With the business sense of the stereotypical Igbo man, Phyno flipped “Alobam” from an anthem to a street slang and from a street slang to a nationwide movement.
The movement was noble, it promoted camaraderie and kinship in a way that even non-Easterners could relate. But the Ezege MC would also benefit from making a range of tee-shirts that bore the 3 syllable monster he’d created a must-have fashion item in 2014. Sadly, the iconic gold and black Alobam tee would become so heavily copycatted that folks even created variants with Versace heads on them. However, what Phyno might have lost in finance he probably made up for in a deeper connection with his fans who could carry the words of their favorite MC close to their heart wherever they went. Genuine tee or otherwise, no pirate can take that feeling away.
That was as far back as 2014-15. In 2016, Ajebutter22 has an opportunity to energize his fans and create a similar movement, albeit among a far smaller and more upwardly mobile crowd than Phyno’s but sadly the rapper isn’t going nearly as hard to promote it. The video for “Bad Gang” hit the streets yesterday but the black tee shirts designed to spread awareness for the movement were launched a few weeks back. The tees were conspicuously absent from the video – I had to wipe my eyeglasses twice to confirm that my eyes weren’t deceiving me.
“Bad Gang” is hands-down Ajebutter22’s biggest solo record since he blessed us with Anytime Soon in 2014. That album, to my mind, was one of the dopest debut hip-hop projects since M.I.’s Talk About It. “Bad Gang” the song has performed very well at radio. Since it impacted the Play Data charts in late April at #30, it has become a regular fixture.
The tune spawned a mini-movement that has been embraced by the streets and by the “streets”, I mean the tough, grimy pathways of Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue. Lines from the lyrics get hash-tagged everyday and have inspired several social media posts and poses. Plus, everything feels organic too! Not too many artistes are blessed with the opportunity to create a merchantable movement in their entire career, unfortunately Ajebutter22’s marketing style has been an extension of his rap persona – chilled.
Even more worrisome is the fact that even though the video featured 2 and a half comedians (Ebiye, Akanm D Boy and Falz), it fails in almost all of its attempts at humor. The highlight for me was the inclusion of what many consider as an “atypical” lead video model, atypical because of her darker skin tone. Her name is Amiola and over tight is worrying the babe.
She has a really interesting collection of body art pictures, the rest of which you can see on her blog. But I must warn you, if you don’t like steamy chocolate with the wrap peeled off, don’t bite.
Back to Ajebutter22, his sophomore album What Happens in Lagos should be out soon but a rework of the “Bad Gang” video could be out even sooner.