Lil’ Kesh has many people to thank for his unprecedented success; his label boss Olamide, label mate Viktoh and the good people of the internet who didn’t mind making a dance that clearly looks like martial arts, a way of life.
Thanks to the success of his Shoki, no party is complete until Lil Kesh’s voice comes through the speakers. Sadly, none of these will stop his debut album from flopping or at least, be ushered in with tepid buzz. The reason for this speculation is not too far-fetched, the Shoki master is a one trick pony.
The rise of Lil Kesh in Nigerian music has been based off many things but his skill. His debut single after joining YBNL was Lyrically, a justified single for any upcoming rapper of his calibre. However, Lil’ Kesh didn’t start to gain public attention until the release of Shoki and its follow-up Efejoku. Despite these major successes, there has been no public demand for Kesh’s album.
The simple reason is that Lil Kesh cannot be seen as anything else beyond a funny rapper who inspired Shoki. The rapper has coasted on the success of his singles by repeating the same slang inspired songs and suggestive lyrics. These songs are fun to listen to only within the space-time of their success. Besides this, he hasn’t demonstrated the ability to do anything different such as topping his own successes with more diverse music. A run-through of many dance-inspired songs and the artistes who followed the same pattern will only further prove this point.
Lil Kesh is certainly not the first of his kind. Nigerian music has always been plagued by artists whose skill set are limited to the success of whatever gained them mass attention. These guys (and girls) repeat the same style, content and delivery over the remaining course of their career until they slip into oblivion.
Terry G’s Free Madness song and style, Lynxx’s lip-licking IJGB style, Ketchup’s ragga-pop style, Ajebutter’s rich street kid style amongst others are all examples of careers lying in homeostasis because the artists are magicians who keep expecting their audience to marvel at the same trick.
Music is an expressive art form that should test the boundaries of creativity. Every new song should feel like a fresh leaf of a new book, with similarities only existing in themes and signature styles. Basically, to be an artist whose music will stand the test of time, up and comers need more than just one safe style looped over different instrumentals. This is especially expedient for the pop culture ecosystem where artists are disposed as quickly as they are celebrated. Versatility is now a compulsory requirement regardless of genre.
We have been dancing Shoki for almost two years now, we were dancing Azonto two years ago. If Lil Kesh doesn’t change anything, he will be long gone when we choose to dance to something else.