Addiction and Mediocrity— What Shallipopi’s Music Entails

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You do not have to like my song; there are other artistes. That is why it is not only me that is the only artiste on earth.”, this was Shallipopi’s statement in an interview with music journalist, Joey Akan. 

However, it is most certain that while he might not be your fave artist, he does know how to rile a crowd up with his music. There’s a certain addiction with his music, and how it grows on you — first you’re at a denial stage, cringing at the mediocrity of his lyrics, before you gradually metamorphose into a stage of cocking your head to the infectious rhythm. 

Yet, you still intend to argue that Shallipopi’s music isn’t all that? 

We’ve clocked the artist— he just wants to freestyle his way to the top of Nigerian music chart, make music, make money and make everybody happy. While we’re not sure if he’s indeed doing what he loves, we’re quite certain he’s ecstatic about seeing a percentage of Nigeria immerse in his ‘lullabic’ music. 

Shallipopi came with a certain kind of wave earlier this year; with his “Elon Musk” song which ruptured through the roof in the Nigerian entertainment scene, alongside the feature with Zlatan and Fireboy, the artist rose to becoming a top contender for catchy tunes, and groovy music. 

Engaging with his inner Asake energy, Shallipopi proceeded to dropping music, quite as fast as rain drops during a heavy downpour; not literally. He dropped his EP right about the peak of his very novice singing career, “Planet Pluto” EP; where it’s safe to conclude that every song on the extended play was appealing, more like growing. 

However did Shallipopi gain Nigeria’s attention with the shallowness of his lyrics and unconventional singing style? We have an answer to that— it’s his connection with his Benin roots! This writer doesn’t think there’s anything as realistic as making music they reflects where you come from, which is what Shallipopi might have hacked. 

Perhaps, the most enthusiastic sect of listeners of the artist’s music is the Edo people, the ones who comprehend fully Shallipopi’s music, his lyrics, and his Benin innuendo. Recall the craze when everyone attempted to understand his popular phrase, ‘Evian’? 

Obapluto was a mesmerizing track with Shallipopi’s cultural roots in heavy display, as well as the music video which was a suggestive Benin cultural video. The track for a while, was very catchy and addictive, the craze that came with hearing “they call me Shallipopi

Let’s break down the artist’s attempt at music, shall we? First, it’s a common notion that to dissect Nigerian artist’s music in-depth, there might be gallops in understanding it, and a very normal thing to do is to simply enjoy the rhythm. For Nigerians, it’s always ‘rhythm > lyrics’, what matters is we’re able to sync with the melodies, and enjoy the versatility of the heights the music can carry us. An effort to grade Nigerian music on its lyrics is implying the need to not embrace our music, and this is 70% facts. 

Shallipopi’s music falls greatly under the 70%— a large number of times, his music reflects the candidacy of a typical Nigerian society through the lens of a hustling male youth, as well as an appraisal of police conviction. 

We only understand his “Ex-Convict” song is a croon about being arrested and an array of ex-convicts like Shallipopi’s self, and while he boastfully admits this fact, we’re all hot steppers at the sound of the tune in a bubbling event. Who cares what exactly the track means, right? 

Shallipopi has an array of songs that believe it or not, either you have every intention to get familiar with it or not, you must somehow acquaint yourself with a verse or two. There’s the infamous “the lifestyle cost na you no know”, to “they call me Shallipopi, Pluto presido”, which became a TikTok viral sound, at a time, and still quite is. 

The country is already hard as it is, and Shallipopi’s music is quite a detoxifying drug, if you don’t reflect as much on it. 

With an urgency, and following the clamor by some serious citizens of the country to properly analyze this artist’s music, Shallipopi has chosen to throw caution to the wind, and drop his debut album— defying the one-year run of singles and EP like every other new cat in the Nigerian music scene. It’s as though the artist prior to his limelight session, has been grounded on having a tough skin; as it is right after the drop of his Oscroh and Pepperlini track, that he proceeds to drop a 13-track album, titled “Presido La Pluto”

To confess, the first time listening to “Oscroh (Pepperline)” and “Things On Things”, there was a fluid distaste for how the melodies ran along, to the infusion of nursery rhyme which is undeniably the juice of the songs. However, multiple listens, multiple collisions with the sound carved a very formidable affection for the track, that believe it or not, the song has a certain charm to it. It just makes sense when you’re diving right into the hook, or when you’re passionately singing out the nursery rhyme, amused at the ability to have come up with such a sound. 

Let me tell you my utter reaction the first time I heard “Presido La Pluto”— on a first click of “Never Ever”, there was the warm reception for how the beat was unconventionally different from the typical Shallipopi we’re all aware of. Until eventually the artist breathed life into the beat, with his “my life is like a moving train, moving moving moving”; surprisingly amusing and a call to let the album marinate in the heat for a later time, it appears constant exposure to this particular intro, has opened a space for being patient to admire the song, only by a tiny notch. It’s the elixir that the artist has managed to gain for his music. First a slander, next a reconsideration. 

Hence, this writer suggests a need to let the artist’s music marinate before giving it a dismissal. 

Other artists put intentionality to the crafting of their debut albums, like a sort of unfolding and reevaluation of where they’re coming from and where they’re headed; but not Shallipopi— the artist we’re certain, made his own debut few minutes after a few puffs, a few gyration and a need to do whatever he wants. Which also, is not a bad thing, in itself. 

Left to Shallipopi, he would like to make music as he feels, word his words in his music, enjoy the doors being an artist has provided him, and mix whatever he feels the need to mix, and produce as a song. Why do you think he now has a record label, alongside two other artists, who have a song each dedicated to being TikTok sounds? 

No one’s saying Shallipopi cannot sing, or can sing, either; there’s just a conclusion that his music is stemmed out of his feelings and a need to do as he pleases. We thought Asake owed bills and thus, dropped music as fast as people from Danfo bus would at their bus stops? It appears Shallipopi’s eventful entrance into the music scene will be a never-seen-before situation, after all, he boasted of having “over 1000 unreleased songs” 

Everyone’s a Shallipopi’s hater until you catch them at a corner during an event, mouthing his music’s lyrics, or displaying some dance moves that show repetitive reoccurrence. This only goes to prove even further that social media isn’t real life. 

Watching his recent interviews on Zero Conditions and Afrobeats Intelligence podcasts, it’s now impossible to not see Shallipopi in a very different light— and understand that he just wants to make music that gets everyone dancing. 

Comprehend that Shallipopi will do whatever he chooses to do, he’ll title his songs with whatever name comes to his mind, such as “Wet On Me”, “Jonze”, “So What”, amongst others. 

It’s a nice line up of featured artists on his album, however — from the appearance of Odumodublvck, to Zerrydl, to Focalistic and Tekno, there’s perhaps, an ounce of decency within his raving album. 

The sooner everyone adjusts to the concept of Shallipopi doing as he pleases, particularly with being revered recently as Wizkid’s favorite artist at the moment, the better. The artist will drop a track full of mediocre words, catchy melodies and exploration of what he considers ideal, and everyone will at one point, get hooked. 

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