BLAQBONEZ GOES ROGUE – The Rise of a rapper that plays by his own rules
In the next marathon that is the chase for prominence as a successful hip-hop icon, playing normal will leave any Emcee dead in their tracks. The rap game is fighting an off-field battle with regards to pop dominance and the unfair infiltration by wacky emcees. The only way to attain success by any genius rapper is to strike a balance on how to come out swinging with songs that adhere to all the golden rules of lyricism and also appeals to the listening pleasure of the general music enthusiasts. In recent times, that’s the Holy Grail most have failed to attain. But Blaqbonez seems to have found the perfect formula.
Words by Sesan Adeniji
Rappers like Blaqbonez knows there’s no more playing soft. He understood there’s a radical approach needed to instigate hip-hop conversation to awake the legion of rap music fans that have drifted from the genre for its sudden lack of authenticity and the needed activations to converge for its celebration. With 9 rap-music #body of works credited to his name, Blaqbonez self-proclaimed himself as the best rapper in Africa. He had the facts to back it up. In Nigeria, are there any rappers that have released that much work in the form of an EP or LP? Except for MI Abaga, there’s no one else.
With such proclamation as the “Best Rapper In Africa” comes a huge responsibility to fight off naysayers and colleagues that will come out from their vampire coven to bite. The number of diss tracks released for him attests to how many feathers he’s roughened but Blaqbonez’s background as a battle emcee allows for no elbowroom for those that intend to take shots at him. From Devolee to Veda, one after the other, he took them to the cleaners. He even proposed a faceoff to battle as emcees. This lad takes no prisoners. We are currently witnessing the rise of a rapper that plays by his own rules.
As mentioned earlier, when Blaq says he’s the best, he has facts to back his claims. “As a rapper, I have put in the work. I don’t do empty rhetoric. From the days when I started as a battle emcee with being part of the Facebook community that does “Text Battle” from 2009 – 2012, I have never dished out a watered-down lyrics and my body of works can testify to that. My EPs includes Hip-hop Is Blaq (2012), Blaq box Dey Road ( 2013), Unfinished ( 2014), Cassette, Tape and TVs ( 2015), A Day’s Work ( 2016), Last Time Under(2017), Bad Boy Blaq( 2018), Bad Boy Blaq Re-Up( 2019), Mr. Boombastic (2019). You see those speak volumes” – Blaqbonez
Influenced by rappers like MI Abaga, Kendric Lamar, and Drake, Blaq’s lyrical juxtaposition says much about those artists that inspired him. Looking at him from the outside, his cheerful demeanor can be distracting. On the inside, he’s a sober and calculated guy that takes responsibility for his actions. “I’m playful but introverted. I prefer being indoors. That affords me the opportunities for careful thinking and enough time to find the right words to express myself, especially when writing songs. From the depth of my soul, I mean every word I ever penned” – Blaqbonez
Blaqbonez is an alumnus of the University of Ife. While in school, from one rap cipher to the other, never did he lose a battle. He contended with the best talents and soldiered on to become one of the finest that ever was. With every lesson learned, he grew up to become a poetic man of steel. “I have never stopped pushing myself to unlearn and relearn. I have shown over time that I can rap. Right now all I’m doing is to push the bar higher. My intention now is to show the hip-hop community that we can make undiluted rap music so relatable to the general music audience. That was what I achieved with the single “Shut Up”.
