I wasn’t fortunate to watch the Academy Awards live this year but i’ve seen reports about the show. Neil Patrick Harris’s performance as the host, Patricia Arquette’s acceptance speech, John Legend and Common’s Glory performance that made Chris Pine cry and Lady Gaga’s wonderful rendition of songs from THE SOUND OF MUSIC. I want to say that i don’t even have a problem with most of the winners of awards this year.
I think Eddie Redmayne totally deserved to pick the statuette for best actor, and JK Simmons, Birdman, Inarritu, Whiplash, Julianne Moore, Patricia Arquette and Big Hero Six were deserved winners. That’s not what i want to talk about anyways. I want to talk about the Best Actor Category.
Since 2002, the best actor category has been won by an actor who portrayed a historical character 9 times. Only in 2007, 2009 and 2011 did Daniel Day-Lewis, Jeff Bridges and Jean Dujardin win for portraying fictional characters. I don’t find it weird, I just feel that it seems that the actors portraying real characters already have a sort of template to work with. It doesn’t make the performance any easier, I just feel it’s harder to create a character from scratch than to learn to mimic an existing one.
This year for instance I believe Michael Keaton did a great job as Riggan Thomson in BIRDMAN but what chances did he have with Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking, Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, Steve Carell as John Dupont and Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing? All these other guys could be rated as great or more believable because we know the characters they played; they are real people, people we can compare their mannerisms and performance with. People like Michael Keaton don’t have such luxuries.
There’s nothing fishy about it though, these are just my thoughts. It would be nice to at least be able to make this argument in the Nigerian Movie industry, but are performances are sadly not good enough to even raise the thought in the most minute portions. Anyways I think it’ll all get better when we start taking film making as a serious art and serious business.
Rapper Vivid EXP drops the first single from his upcoming mixtape “66 Chambers” today. The UNN mass communication graduate represents with a fine touch of old school 90’s rap. Influenced by the likes of Naughty by Nature, Notorious B.I.G and Jay-Z, EXP-real name Onochie Onyekwena- started rapping and freestyling in 1999. His previous singles include “Loud and Clear” and “Real.”
Okay I know on this blog..I basically talk about movies and Tv shows,but today I want to talk about music. And since no one else in this part of the world seems to want to talk about it,maybe I will.
This week turned out to be pretty eventful in the American hip-hop scene. On a verse of Big Sean’s Control with Jay Electronica, Kendrick “K-dot” Lamar called out several of his fellow rappers.
I’m usually homeboys with the same n***as I’m rhymin’ wit
But this is hip hop and them n***as should know what time it is
And that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big KRIT, Wale
Pusha T, Meek Millz, A$AP Rocky, Drake
Big Sean, Jay Electron’, Tyler, Mac Miller
I got love for you all but I’m tryna murder you n***as
Harsh lyrics right? A rapper has got to have a lot of guts to call out most of the leaders of the new school this way. People have labelled Kendrick’s stunt a lot if things: a diss; a publicity stunt; a wake up call, all sorts of things. But the label I agree with is the wake up call.
Hip hop does need a wake up call. Don’t get me wrong,the game has improved a lot since Nas pronounced hip-hop dead, but a lot still needs to be done. The truth is that every generation has to be better than the one its leaving behind.
In the days of the originators, Mcees like Chuck D, Run DMC, KRS, Rakim were ripping vinyls hot like that. When the new era revealed young bloods like N.W.A, Black Sheep,LL and the Ghetto Boyz, it got better. Then came the era Biggie,Tupac,Nas,Jay-Z and Wu Tang Clan, and the game kept getting better and better. But the fact that I still look back to the older era with anything but nostalgia means the new school haven’t given us something that is dope enough to let the past remain in the past. So maybe Kendrick feels he’s dope but not dope enough to be one of the best (if not the best) lyricists today. He desperately needs some competition.
But how does all this affect hip-hop in Nigeria? Don’t get it twisted, “hip-hop’s the same, no matter where you came from.” So I’m not going to indulge all that nonsense about “Agro hip-hop” hip-hop is hip-hop! Now that its settled,who’s going to call out all our Nigerian hip-hop artistes who give us dope lyrics on their first record and fall asleep from the second? Our rappers who sell the purity of the game for commercialism. Our rappers who sacrifice creativity for crappy music.
