Oh, to be a Life Insurance salesman in a country where everyone knows that they’re going to die one day but never want to plan for when that day will come. We are all going to die, we know that, but how do you bring the subject up with a prospective client?
Nigerians simply do not know how to approach the subject of their own mortality. Kuddi, on the other hand, isn’t afraid of death. The Abuja-based MC goes by the moniker Kuddi is Dead as if to say we all are listening to his music in the after-life, we just don’t know it. The inevitability of death is a constant reminder in his name, his imagery and in his sound. His boldness is new to us on this side of the world but rappers have always been fascinated with their own mortality.
With album titles like Ready to Die and Life After Death, Notorious B.I.G. had a premonitory instinct that always came across in the music. His arc nemesis Tupac also had the talent to see parts of the future that fortune tellers often couldn’t. On a song with rapper Richie Rich “Niggaz Done Changed”, he predicted that not only was he going to be murdered by gunshot wounds but that his death would be avenged. As fate would have it, Tupac died in the same year, in the same way he predicted it would happen.
Kuddi is Dead’s inspirations are probably from a newer era, the similarities between he and ex-GOOD music rapper Kid Cudi, for instance, are a little too glaring. Beyond the name, the music is cloudy, the vibe is moody and drug use forms a big part of what they both talk about. But whereas Cudi is mainly a suicidal, emo raper, Kuddi is Dead seems to have adopted a style of horror core hip-hop where he frequently and openly talks about transactions between he and men of the underworld.
I’m just scheming with these demons, Satan told me I would get it
Sold my soul on a Friday, got it back after 9 days
However, no matter how much he references the devil, Kuddi doesn’t lose his reverence for the Most High
We finna be remembered as Crips the way we blew
Spitting triple 6’s although I’m Heaven-sent
It’s intriguing but Kuddi isn’t in a hurry to be understood either, on “Feedback”, he proclaims that he doesn’t need any interviews, you can keep your feedback.
I just sold my soul, so I’m taking the deal
I don’t need no motherf*cking introduction
Middle finger to the critics talking
On his newest record, “Call Me First” Kuddi doesn’t sound as dark and morbid as usual, the song is a conversation between he and his girl. Actually it’s more like an argument, the young rapper sounds like he’ll be moving on after the argument is done.
I just want a guy who’s gon’ do better
You tell me you’re a changed man, Bruce Jenner
But all I see is a Playboy, Hugh Hefner
There are more dark and horror records on Kuddi is Dead’s SoundCloud page. He’s also announced that his first EP will be released later in the year, the interestingly titled It Was the Devil.
It Was The Devil – EP
Coming next year. pic.twitter.com/j4wjgM7oJX
— ??kuddi is dead (@officialkuddi) December 7, 2016
But rap isn’t all that he does. Kuddi is also a producer, cinematographer, sound engineer and graphics designer, and is a member of a group of Abuja-based, young creatives called The Svndicates. Kuddi is showing he has the potential to break through. His dark and spooky style is unmistakable and present in his other art forms, from videos to graphics to photos. It’s exciting to watch Kuddi play with these themes but you’re always reminded by the ghost of hip-hop’s past that raps and reality aren’t always far apart.