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Opinion: In Defence of Under Attack 9ice's Song the 'Living Thing'.





Okay, I'm sure you've listened to 9ice's 'living thing' from the album ID Cabassa many times over.

You must have dissected the lyrical content too, a word for word, a sentence for sentence and verse for verse with a view to appreciating its thematic direction among others.

I've too, and it's not just because I love the singer but because I love music generally.

And from the intro to the very end the song pointedly speaks our individual aspiration primarily as living souls or things to use the exact word of the singer except but to the pretending or hypocritical few who prefer to live in denial of their
existential realities.

Below I quizzically paraphrase the intro as follow:

"As a living thing, don't we all wanna be on top of things; doing things; controlling things and finally be enterprising"? Sure, I want to and I believe you too want to.

Summarily a world of unlimited possibility is what the song is talking about.

And who doesn't desire something so noble?

To get familiarized with what I'm saying here you can view it on YouTube.

First and foremost, taken as a whole, you cannot help but agree with me that it's one great piece of music going by how much airplay and views on YouTube it has garnered.

Second, I'm of the opinion it's something in the class of 'Gongo Aso' which shot the singer into international stardom some ten years or so ago.

On the other hand, it's equally one piece of a song that has continued to generate lots and lots of controversy pitting fans and reviewers alike against one another inevitably.

And what's or are the bone(s) of contention here?

The contention arises out of the belief in some quarters that the song is outrightly promoting fraud and fraudsters going by interpretations giving to some of the singer's choice of words and scenes from the video.

Besides the mention of the word 'Google' in passing, there are also two other words central to the ongoing debate.

And the Words are 'Wire Wire and Sase' respectively.

For non-Nigerians, I think a brief explanation of these two words at this juncture will be appreciated.

As far as my knowledge of banking is a concern, the word Wire-Wire is associated with inter-bank fund transfer whether locally or internationally.

But it has been given a Nigerianized connotation in recent times. It now literally means fraud.

While 'Sase' on the other hand is a Yoruba word denoting procedural deftness, skilfulness, or sleight of hands at professional tasks. Or simply put to do something as required.

I've seen our people especially those in the field of traditional medicine both in the past and present repeatedly make use of the word pre or post rendering incantations to the gods in any of the four sacrificial premises namely expiatory, appeasement, redemption and conciliatory.

I think it means exactly as highlighted above today.

But over time the same words have come to gain some notoriety with Internet variant advance free fraud. Nowadays, it's not uncommon to hear every Tom, Dick, and Harry use the words in relations to one deceitful task or the other.

Because of this, critics are quick to point to the singer's use of these words to mean he's simply promoting fraudsters.

More so the fact that he makes specific mention of persons whom to them are kingpins in the world of advance free fraud regarded in local parlance as 419ners. Of course, they have no evidence to back such claims.

An action they see as going desperately overboard. To them, he's overtly celebrating people whose sources of wealth are questionable. But how true that assertion remains to be ascertained.

9ice


419ners, by the way, is a notorious numerical nomenclature crafted out of decree 419, a constitutional provision which seeks to put in check fraudulent acts in the country from way back.


And that was even before the advent of the Internet and its negative deployment that we're seeing today.

While there is a general consensus that the song in question is a beautiful piece from one of the finest singers Nigeria ever produced;

One thing, however, still remains as we speak, and that's the non-abatement of squabble as to whether the singer is actually promoting fraud and fraudsters or not among the sharply divided opinionated public affairs commentators and entertainment enthusiasts.

Perhaps you've formed an opinion too concerning the message in the song or you're simply the carefree type to whom all that matters is rocking to its rich percussion till fade.

Whichever you've elected, it’s your right which I'm not disputing.

What I'm, however, disputing is the insistent attempt by some to impose on us their negative opinion of the song as against a more balanced view of it.

The artiste in the eye of the storm has in different interviews rejected the accusations that he's quote on quote promoting Internet fraudsters or fraudulent activities through his song 'living thing' as widely believed.

9ice

Instead, he stressed that the positive should be the focus of listeners. His choice of words he insisted should not be taken to expressly mean encouraging anybody to go into an act of criminality.

So far his efforts seem to have had little or no impact on the belief system of people especially in the purist camp so to say and I wondered why.

Though the double premise on which critics have their foothold namely that he makes mention of 'wire, wire, and Sase' respectively do not hold. But it takes people with a 360 mindset to be persuaded otherwise.

Because in the song 9ice clearly elaborated on hard work and due diligence. For instance, he was emphatic about the fact that money doesn’t fall from heaven which is saying indirectly that hard work is the way to the top.

In other lines too, he also denounced stealing as an act which diminishes the dignity of the human person.

What's more, he personally exemplified this by his rag to riches story.

But his critics have remained fixated in their position and would not buy any of such.

They held that the people he mentioned are all fraudsters.

And I ask what gives them the impression that they truly are except that they have information which many of us are not privy.

To my mind, they are engaging merely in guesswork based on the fact that Nigeria is a country long bedeviled with the evil called corruption at both the low and high level of our body politics.

The Internet thing only came into the picture of late.

And today we're a people prone to conclude without a second thought that every rich guy is either a fraudster or has something to do with Otokoto. I mean money ritualist.

But then as an entertainer, from what I know of the trade 9ice has no control over who he sings for especially at a social function. None has and you can begin to name names here. It's an all-comers affair.

You’ll all agree with me also that nothing can be more embarrassing if not impossible than for any musician to start vetting their prospective clients about their sources of wealth when he isn't a police officer or anti-graft personnel.

Definitely doing so will be tantamount to scaring his fans and admirers away and into the waiting hands of his competitions.

Even our elective political office holders are worse than the so-called Internet fraudsters whom many of us hate to love and love to hate for obvious reasons.

Whom they have been sending to jail since God knows when; while every means possible is being deployed to ensure there is immunity for themselves well into their graves if possible.
In all sincerity, I'm not in any way supporting Internet fraudsters or fraudsters generally; far from it.

Rather in a matter like this, I only want to urge people to refrain from drawing negative conclusions like we have seen so far before all the facts are in. It’s not only judgmental but unacceptable too.

And I'm saying again let the people key into all works of art like 9ice's latest song 'living thing' with a 360-degree mindset so all the perspectives are not lost on them.

For the purpose of art to which music belong is primarily to mirror life as it is, but above all to entertain us.

The song, Living thing, has done just that and let’s not over flog what it has communicated rather suggestively.

As far as I'm concern finally all the negative meanings people have so far deduced from the song are simply connotative in nature and not as denotatively oriented it, I believe, by the artiste himself.

So far he has insisted its all positive and I believe him in totality.


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