The game in Nigeria is mad redundant; rappers like M.I,Naeto C and them aren’t what they used to be. There’s no competition. The “Big Dogs” are only big now in their pockets but those cats will get torn apart on the streets by some of the upcoming acts I hear these days. It’s a crazy thing when people like Ice Prince keep winning hip-hop awards. I’m not trying to be a hater people,I’m happy for his success and all, but is he really the best Nigeria has to offer? Will mediocre Mcees become our posterboys after we’ve come this far? Who will be as brave as Kendrick and call out M.I,Jesse Jagz, Naeto C, Ikechukwu,Modenine,Terry Tha Rapman etc.? Who’s going to ring the wake-up call so that cats like Vector won’t be called the “Best Rapper in Nigeria” or Davido won’t be called a hip-hop artiste? Hasn’t hip-hop in Nigeria suffered enough, where we can’t here intelligent lyrics in the mainstream anymore? You tell me.
Replies have started pouring in from rappers like Joell Ortiz,Mickey Factz and Astro to Kendrick Lamar, but after all said and done, everyone from Drake to Lupe Fiasco is going to ask themselves, “Does K-dot have a point?” Or “Are we really as good as we say we are?” No one really knows where this will end, all I know is in the Nigerian hip-hop scene and the industry as a whole, we need to wake up from our irritating slumber and improve on our lyrical content and allow the creativity flow in our music and stop demanding “whinning of waists” and “shaking of arses”,deceiving ourselves that Nigerians only love the beats and don’t care about the lyrics. Wake up guys! Just imagine a portion of Kendrick’s verse went like this.
I’m usually homeboys with the same n***as
I’m rhymin’ wit
But this is hip hop and them n***as should
know what time it is
And that goes for M.I Eldee,
Sauce Kid, Vector, Skales, Jesse jaggz
Ikechukwu, Modenine, Terry tha rapman, Naeto C
I got love for you all but I’m tryna murder you
Well that’s all I’ve got to say on the matter. Wake up!
I can’t imagine what goes through the minds of our film makers sometimes. Why do I ask? Well anytime I see another “Osuofia” or “Mama Gee” film, I ask myself that question: what is wrong with our film makers sometimes? Especially those in the comedy genre.
First time around Osuofia was kind of funny; yes, admittedly it managed to get some giggles out of me. But with each passing title that stated “Osuofia in this” or “Osuofia goes to where” it started getting irritating. As a filmmaker, surely you have to know when to call time on an already mediocre and boring comedy franchise. Sadly, Nigerian filmmakers do not.
Our brand of comedy fails to inspire any laughter in me, just good ol’ fashioned irritation. Don’t mistake me for a nollywood hater though, its not as if Hollywood do not dole out their own brand of crap, but I have to talk about this. Any comedy film I see Nkem Owoh or/and John Okafor, I can already figure out the theme. They are probably going to play characters who are miscreants or trouble makers in a village or a village-like town. Same thing when you throw in the likes of Okey Bakassi, Victor Osuagwu or Charles Anwurum. So annoyingly predictable and boring.
Isn’t it asking too much to give us a decent, unstereotyped comedy that’ll actually fill us with the much desired laughter? No. I don’t think so. This is because I’ve seen it before. Once upon a time there was a Nollywood film (of course it wasn’t called Nollywood then) called PICCADILLY which starred the late Sam Loco Ere, Bob-Manuel Udokwu and Charles Ifediba. It was about a father-son robbery gang and their travails with the law. It was funny, it was fresh; it was funny. It didn’t have Aki and Pawpaw running around a village being silly; or the usual suspects earlier mentioned doing their stereotyped best.
We can do a whole lot better than we’re doing now. I didn’t find JENIFA funny; OSAS was a silly “Jenifa” knock-off. I still haven’t seen any funny comedy, all I’ve seen so far are well produced attempts. I do wish we would take progress seriously instead of deceived ourselves that we’ve arrived. We have a lot of work to do. Plus I’m really going to give a prize to any new Nigerian Comedy film that gives me a “Modern Family” styled laugh.
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