In hindsight, one does not need rocket science to conclude that the hip-hop community should be grateful to Blaqbonez for sparking conversations that created domino effects resulting in reasons why rap music became the trendiest genre in the industry today. His assertion of being the Best Rapper In Africa and the diss track it attracted was a game-changer. “I think rap music is in a better place than it has been in a long time. Hip-hop has been on top of the conversation this year; I’m excited about where it is right now. Next year we have the chance to step up and compete with the leading genres. And hopefully, that works out” – Blaqbonez
If anyone looks carefully and closely, they will realize that Blaqbonez’s mannerism has trappings of legendary boxer Mohammad Ali and rapper 2Pac’s wittiness, spontaneity, and boastfulness. When Ali said he’s the greatest, beforehand, those that doubted him, lived long to watch his goal accomplished. In a short space of time, Blaq’s assertion of being the “Best Rapper In Africa” is gradually coming to pass. For his inventiveness and distinctiveness, he commands respect across the industry. “I believe I’m the best rapper in Africa. And nobody can tell me otherwise” – Blabonez
In an environment like the Nigerian music industry where artists who are weak-kneed like Vic-O are put to the sword in no time or given to the audience as caricatured clowns, but Blaq bravado is applauded. Across gender lines and age grades from different states in Nigeria, his music continues to flourish. I was at a nightclub in Benin City about a month ago and when his songs like “Mamiwata” and “Shut Up” were played, the audience sang along word for word. “The biggest feeling for any rapper while on stage performing is to hear the audience vibe and sing along to your song. That is what I’m experiencing right now. I love every bit of it. My fans are everything to me”- Blaqbonez
VIEWS ON BLAQBONEZ
“If you ask me for my views on rapper Blaqbonez, I will say he’s new to several Nigerians but actually, this lad has been consistently building a name for himself in the rap game in the Nigerian music industry. I did come across a few of his rap lines on a few ciphers years ago. But recently, after his Martel Cipher with Chocolate City, I took a special interest in his EP titled “Bad Boy Blaq Re-Up”
Blaqbonez’s lyrical depth and somewhat comical smiles and metaphors got me smiling most of the time and gasping as how audacious he could be. His tracks like “Good Boy” featuring BOJ and CKay, and “Mamiwota” being the lead single on the EP are just awesome. For me, he has also helped direct spotlight on some other talented young artists like Oxlade, Psyhco YP, just to mention a few.
In all fairness, the biggest conversation in the Nigerian Hip-hop game today should be attributed to Blaqbonez. His claim as the “Best Rapper In Africa” sparked both outrage and interest from rappers and rap fans in general. Many were quick to record their replies to the single and the culture loved every bit of it, especially as Blaq would take out time to either downplay or appreciates their efforts on social media, however sarcastic he might be.
Sometime back, I caught up with him and he highlighted that his claim of being the “Best Rapper In Africa” was to revive the Hip-hop culture conversation. And of course, as an emcee, he welcomed the challenge to his claim. However, it has to come with money. He’s quite a business-oriented rapper. And to be honest the best rappers in the world are entrepreneurs, so Blaqbonez maybe unto something here.
His move, however, got to a whole new level when he released “Shut Up”. That track wasn’t a diss, it was like the final nail in the coffin for a lot of rappers. The new race of Hip-hop fans loves the growth, and the undisputed bragging rights this emcee has established. Interestingly, it hasn’t prompted him to jump in on the beef between rapper MI Abaga and Vector. That to me indicates respect on Blaq’s part. This lad now has my full attention and respect” –
Sheddy On The Beat (OAP at Beat 97.9FM Abuja)
“About Blaqbonez, I honestly feel that hip-hop will not be hip-hop in Nigeria at the moment if he did not pull up the creative stunts he shared on social media and via his music. Every moment of hip hop this year has Blaqbonez in it and I think he is a catalyst to seeing Nigerian hip hop becoming a global force when it comes to music” –
Sheye Banks (OAP Soundcity FM)
“Blaqbonez is a force to reckon within the music industry. He’s such a mood. I love his exceptional charisma. I can’t tell which I prefer, him as a rapper, singer or actor (lol).
His song “Shut Up” is still one of my favorite tracks at the moment. I think it’s a rave. I feel sad for those who are yet to connect to his music.
He’s a great talent that’s so vast and well grounded in his music. I can’t wait to see him at the top and quite frankly I think he’s underrated and should be gaining more recognition” – Miz Philz (Co-founder, Skills and Thrills. Head Of Programs – Vibes 97.3FM