Mike Awoyinfa’s Column: Naira Marley: Booze, Boobs, Bums, Bullshit and Ganja By Taju Tijani, Guest Columnist

By Taju Tijani, Guest Columnist

Mothers in Nigeria are grieving. Fathers are gnashing their teeth. Pastors are making rapid response intercessory prayers with impassioned pleas to God to rein in Naira Marley and his folksy songs that have made millions of his followers craving for a Marlian nirvana. This geezer has been giving us a picture of an immoral world foretold. Do we expect anything less from an iconic rocker who has seized this nation’s dance floor along with its hedonistic youths? Can we fault the talismanic power of this epicurean time lord who now shepherds our kids like sheep into the smoky universe of bohemian free love?

We are faced daily with the evolving talent of a kid who escaped the brutalising confinement of Peckham’s gangland lifestyle to lead a boisterous Marlian movement that derives its power through music that encourages euphoric freedom, athletic dance steps, Bohemian abandon, sartorial rebelliousness (no belt, no bra),  and his obsession with boobs, bums, ganja and bullshit. On Instagram, on stage and on the street, Naira Marley encodes ritualistic messages of defiance, mob immorality, the joy of big breasts, big bum, the anaesthetising power of marijuana and addiction to sex.

Advertisement

The resurgence of X-rated pop music in Nigeria is daily giving us a cause to ponder. The millennium superstar like Naira Marley does not have to be drawn from any particular social background, have any specific competence or even the artistic credentials that were once expected as a qualification for success in music. Today, what is required from our superstars from Davido (OBO), Tiwa Savage, Olamide, Wizkid, Zlatan Ibile, P-Square, 2Baba, Flavour, Runtown and Burna Boy is a voice, a uniqueness, a crowd-pulling capacity to encourage libidinous hormones of life of enjoyment, escape from reality, lust, and youthful excesses.

Since he made his blustering entry into the dance scene, his Marlian followers have been recklessly inhaling every of the banger he drops from his creative musical repertoire either as an act of wild abandon or straightforward revolt against the moral code we enact as guide for our children. The Marlian generation is on the rise and to those who will dismiss it as nothing more than a passing fad are not paying attention enough to the deeper messages of Naira Marley’s music. Who is this legend that has been handing out our gullible youths to Satan to string them up like ‘Suya’ on three-fingered hooks?  

Mr Azeez Fashola, aka, Steven Dickson and Naira Marley was born in Agege in Lagos State. He was a rebellious kid and a victim of Nigeria’s social anomie of poverty and neglect. He fled Nigeria in year 2000 and ended up in Peckham, South East London. Peckham is to London what Ajegunle is to Lagos. A notorious, seedy, poor, neglected, and deprived neighbourhood populated mostly by Jamaicans and Nigerians. These two tribes of immigrants decide who go to heaven or hell in Peckham. Nineties Peckham was a no-go area for most Londoners and most of us who went there in those days only ventured across such city limit in search of clubs and Nigerian restaurants for Friday/Saturday fun of Guinness, dance and side chicks. Peckham was a place where we all relighted our manliness and shed off our midweek inhibitions.

Naira Marley grew up amid drug dealers, pimps, and prostitutes. The mystery index of Peckham includes joblessness, gang rivalry, poor housing, prostitution, robbery, drug dealing, mugging, and stabbing. It was a place of desperation.

He schooled there and led turf battles between Nigerian and Jamaican gangs. To survive the emotional, mental, social, and physical combat of his neighbourhood, Naira Marley got inducted into the “Nomannaz” gang that ruled his street. “Nomannaz” gang members wear dreadlock as their shinning symbol of difference. He devised strategy to survive the daily threat to life in his hood. He went through trials and troubles and today the stretchmarks of those dark past are etched on his mind. He suffered racism and had brushes with the Metropolitan Police Force that once charged him for sexual assault and robbery.

