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Is There Tribalism In The Nigerian Music Industry?

The argument the proponents of this ‘conspiracy’ make is the disparity in the numbers and the hype Yoruba artists get, as opposed to non-Yoruba artists. Some people call it the “Yoruba tax.”

For instance, days ago, someone on Twitter proclaimed that Flavour‘s “Ashawo” is bigger than everything in 9ice‘s discography. That is, of course, a ridiculous claim because 9ice has quite a number of hits, some of which are classics and Flavour won’t dare come close.

But guys on Twitter say that’s just tribalism. Someone also mentioned how nobody in the East knows Dagrin, but over here, he’s a Legend. According to some people, that is what tribalism entails and it is rampant in the music industry.

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We are talking about an industry where the richest musician is an Igbo producer (Don Jazzy) who made most of his money by working with Yoruba acts in Lagos.

You might wanna say Wizkid, Davido and Olamide are all Yoruba, but what does that prove? There was a time when there was P Square, 2Face, and Timaya. Making waves simultaneously, if I might add.

How about in recent times? Rema? Omah Lay? Buju? Are these Yoruba artists? I think not. But God forbid Bella Shmurda gets a little hype now, that’s tribalism? That’s just nonsense.

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Now, I can understand why people will think that’s the case. Lagos is undoubtedly the music hub of Nigeria, and more often than not, once you are hot on the streets of Lagos, people call you a sensation. It’s not the same for, maybe Enugu or Warri or even Jos.

The reason for this is the commercial setup of Lagos. I mean, the state is the most populous in the country and the industry has long been established here. It is not 9ice‘s fault or Wizkid‘s fault that they were born in Lagos. But these guys worked hard for what they have and nobody is supporting them simply because they are Yoruba.

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It is insanity to say Olamide is only big because he is Yoruba. That guy has worked harder than everyone else in the industry, and he deserves everything he has. You cannot attribute that kind of consistency to tribalism, it doesn’t make sense.


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