Bicycle stuntmen, a well-used, ‘old-school’ DJ console and a spatter of millennials clad in 90s gear, coloured what could arguably be the biggest hip-hop event in Lagos, Nigeria.
The Kulture Event Lagos.
The remnant of a discordant system constantly vying for recognition in a largely Afro pop-skewed Nigerian music industry, the once celebrated rap culture is slowly losing its vibe.
The organizers of the Kulture Event Lagos, despite the glaringly dismal rap statistics have decided to take a stand for rap music in Nigeria.
A somewhat shaky stand.
Something no one else is willing to do much about these days. Except maybe sing about it.
The outcome of this stand is the maiden edition of the Kulture Event, first of her kind, organized by curators of The renowned Rap Kulture Radio Show on one of Lagos’ finest stations, Rhythm 93.7 FM.
For a rap-centered gig, the turnout was impressive and surprisingly eclectic. Everyone had made an appearance, probably just to see what a rap competition looked like.
Before the event itself kicked off, a sizeable number of rap hopefuls had gathered outside the venue for a hurriedly-arranged ‘pre-show rehearsal’.
A last chance to flex their lyrical muscles and maybe get a feel of the opposition.
Their outfit, layered with gold chains and oversized bomber jackets was reminiscent of another time. A time when hip-hop was still cool.
When rap was still a thing.
Braving this illogical trend, the contestants had summoned courage to show up in a rap challenge that promised one of their kind a brand new car and some others a video deal.
This for them was a really big deal. Something they were passably sure would not see a second season.
“We might as well give everything, right?” one contestant boldly declared.
Five teams, each containing 6 rap contestants took the stage one after the other, as the crowd cheered their mastery of the beat and their resourcefulness with words
True to hip hop tradition, the crowd was given the power to choose the winners from each team. A feat that involved a ludicrous amount of screaming and gesticulating. In a way, it heightened the frenzy and got everyone’s juices flowing.
Amidst the contagious fanfare, there were special performances by rap veterans like Ill Bliss and Terry Tha Rapman. A move that helped cement the event as the authentic hip-hop destination.
The star-studded guest appearances didn’t stop there.
The audience got a glimpse of HipHop Legend/Entrepreneur, Ambassador Elajoe & Iconic HipHop Rap Duo, Show Dem Camp; all under one roof.
Fast forward to the end of an amazing hip hop show and the entrée was missing.
After waiting for hours to bend the knee to one winner amongst the group of battle-scarred, talented, rap contenders that graced the Kulture Event stage; we were left in the dark.
We were however promised that 10 shortlisted candidates would be announced; something about selecting them post-event to ensure the right fit. Responses to when the promised prizes would be presented to the winner was comically vague.
But in my optimistically-coloured view, the event is still a win for the culture. For rap music in Nigeria.
Because someday soon, the revolution will definitely be televised.