Abstraktt Utterly Bares His Mind On ‘Allow Me To Rap’
Given the current political climate of Nigeria, many musicians such as Abstraktt have taken it upon themselves to remind the people of our realities as we marched to the polls to determine our leaders for the next four years. Just a few hours into the year, legendary hip-hop duo, Show Dem Camp released the well-received “These Buhari Times”, the fourth installment in their Clone Wars series and a couple of weeks after, Falz also released his critically acclaimed album “Moral Instruction” which got everyone talking.
Other celebrities have taken advantage of social media to sensitize and conscientize the public using their platform as a tool to raise social awareness given the importance of this democratic exercise as regards our wellbeing and our future. However, only a few have been able to relay their frustrations as well as the fast-rising rapper, Abstraktt did on his latest single ‘Allow Me To Rap‘.
From the cover art, you are aware of the gravity of the record. The striking picture finds the two major contestants for the 2019 presidential elections, Buhari and Atiku smiling at each other. This seems much more ironic when you consider the fact that lots of Nigerians seem to be maiming themselves over these two candidates. Although the photo might not be recent, it doesn’t take away the fact that choosing between these candidates is equivalent to a choice between six and half-a-dozen. They might be at loggerheads now, but once the election is over, they are most likely to get back on even terms, because as they say in politics, “There are no permanent friends, only permanent interests.”
Over a laid back beat that makes his voice the most prominent musical instrument, Abstraktt turns his pain and frustrations into poetry, laying stream-of-consciousness verses with no hooks. Abstraktt isn’t here to make us dance away our sorrows or wow us with snarky punchlines. No! He paints us an hyper-realist picture of our grim realities and impoverished living conditions as Nigerians.”If I no talk abeg who go talk?” he asks.
He opens his verse with plain English, but just a few lines in, he gets disgusted and drives home his frustrations in pidgin, lamenting about the unresolved case of the almost-forgotten Chibok girls and the repeated empty promises of our politicians. He strikes at corruption and hypocrisy at different levels of the polity, particularly the political elite and those supposedly charged with our security, the police, who then turn around to use their power to intimidate and oppress the citizens they are sworn to protect.
Abstraktt is quick to remind us that this is not a political song, as he also charged at the masses for their complacency, sinking into trivial gists and celebrity gossip instead of focusing on the existential problems we face daily as citizens of the “poverty capital of the world.”
He concedes that standing up for the truth might be a dangerous sport as he raps “Ask Fela its very dangerous when you speak your mind/ you try to talk to them with your bars then they put you behind”, but he resolves to be defiant, proclaiming “I’m gonna shake it…until the table falls/ And maybe after that I’d get sufficient funds from able God”
He ends this therapeutic tirade with a soundbite of the legendary musician and activist, Fela Anikulapo Kuti articulating why artists must mirror the happenings in the society through their craft.
On ‘Allow Me To Rap”, Abstraktt is disgusted, frustrated and upset. And as Fela demanded, he channels all this into his creative juices to create an impassioned cut filled insightful social commentary. Good music gets no better than this, a well-crafted tune backed with a powerful message.