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How Eedris Abdulkareem paid the price for the glory Nigerian music artistes enjoy  

How Eedris Abdulkareem paid the price for the glory Nigerian music artistes enjoy  

Eedris Abdulkareem decidedly made the huge sacrifice to pave the way for other Nigerian music artistes to gain respect and glory in their career.

Facebooker Justice Okoro wrote in a Facebook post that Abdulkareem lost a lot to salvage the careers of others.

He wrote:

Someone must have to pay the price for any change that we seek to see. Just like Eedris Abdulkareem paid a price for something that Nigerian music artistes enjoy today. Nineteen years ago, Eedris Abdulkareem paid the price for the respect and glory Nigerian music artistes enjoy today, at the detriment of his own career which he sacrificed on the alter of his demand for fairness and respect for Nigerian artistes.

In the early 2000s, Eedris was the best, undisputed rapper and biggest new generation music artiste in Nigeria. He was at some point a bigger name than even Tuface. Psquare were still upcoming then. People like Tony Tetuila and Daddy Showkey were on the limelight. And Eedris’ only rap threat and challenger in Nigeria was Ruggedman. They both dominated. But Eedris seemed to have upper hand.

But Eedris’ career hit the rock the day he had the courage to challenge the unfair treatment & disrespect that Nigerian hiphop artistes were suffering in the hands of show promoters and multinational companies in Nigeria who underrated and underrewarded Nigerian artistes at that time.

How It All Happened:

Eedris Abdulkareem became the first African Rapper to make international news for his clash with 50 Cent in Nigeria in 2004.

50 Cent wanted the airline seat that Eedris was sitting on, saying it was his. Eedris refused, then security removed him (Eedris) from the seat by force. Eedris didn’t take that.

Eedris came back with men. The flight was halted.

The problem was caused by the organizers of the event that booked 1st class seats for 50 Cent and his crew but booked economy for the Nigerian musicians. They were also kept waiting onboard for almost 2 hours before 50 Cent showed up. Mind you, it was a musical show that 50 Cent was invited from the US to perform in Nigeria. Eedris Abdulkareem, being the biggest rap artist in Nigeria and an “A List” music artists in Nigeria and Africa at that time was also invited to perform in the music event.

After that altercation on the flight, before 50 Cent left Nigeria, he threatened Eedris not to visit America. However, they later settled years after and became friends. Eedris later apologised to 50Cents in 2007 at the Kora Awards. And they mended the fence. To be honest, 50 Cent was not to blame but the organises who decided to treat Nigerian artistes as if less human than their foreign counterparts.

Even though 50Cent & Eedris reconciled, the big brands and multinational companies refused to let go. They never forgave that action of Eedris, till this day. Immediately after the news of Eedris’ fight with 50 Cent went viral, all the big brands and multinational companies operating in Nigeria that usually sign artistes and enter endorsement deals with them CANCELED Eedris Abdulkareem – for challenging the status-quo and demanding equal respect and treatment of Nigerian artistes and their foreign counterparts, by Nigerian based brands. They stopped booking Eedris for shows, they stopped inviting him for musical events, they stopped giving him endorsement deals.

To further make matter worse for himself, Eedris (just like Fals is doing with his music today) decided to start fighting against bad government in Nigeria. This further created more enemies for Eedris, particularly from the political class.

In 2004, Eedris Abdulkareem released a conscious song to pass a message to the president, a song titled Nigeria Jaga Jaga, which means Nigeria is disorganised.

Nigeria’s then President Obasanjo criticised him for releasing the song.

It was banned from radio. But that didn’t stop Eedris. He criticised the government with his song again andagain, even as recently as in 2012 when he (Eedris) dropped a diss track.

Eedris’ action was apparently born out of the poor manner in which local artists were treated; foreign stars were invited to perform in Nigeria. After this incident, there were improvements, and local artistes/stars started getting co-headline status alongside invited foreign stars after that airplane seat fight/protest of Eedris. But Eedris Abdul Kareem paid the ultimate price as big brands blacklisted him.

Till date, Eedris is still paying for that activism. He paid for it with his own career so that the careers of future Nigerian artistes could live.

Eedris Abdulkareem’s “Nigeria Jaga Jaga” has remained timeless, evergreen, a sad reality of Nigeria till this day. Yes, till this very day!

 

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