Ariya Repete 2018: Fuji, Juju And Hip Hop Have More In Common Than You Imagine | MyStreetz Magazine Ariya Repete 2018: Fuji, Juju And Hip Hop Have More In Common Than You Imagine – MyStreetz Magazine

Ariya Repete 2018: Fuji, Juju And Hip Hop Have More In Common Than You Imagine

Ariya Repete 2018: Fuji, Juju And Hip Hop Have More In Common Than You Imagine

Certain identicalities are unseen until you pause, rewind, rub your eyes
and squint again. Only then do those things which were yet undetected
become glaring, making you slap your forehead like ‘Damn, how come I never
noticed this before?!’

One of those kinds of phenomena is the incredible similarities between Hip
Hop and Fuji/Juju genres. Especially for young Nigerians who grew up in the
era of ‘bling bling rap’ and ‘billion dollar moguls’, connecting the dots
to the raw, guttural cadences of modern day fuji for example, might be a
tall order. But it’s there, clear as day.

Senior Brand Manager-mainstream Brands Nbplc., Funso Ayeni Fuji Legend, Marketing Director, NBPlc ,Franco Maria Maggi, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall, 2018 Ariya Repete Dance Category Winner Olubunmi Sadiq, Fuji 2018 Ariya Repete Category Winner Ashafa Olusola Martins, 2018 Ariya Repete Juju Category Winner Olufemi Ayodele Bright, Portfolio Manager, Mainstream Lager And Stout Brands, Nbplc., Emmanuel Agu, Brewery Manager NBPlc. Ibadan, Ogundana Tayo, Sales Director, NBPlc. And Uche Onigwe, at the Grand Finale Of Goldberg Ariya Repete In Ibadan.

Senior Brand Manager-mainstream
Brands Nbplc., Funso Ayeni Fuji Legend, Marketing Director, NBPlc ,Franco
Maria Maggi, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall, 2018 Ariya Repete Dance Category
Winner Olubunmi Sadiq, Fuji 2018 Ariya Repete Category Winner Ashafa
Olusola Martins, 2018 Ariya Repete Juju Category Winner Olufemi Ayodele
Bright, Portfolio Manager, Mainstream Lager And Stout Brands, Nbplc.,
Emmanuel Agu, Brewery Manager NBPlc. Ibadan, Ogundana Tayo, Sales Director,
NBPlc. And Uche Onigwe, at the Grand Finale Of Goldberg Ariya Repete In
Ibadan.

It is a well known fact that African-American music has its roots in
Africa. Like Lagbaja sang on his song Africalypso, the African slaves that
were shipped to the new world carried with them their music. ‘Some became
jazz, some become soul, some became rhythm and blues, swing, big band, bop,
hip hop, funk, jazz, rap, reggae, raga…’ Inevitably, the plantation music
of slaves that included call and response, improvisation and rhythmic
melodies ended up being the bedrock of what Hip Hop would centuries later,
be founded on.

True Hip Hop heads would know the five pillars of the art, as taught to all
of us by the ‘Amen Ra of Hip Hop Kulture’, Afrika Bambatta are B’boying
(dance), MCing (rapping) Graffiti, DJing and Beatboxing (vocal percussions).

Kizz Daniel performing on stage at the Grand Finale of Ariya Repete 2018 in Ibadan

Kizz Daniel performing on stage at the Grand Finale of Ariya Repete
2018 in Ibadan

Growing up in Nigeria’s southwest, one could not escape the fuji and juju
genres. From Sunny Ade, Sir Shina Peters and to Barrister, Kollington,
Wasiu Ayinde and Easy Sawaba. They were on radio and they were played
during Saturday morning house-cleaning in millions of homes and later in
the day at birthday parties. The musicians themselves were an active part
of society, feeding off current affairs to write new songs for release.
When they were not doing that, they were playing at live shows and touring.
(By the way, recordings of their shows were highly sought after, sometimes
more than albums because of their exclusivity.) And what’s more, their
reach extended beyond the Yoruba dominated southwest: in Nigeria and other
parts of the world, fuji and juju music had a massive following that it is
impossible not to know of their legend.

Falling in Love with Hip Hop

In the movie Brown Sugar starring Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan, there’s a
scene where their characters reminisced over the first time they fell in
love with Hip Hop. I remember clearly, the first time I heard Hip Hop music
and Lord knows it was love at first listen.

1L-R: Marketing DirectorNBPlc, Franco Maria MaggiFuji LegendKing Wasiu Ayinde MarshallKing of Fuji MusicKing Saheed OsupaSales DirectorNBPlc, Uche Onigwe at the Grand Finale of Goldberg Ariya Repete in Ibadan.*

1L-R: Marketing DirectorNBPlc, Franco Maria Maggi, Fuji Legend King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall, King of Fuji Music King Saheed Osupa, Sales Director NBPlc, Uche Onigwe at the Grand Finale of Goldberg Ariya Repete in Ibadan

It was in August of 1992. School was on vacation and my next door
neighbours were a family that had four older boys. The youngest of them was
six years older than me so you can figure. At the time my wardrobe
consisted of whatever grandmother determined was good enough – mainly
gabardine shorts and linen shirts or ‘Pretty jeans’ and ‘Someone In London
Loves Me’ t-shirts that my mother got on her many travels. On this day, a
party was going on next door. I was just hearing thumping sounds and loud
cheers. I ran towards the fence that divided our houses and peered through
the pigeonholes. What I saw was a divine sight! They were all dressed in
big t-shirts, different varieties of jeans, high-top sneakers and weird
looking haircuts shaped like rectangular boxes. But it was the music that
got me – each time the chorus played; these people raised their hands in
unison and swayed them from side to side, chanting ‘Yeah you know me!’ I
was transfixed. I sat by the fence for hours; enraptured by this new sound
I was hearing.

