Nigerian Producers: The Apt Example Of Unheard Voices & Unseen Magic By Ademoye Afeez O.

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As a lover and enthusiast of music, a music writer and an artiste, I FIRMLY understand what it means to be a PRODUCER. The brain behind the music, the heart of the sound, the one that could keep playing a ‘single snare’ for an hour, trying to make sure that it sounds RIGHT, meanwhile, the artist might have gone to sleep or gone home completely. Production amuses me so much, at first it was like a mystery, but with frequent visits to the studio over the years, I deduced a little of the mystery and arrived at my own conclusion: Production is just like TETRIS.

It’s amazing and equally mysterious how hits and classics like ‘Changes’ by Tupac” or “Ifana Ibaga’ by Tubaba or ‘’Love Yourz’’ by J.Cole and a whole bunch of other songs started from a minute sound, just a sound: a click, a snare, a tap, or even a hum, and just like Tetris, they build it up from nothing and voila!, a complete body of rhythm and melodies has been created; with your head, body and soul bumping to the complete (or halfway done) outcome. Too often, the producers are underrated and underappreciated, the kingmakers, the god of music, the CREATOR of the sounds.

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Now to the Main Gist, I strongly believe that as an ARTISTE, your PRODUCER has to be BETTER than you IN EVERYTHING, yes, EVERYTHING. If you are a singer, your producer has to be better than you, not necessarily in the physical, but mentally. He definitely must know the right chords, pitches, melody and all of that, so that when you as an artiste use the wrong one (even though you might have that voice more than he does) he would be able to play it in his head, compare it to his own ‘mental voices’ and be able to tell you “naah, do it again or use this instead”.  Even as a rapper or whatever, it’s the same, he has to know what flow to use or what speed to go, or what way to bounce on the beat, he has to. Your producer has to be WIDER, DEEPER and LOST in the music, More CREATIVE, INNOVATIVE, and as well HARD WORKING than you are.

Today, I listened to Dagrin’s CEO album again after a long time and I was totally perplexed and re-amused at the height of work Sossick did on that ALBUM, wait, it wasn’t just on the album, it was also on the BRAND ‘Dagrin’.

The CEO Album dropped about 9 years ago, at a time when Nigerian hip-hop was more of the English rap, I can remember as kids, we were bumping to more of Ruggedman, M.I, Mode 9, Freestyle, TerryThaRapman and the likes. However, Sosa brought a BALANCE in the music, he fixed the gap, so well that the transition to Indigenous rap was swift. The plan was clear; while Dagrin brought his Indigenous prowess in lyricism, attitude and delivery, Sossick WESTERNISED it.

That process was visible in everything and every way he could, even in things as “little’’(as you would think) as adlibs, which were very vital by the way. He gave Dagrin real ‘hiphop’ instrumentals and vibes, I mean, stuffs that even 50 Cent, Jay-Z or Talib Kweli would hear and be willing to jump on. You didn’t necessarily need to understand the language, but of course you would bump to the kicks and snare of the dope beat, you can’t help it.

Even to talk about the hooks too, I mean, there was a BALANCE. While you are reading this, please take a short break and go listen to Everyday, Make doe, Ghetto dreams, Swag all by Dagrin. Don’t worry, I would wait for you, go!…

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Back? Please tell me you experienced the beauty in the creativity that Sossick’s BALANCE brought to the music, that orchestra!  As at that time, God indeed decided to bless Dagrin with Sosa’s versatility, I  stand to be corrected, but then again, I dare to say that if Dagrin hadn’t met such A GENIUS like his friend-producer, there would have been a high level of setbacks, I dare so say it.

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To digress a little, you should look at what he equally did with Reminisce as well, almost all the hip-hop classics Reminisce has were either produced by Sosa or had an epitome of the genius in it: Turn it around, Third world thug, Feego, and the likes. Funny enough, on third world thug Reminisce started the jam with a slight complain “Sossick like wahala gan, oni kin freestyle/ Sossick likes to trouble me, he wants me to freestyle (do hip-hop)”.

It was obvious as much as Reminisce wanted to do ‘commercial music’, there was a producer that was lost in the music, ready to put him on the CONSCIOUS side. Everyone needs SOSA, Everyone! Or at least, get a producer that is way too much of a genius for you to comprehend.

Dear Artiste, if you feel you know more than your producer, or your producer doesn’t make you feel like a ‘fool’ in the studio, I think its high time you get another one, you are in the wrong room!

 


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