Do epic sh*t, package it well.
Nobody in hip-hop contradicts this more than the colossus sitting to Vector’s right. Since leaving Question mark in 2008, Modenine has slowly but painfully transitioned to that tricky music veteran space, a space where you’re respected far more for what you have done in the past than what you can do in the future.
There’s nothing wrong with that space, it’s just that Modenine entered it several years before his time after losing the leverage to impact current music and culture significantly. So no, Modenine hasn’t stopped making epic sh*t, he’s just having a really hard time getting you and I to care about it.
He said this in 2013 –
I put out a whole album, nobody cared. A whole 20 track album Alphabetical Order, nobody gave a f*ck, nobody cares. You see how the industry is, how do you expect me to feel?
Modenine couldn’t have felt good in those times – the Headies “Lyricist on the Roll” award was his birthright up until 2012, when he was usurped by the man to his left.
Vector also won in the “Best Rap Single” category that year as the trajectory of his career finally seemed to be heading up. A lot of observers were surprised by Vector’s wins but to my mind, it was coming at some point.
YSG, the rapper’s label at the time, seemed to have built an effective machine around Vector that made sure you heard when the rapper coughed at home – caring about the information was now up to you. Some of that leverage that Modenine had lost in the public space, YSG was able to offer to Vector. Modenine had relied too heavily on critics, an ageing, shrinking core fan base and his peers to preach his greatness, the results weren’t as impressive in 2012/2013 as they had been in the late 2000’s.
YSG had a controlling stake in Vector’s brand equity, which they used for evil when the relationship broke down and the rapper’s Twitter account vanished, along with 100k followers, but also for good by laying the foundation for Vector to be perceived as a rapper worth affiliating with, a foundation that he has built on today.
If you pay attention to the promotion of his Lafiaji album, you’ll notice he’s using methods that allow space for corporate bodies to come in and take advantage, like the free concert in his hometown that he said Hennessey supported. Then there are his “Oshamoh it’s V.E.C” daily voice logs available on Airtel and Etisalat for a small fee, thus giving brands even more opportunity for product placement.
The 2 hour+ freestyle event that he’s talking about was able to get the attention of the Silverbird Group, Swatch and Sprite. So, I guess what Vector is trying to say is that if you can’t beat pop music at the numbers game, switch it up. Propose non-traditional, unfamiliar concepts to the money men. There is a path to the money that hip-hop can provide that other music genres simply cannot provide, the onus is on the rapper to show the brands the way, not the brands to help the rapper.