Ace Juju Maestro King Sunny Ade performing at the Grand Finale Of Goldberg Ariya Repete In Ibadan

I would later find out that the song I’d heard was Naught by Nature’s
O.P.P. For the next ten years, I would become an ardent follower of the
music, researching into its beginning, reading Hip Hop magazines (even if
they arrived ten months later than the release date). I knew Hip Hop songs
by heart, I knew all the stories of rappers; I mourned 2pac and Biggie when
they died. I flirted with the idea of recording a rap album. I lived
through the bling bling era that Master P introduced to the game. Beyond
all of that, the self-expression and poetry of Hip Hop seduced me and
helped shape the person that is writing this piece today.

Distant cousins

As I sat in the audience at the recently concluded Ariya Repete – a
traditional music and cultural experience, and competition organised by
Nigerian Breweries’ Goldberg Lager Beer, for upcoming fuji and juju
musicians, I had an epiphany: just like Hip Hop, these Nigerian genres had
the same elements!

The most striking feature of these music genres was the ability to string
words together. A fuji musician for example, can create lyrics using
wordplay, metaphors and rhymes to convey a certain message. (Mcing). Also,
anyone that has ever seen juju icon King Sunny Ade perform will know that
choreography is a vital part of his artistry. (B-boying)

Perhaps what gives this traditional music genres their uniqueness is the
use of percussion. While juju leads mostly by guitars, fuji stands itself
out by relying heavily on an assortment of drums. Little surprise that
young wannabes often create the drum patterns with their mouths (
beatboxing). In the same vein, it’s hard to start out one’s career with a
full band, fuji and juju stars learnt to make use of DJs to loop beats for
them to sing on. Thus, a Djing is also an element of the genres. The most
unlikely element Hip Hop and fuji/juju share is graffiti. Look around –
especially in cities like Lagos where the most used form of transportation
is the danfo. Nearly all of them have some form of art on, either the
silhouette of a dancing couple of inscriptions such as ‘No food for lazy
man’.

In recent times, purists of these genres have decried how they’ve been
watered down and have little social and moral content- a deviation from the
way the early practitioners intended. Hip Hop purists will have you know
that Migos, for instance, with their mumble rap cannot be regarded as
‘real’ Hip Hop. It’s not different in Nigeria where older fuji artistes
such as K1 have expressed their worry that fuji is not growing these days
at the pace it grew two decades ago, even though artistes like Olamide,
9ice and Reminisce have proudly referenced fuji as their major inspiration.
For juju, apart from KSA and Obey (who are now septuagenarians) there’s
probably only handful other musicians who are practicing the genre today.

The Renaissance

By creating a competition to seek out and groom fresh talents in fuji and
juju, Goldberg Lager Beer, the organizers of Ariya Repete may be on to
something. The winners may have gone home with the cash prize but the win
was greater than that. It has afforded people with talent to show it to
thousands of fans and dozens of entertainment practitioners. The exposure
to publicity, grooming and other budding musicians is bound to help them on
the long run.

Music, in whatever form is an integral part of a people’s culture, and as
generations come and go; the music of their times should outlive them. That
is why 170 years after the death of Polish composer, Chopin, his
compositions are still played on the biggest stages across the world.

Nollywood actor and Goldberg premium lager beer brand ambassador,
Odunlade Adekola.

At 40 years old, it may be too early to guess what Hip Hop would look and
sound like in a hundred years. But its influence on the world is felt
everyday. Fuji and Juju on their own have a bigger role to play, one that
is becoming obvious to music aficionados and modern sociologists: they have
the responsibility to ensure the continued existence of the language –
Yoruba.

During the roundtable discussion that kicked off this year’s edition of
Ariya Repete, the keynote speaker, Dr. Kola Adesina who is a professor of
Mass Communications, revealed that the UNESCO has included Yoruba among the
endangered languages that may be extinct in less than fifty years. As a
result, Hip Hop, fuji and juju not only share a common history, they also
share a common fate.

One of the ways to prevent that from happening is by using music to push
for a renaissance. These genres are not only forms of entertainment; they
are linguistically innovative; creating dialects and slang that soon become
part of the language. American universities such as Howard, Cornell,
Harvard, UCLA and many others have actual courses and studies in Hip Hop
history and preservation. After a successful run in 2018, who knows if
Ariya Repete will influence Nigerian universities to do the same? After
all, it made the whole country stop and pay attention to fuji and juju this
year.

Oh by the way, here’s another fun fact: as it is in Hip Hop, fuji and juju
also have several ‘beef’ situations. One of the most high profile was the
lingering row between K1 and Saheed Osupa. It was squashed at Goldberg
Lager Beer’s Ariya Repete grand finale in Ibadan. Now tell me if that’s not
Hip Hop!

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