2019 Is looking to be a fun filled year for rap with so many prospects for the months ahead in the game, and the world over. One thing to look forward to is the development of rap across the African continent with hip hop fast becoming one of the biggest music cultures in the world today. With names like AKA, Cassper Nyovest, Kwesta, Nasty C, Kommanda Obbs (Lesotho), Laylizzy (Mozambique), Scar (Botswana), Fosta Juliano (Botswana), Holstar (Zambia), Cleo Ice Queen (Zambia), Sarkodie (Ghana), E.L (Ghana), Khaligraph Jones (Kenya), Octopizzo (Kenya), Phyno (Nigeria), Olamide (Nigeria), Ice Prince (Nigeria), Naeto C (Nigeria), and M.I Abaga to highlight a few, the African rap scene has always been breathing fire from all ends of this vast land.
About a week ago we were met with a blazing display of unmatched penmanship courtesy of Chocolate City and cognac brand, Martell (Nigeria), when they presented us with "L.A.M.B," the Martell Cypher 2019 featuring someone I deem the godfather of Nigerian hip hop, M.I Abaga; alongside lyrical soldiers Loose Kaynon, A-Q, and Blaqbonez. When I first saw the cypher my excitement at seeing Blaqbonez on the line up really bit me after having witnessed what I think is possibly the best come up I've seen in years in the Nigerian rap circuit with how well his Bad Boy Blaq album was received. Following his album release and activities thereafter showed potential for his pending stardom in hip hop with how infectious his persona and music is. Last year, M.I Abaga voiced his concerns about the lack in Nigerian hip hop with with his blaring "You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Life," where he stated that Southern African hip hop was making a killing compared to his once untouchable homeland in the West. Many feathers were ruffled but his point drove home with a lot of fans agreeing to his frustrations and observations.
"How you taking shots with a sub-par album? Those joints ain't strong enough, you lack calcium..." - A-Q
Well, M.I has come together with the abovementioned emcees to show us how it's done, only this time around he comes back to alert the South that Nigeria is coming for the throne. Oh snap! The bars contained in this cypher will have you in mini battle reactions as you, "ooh," and giggle at the intricate words woven by these men. Loose Kaynon is not having it with fluff rappers who think they're doing "the most" only to find that they're not even moving a damn thing. OUCH! A-Q is not worried about proving anything as he jumps onto the beat to flex his lyrical gymnastics with multiple flows that crib-walk all over the menacing beat. This is a world class display of seasoned skill. In perfect king style, M.I closes the cypher with a nonchalant flow alluding to his disinterest in constantly having to school rappers every time he raps. Yikes! You have to notice his hilarious exit as well where he drags Martell's competitor, Hennessy (Nigeria), for apparently not cutting the cheque with other rappers. Cognac shots anyone? This got us thinking about whether there could be a South African combo put together to go toe-to-toe with these men, that I will leave to your concoction. It goes without saying that there are lyrical beasts in South Aah, don't get me wrong, however more than anything we interrogate the cypher culture in 2019. Do people still care about that art form and its siblings named battle and freestyle? Do you think Nigerian rap can come for us or are we well oiled to go at anytime? If shit hit the fan right now, who are you sending to make us look good? Hit us up in the comments section and let's have some fun with this competitive sport.