He made his first big bob in England. As a youthful hustler, he boasted that he once had £250,000 in his nest. He accumulated this money through street hustling and running, I guess, county line errands for… you can fill the gap!

He invested his money on talented friends and together they shot a video of his first banger and the rest is now history. The video went viral and hedonistic Nigerian youths in London embraced his music and are still begging for more. His presence on the pop scene is surprising. I would have thought that as a gang member and a Peckhamite, drill music would have been his preferred genre as popularised by Stormzy. London drill music celebrates and glorifies gang culture, gun pride, drug, stabbing, gang rivalry and hatred for Police. Of course, this influence is prevalent in Naira Marley’s videos.  

The shock of success thrilled him. He returned to Nigeria to shoot more videos and from there, he cultivated more grassroots fan base until his running battle with the Nigerian authority. In England, he was framed for sexual assault and robbery and in Nigeria he was accused of car theft and credit card fraud. Today, Naira Marley is a free man and still causing oohs and aahs and giving us more shock jocks from the mill of his artistic muse as an apostle of “gbebody si body”, “Osife high”, “orisirisi idi”, “original Tramadol extra”, “Malofo bi awo”, etc.

He has four children from two slay queens. Naira Marley is the President of the Marlian Republic. He is an influencer and taboo breaker. His videos are PG-13 grade. Marley has an obsessive fixation for oral sex. He has large silver pendants made of both pistol and the name of his gang – nomannaz. He likes getting high on marijuana; he is obsessed with sex, fast cars and living free.

Naira Marley is the raw rapper genius who has captured our youths for moral reinvention. Despite his hideous, croaky and Ganja modulated voice, Naira Marley, the “dido lobo” prophet has perfected a unique fusion of Fuji, drums, Muslim music, pop, Bollywood, Afro, abamieda, aiyekoto and eyo chorus to drop “wicked” banger after bangers.

His anthem “Baby girl, you are puta…Filiela la puta…puta….Tala Poka” is a patriotic affirmation among the millions of his Marlian citizens. Governors, politicians, bankers, teachers, lawyers, professors, market women, motor park touts, okada riders are all taking secret lessons in Marlian dance steps that are raging like wildfire from London, New York, Lagos to the smoky Edikaikong hideouts of Calabar.

His dance style is a pyro gyration of the head, the arm and fast shuffle of the legs like an ajobata dancer. Devoid of sun clean morality, songs like “Japa”, “Mafo”, “Opo To Yi”, “Da Kin To Da”, “Soapy” and “Teshumole” have given Naira Marley a platform to prophesize popular music seismic changes and speaks of paradigm shift in society’s moral code.

His “colabo” dynamo with Lil Kesh and Olamide called “Issa Goal” became such a roaring success among Nigerians and football enthusiasts that it gathered 3 million views to make Naira Marley the most viewed artiste on YouTube in 2019.

Today, Naira Marley has translated his weird character, rascality, anti-establishment and bohemian lifestyle into a conduit for cash. Each show goes for N20million, which is a tidy sum for a few hours job for a Peckham outcast made rich through our desire for the low life. He owns Benz (G-Wagon), Bentley and Porsche.

Banger after bangers, Naira Marley questions our ambivalent and received hypocritical attitude towards sex, big breasts, and bums. As a Londoner and as a man who was bred and defiled on its streets, Marlian is exporting the sexual liberalism of the West to millions of his ready fans who want to smash the plate of moral hypocrisy that has infected our Pastors, Imams, Teachers, Doctors, Politicians, Judges, Politicians and average Nigerians.

We live in a barren, unhappy, pessimistic nation. If Naira Marley, Zlatan Ibile, Davido, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Olamide, Burna Boy, and many other popular culture superheroes could make us happy through their music, let the music play on. Politicians have refused to bear the cross for our redemption and reinvention as a prosperous nation. So, Naira Marley has created alternative nation – Marlian Republic – and that community is growing.

[email protected]

Share your story or advertise with us: Whatsapp: +2347068686071, +2348053062268, Email: [email protected]