snatched Nasir Jones’ template for Lagos State of Mind.
Chris Ajilo takes us back in time with Eko O Gba Gbere.
Yellow buses, yellow cabs, or yellow faces? Whether Highlife, Pop, Fuji down at Ikorodu or Hip-Hop from headphones, Lagosians know and respect their Lagos.
Olamide, though originally from Ogun state has found Lagos to be home. Born in Bariga, he finds expression through a blend of traditional sounds and Hip-Hop.
Keeping with the praises of a city that raised him, Lagos Boys was formed. The cover art is prophetic in its telling. Three kids in over-sized suits with a view of the city beneath their feet. Nas quipped “The World is Yours.” Even with the aspirations; the larger-than-life imagery, such aspirations to grow into something bigger than the present— that summarizes the Lagos Hustle!
A public service announcement starts Lagos Boys: “Ladies sneh and Gentlemen sneh!/I’m your host for today sneh!” He turned to tell listeners that like the ‘hotness’ of an event in urban speak, or a lady, or man, or anything that gets excitement up, he is down for that. Ota Lenu- it’s hot, a statement by fellow Yoruba rapper, Reminisce– he is, too.
“They call me Alagbe oh, ema le mi jade oh/I just want to party oh, egbe dollar jade”
Lagos, a city of over 17 million people is known for its extravagance- the ease at which money is both made and spent, spent till the pocket runs deeper that the lagoon. A large stack, you know.
Sneh! sounds like a nonsensical term possibly crafted after binge drinking. But hypnotic in effect to send your voice screaming the words.
The beat marries elements of Fuji (the traditional percussion lines, here), Juju with ability to make the agbadas and geles work their magic, while lips are glossed with goat meat, pounded yam, egusi soup, the finest of wines (or, water for health for more partying).
“Oya alaye, ki lon sele sneh/Wan ni’pe m’oti yegbe sneh/E bami ki wan pele sneh”
The Pheelz horns are triumphant, though studio manufactured, leading to the ‘no care attitude’ towards those who jeer.
Lagos has all.
Olamide’s ‘Lagos Boys’ may not hit so hard; but in the spirit of the city and (pop) culture, everybody Sneh!
See Also: Album Review: Illbliss’ Powerful
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