When the news broke out a few days ago of the death of the Musical Artiste known as Mohbad, I struggled to remember him at first. Then I recalled the saga of him leaving Naira Marley’s record label and the ruckus that was hard to miss all over social media. But I wasn’t sure if I knew of his music.
This was till I played some songs and I was shocked to find out I had actually known his music, just didn’t know that he was the one. I was puzzled at how some songs hit the waves and you know they are good songs but the artists don’t come across as familiar to you.
I thought about it and had an answer for it. For a song to be known, it needs to get to your ears. For you to remember it, it must be either a very good song or a song you cannot escape wherever you go.
For you to know the artist, he must be promoted. He must be in your face. I am quite current social media wise. I make it my business to know what is trending and who is who. I have a mild interest in the entertainment industry and as a writer, you can’t live in a hole.
You must be abreast of the things happening around you. So Mohbad had great music but somehow, knowing him was a niche thing.
A few weeks ago, I was talking to a group of industry people and they were talking about the Nigerian music scene. They said something that took me aback. They said that most of the labels were actually gangs/fraternities/cults.
To belong to them, there are things you must do. I.e. oaths and rituals that you have to participate in. You have to swear fealty. Typical cult 101. So they move in a group protecting each other’s interests. But in all of such groups, there is always a pecking order; there is always some sort of hierarchy.
Benefitting from the group would be determined by how loyal you are. Leaving the group is not just a matter of breaching a contract. It is considered a betrayal and that would come at a cost.
I don’t know why I was shocked to hear this. I know that a lot of popular musicians have people that follow them around. But I always thought that it was a groupie thing and not a cult thing. My naivety is surprising to me as I am mostly a cynic. It took away the shine, the halo I always gave the music industry of Nigeria.
So back to Mohbad. A lot of disturbing things have come out since his death. One thing was clear, he was beaten up and harassed and bullied thoroughly by certain persons. The fact that his life was under threat was common knowledge. It was not a secret. Those threatening him were not subtle. They did not hide it. He even wrote a petition to the police.
There are many videos that have surfaced that have raised questions that need to be answered concerning his death. The manner in which he was hurriedly buried is also concerning. Because as of right now, I have not seen any news detailing what killed him.
There was one headline by one of the popular blogs that claimed it was an ear infection that was responsible for his death. I felt that was odd. But apart from that, how he passed on is still a mystery.
I think the general public are beating the right path for calling out for some sort of investigation to take place. How can someone be vocal about being harassed and bullied and threatened and then he dies under suspicious circumstances and we think life should go on as usual? Nah. Something must be done. Are there gods walking amongst us that cannot be questioned or held accountable? Can someone’s life just go like that and we keep moving on?
I feel so upset about this. But my experience as a Nigerian tells me that nothing will happen. There will be no justice. Even if the body is exhumed and an autopsy conducted, I have a feeling that we will still not get the actual truth about what happened. I pray with all my heart that I am proven wrong. That someone is held accountable for the death of this young man if indeed it is established that he death was orchestrated.
Are there lessons to learn?
I think so. The glamour in our music industry probably ends with glossy music videos, pictures of sold-out shows and private jet photos. Behind the scenes, the ugliness would put people off the scene. I would say to the young woman or man out there trying to blow. Don’t just be happy to sign a contract with your fave. Get that contract read and interpreted properly. Social media is an amazing place. If you are good enough, you can run independent of all the bloodthirsty contraptions called record labels. I know it is cliche but not all that glitters is gold.
What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?
Have a lovely weekend people.