The Darkness of Olamide's 'Voice of the Streets'

Just last month I did an entry on Rihanna's disturbing perfume commercial and I highlighted a number of things that have become synonymous with today's entertainment abroad. By now it won't be news that disturbing stuff have started appearing in Nigerian music videos today; every day we are bombarded by music and videos that throw odd visuals in our faces successively with every airplay until we are BRAINWASHED into accepting them as ordinary every day videos. Meanwhile our first response was ‘What the heck was that all about?’

I recently viewed by accident a video by rap artiste Olamide who seemed to have filled the gap the late rapper Dagrin left behind. The video was for the song ‘Voice of the Streets’. Actually I should have started with an earlier video done for another song by Olamide titled ‘Ilefo Illuminati’. But I just didn’t want to waste my time as I felt it was just a publicity stunt to gather attention around the song, video and artiste. Everybody I’ve come across seems not to have a clue what the title of the song was about. Apart from that, the rest of the song’s lyrics seem to border on a typical theme that Naija artistes are fond of always focusing on – self edification and the daring of all haters. This is characterized by all the bragging swag exhibited throughout the song.

In ‘Voice of the streets’ it’s the same kind of bragging that resonates all through. In both songs he seems to be speaking out against detractors who are against his progress; while ‘Ilefo Illuminati’ echoes his defiance against the illuminati (I don’t know why he had to do that), ‘Voice of the streets’ just rambles on at no particular person but detractors in general. From that kind of title one would expect more – like a rebel against societal injustice.

Striking similarities between Olamide & The Game's videos
(Click to enlarge & view)

While his ‘illuminati’ video (obviously a copycat of The Game’s disturbing ‘Martians vs Goblins’ video) managed to dramatize the lyrics of the song, the video for ‘Voice of the streets’ takes a rather disturbing turn that made me wonder if Olamide was just high on something when writing his lyrics and when shooting the video. (Somebody once told me that he now uses drugs of stimulants for his aggressive performances. I don’t know how true this is though).

Voice of the streets’ is weird in the sense that it tries to mix violence disposition with saintliness. For the first part of the video, we see images of a violent Olamide on the streets destroying stuff with thugs in some cases and then in the second part we see him assuming some saintly role as a monk surrounded by fellow devotees in red cloaks. Later on we would see him and his weird and ghostly looking devotees with blood-colored teardrops falling down their cheeks.

I don’t know why he had to repeat the part of the lyric that chanted the Guru Maharaji metaphor at the beginning up to three times and also feature people in red cloaks before red candles in some eerie gothic church. And with all these he reiterates lines like;

Moni mo lati lowo                      (I must become wealthy)
mo de ni mo lati fly                   (And I have to soar)
Mo ni mio ni se ogun owo        (I can’t do ‘jazz’ money)
Mio de ni gbe ebo lo si shrine  (I can’t do sacrifices at a shrine)

I be bad boy and i dey go church and I dey try

And somewhere in the beginning we hear him say:

I only look up to God

Gothic looking church

You hear him make efforts to sound as though he has a ‘church mind’ but then go ahead and conflict it with questionable lines as seen below:
O mo pe Jesu loba                   (You know that Jesus is King)
Oloun pray kin wa sober          (Pray that I get sober)

Won npe mi lomo esu               (They call me devil’s child)
shey you see am for my head? (Is it written on my head?)
Oye kin nwa ni Kirikiri now ballin a crime (I should be in kirikiri prison serving time)

The visuals we see in this video is kind of too deep and disturbing for the lyrics. Despite the showcasing of church background, crucifixes, candles and paintings of Jesus, it still comes across as disturbing. In fact a number of people who viewed it said it was ‘demonic’.

Olamide the monk and red candles

Devotees come to kneel before him

Could Olamide have intended it to be a simple street wise video but was influenced by some creative person’s dark input? The video reminds me of Kanye West’s ‘Jesus Walks’ which seemed to be a rap with religious vibe but unknown to many, it actually wasn’t and it had demonic subliminals in it.

Shooting a video is a whole big deal. You can sing a cute pure song and your video can distort its message and make it look evil with the nature of its visuals. I would have said the same for Olamide had not his lyrics been a contradictory mix of violent personality and displays with saintly and Holy references.

6 Screamer(s):

Avictomama said...

You've said it correctly. The lyrics of most nigerian songs these days seem to only brag and edify the artist and of course, dare haters! This is the reason why I'm not a big fan of Timaya. If he's not talking about himself and poverty and haters, then he would be talking about his mother and plantains.

PS: What's the deal with this captcha of a thing. I blog from my phone (no money for lappy) and its quite difficult to get it right as its usually small. Abi u no want me to dey comment again?

jubril salau said...

hm! Quite OK with this, but i Love the Guy Olamide which even made me create a Lyrics Blog for him only aswell.

Anonymous said...

wats guguru maraji??

Anonymous said...

i dont see anytin wrong in d song or video. it ws just creativity

Miss TLG said...

I am just short of words. I honestly have never seen that video. Now I never wanna see it. SMH. May God help us

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