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Curious case of Mr. Eazi and why Nigerians need to do better

A lot has, and is still being said about Mr Eazi on social media following his criticism of other Nigerian artistes for utilising Ghanaian elements on his Capital Xtra interview with Ras Kwame. The outburst started when a twitter user shared a minute clip from the interview and the Nigerian keyboard warriors took over from there. From very cynical remarks like “Nigerians can turn Mr Eazi’s name to Mr Hard” to the slightly reflective “Mr Eazi is making it difficult for Nigerians to like him.” The extent of truth in these remarks could be debated, but anyone with eyes will see that at this point in Eazi’s career, his success doesn’t solely depend on how Nigerians feel about him. As a self-entitled Nigerian, I understand the anger and backlash he’s receiving is deserved. Our music, and to a large extent our artistes are our pride; I’ve seen people spend hours arguing over issues related to artistes so I know that we can stand all day for these artistes. But after watching the full interview for the first time, there’s definitely more to learn than just his controversial statements.

With just a little over 6,000 views as at the time I watched it on Capital Xtra’s YouTube Channel and considering the gazillion of Nigerian social media users who have made snide comments about the only part of the interview they’ve seen, it’s apparent we need to do better by going in search of full information and not just pick those parts that will advance our narrative; no matter how hard it might be. During the interview, Kwame typically commends Eazi on his incredible feats of the past year, then goes on to ask about how his music career began. Speaking with a sense of pride in his journey so far, Eazi quickly gives a detailed recollection of his early business ventures. He spoke of the gold business in Kumasi and his tech business in Nigeria called Phone Trader. Somewhere in between talking about Phone Trader, he makes an erroneous statement “This is the Carphone Warehouse (British mobile phone retailer) of Nigeria, there is ONLY one and that’s my company…” Now hol’up hol’up, Mr Eazi, in a country with over 100 million mobile phone users, it’s preposterous and incredibly ridiculous for you to even think or furthermore say your company is the ONLY mobile phone retailer. I like your music, so I will act gullible and believe you actually don’t know who your competitors in the industry are, but I will go ahead and mention a word that should ring a bell, that word is SLOT.

His statements may come off as bitter and difficult to swallow, but if you take a second and think about it, there might be a hint of truth in some of them.

Amidst all the negativity, as I continued watching the interview, I found Eazi’s cleverness and entrepreneurial spirit very admirable. From the way he spoke about seeing himself as a product that should constantly be developed, to the plans he has in pushing the African culture to the world. His business oriented approach is definitely one of the things he has going for him and unarguably one of the reasons he’s currently enjoying so much success in his music career.

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Admittedly, it feels like all Mr Eazi has done is bad-mouth Nigeria at every opportunity he gets. His statements may come off as bitter and difficult to swallow, but if you take a second and think about it, there might be a hint of truth in some of them. For example, earlier this year when he tweeted “The influence of Ghanaian music on present day Naija sound cannot be overemphasized”, he was on the end of similar hostile words from Nigerians. The tweet is an actuality I strongly agree with, but here is the thing, after publicly acknowledging that Ghana influences the Nigerian sound, you shouldn’t come out to criticize your contemporaries for being influenced by what is also influencing you. That is exactly like attending a party and getting angry seeing other people come out to have fun at this party. From the beginning of time, inspiration for music has been drawn from different sources, it’s why rappers who might have never held a gun their whole lives will sell records talking about guns and how he/she is ‘killing these ni***s’. I will close this article with something that will be understood by only those who have actually bothered to watch the full interview: Will Mr Eazi really name his album ‘The World and Beyond’? The rest of you should go and watch it, and stop being quick to see only the seemingly ugly sides of things.

You can watch the full interview below;

The alias is YJ, consider me that friend you talk to when you need an opinion on new music. Asides being a music plug, I'm an engineering graduate of Covenant University, currently Music Content Editor of a start-up lifestyle magazine in Nigeria called Radronline (radronline.net) and most importantly; the aux cord god. Olayinka Yomi Joseph was the winner of The Critic Challenge 2017.

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