“I love Naira Marley, but I also love belts!”
The year is 2018, and it’s Easter season and 16-year-old me was at the Youth Alive Convention, in Abeokuta. A Christian gathering, apparently. And I recently got a job at Mp3bullet that required me to keep tabs on trending songs and add life to the site by writing about them. So, I happened to have heard one little “Issa Goal” song, right before the camping.
But one day, I was walking in the camp and some guys went past me, and from their phones they were playing “Issa Goal.” That made me download the song and started playing it all around the camp, too. If people ask me, “whose song is that?” I just reply, some unknown guy that featured Olamide and Lil Kesh. That was who Marley was, then.
Fat forward to early 2019, as Nigerians started catching the Zanku bug, the name Naira Marley started trending. I told myself “I know this guy.” And then he started hitting us with big hits. From “Opotoyi” to “Am I a Yahoo Boy”, before he was picked up by EFCC.
His return from the brief jail-term marked the beginning of his reign as his next single “Soapy” became a viral one, instantly. I won’t lie, that was the time I started falling in love with the man. I really couldn’t figure out how a street singer manages to concoct amazing concept for songs in his head. Naira Marley had to be very intelligent, and once I started following him, his movement, his music, I knew he really is.
His Twitter page alone exude a gigantic level of brilliance and inspiration, and not to talk of his lyrical abilities even as he jumps on street beats. His jam with Young Jonn, “Mafo” for instance has gotta be one of the most inspirational stuff on the streets. Not all artists go re-assuring hustlers that they should make sure they’re unshakable, even in trying times like this. “Stay happy and shey jeje…” How a man be depressed and listen to that and not feel alive?
What about when he wants to have fun? Like what he did on Pheelz’s “Gobe”? “I was the highest in my class, ti mo ti high kin to wo class… Naira Marley you are trending again, ki lon tun ni Marley shey?” All tight bars. Or the story-line he brings alive in his stuff? Think of the way he stylishly made a satire out of “Pxta”, even though there were a lot of backlash.
Also the new “Instagram” vibe with ’em Reminisce ? How he came in with an understandable story-line, making it sound pleasant even though he was really vulgar with his words. And, I still gotta know how he does those off-beat lines, and make them sound sweet.
So, they said he’s a menace to the society? What? The only good leader we have in Nigeria? He quickly jumped on a Rexxie beat and expressed his feeling about the subject matter. I’m talking “Bad Influence,” which has gotta be one of Marley’s bests. Plus, Wizkid brought him to the O2!!
In short, Naira has been incredible and as a matter of, as his EP hits the stores, I will definitely be one of the first to order it and listen to it. I’ll also do a review, anyway.
Because I really do love Naira Marley, but something happened last Sunday. I tried to be a true Marlian and so I went to church in a jean trousers, without belt. My trousers kept dropping and I had a hard time deciding on whether I was supposed to sag ‘em or just keep dragging it up. I did the latter, a hundred times. I could feel everyone looking at me. I was embarrassed, really.
So I promised myself, I’d never step out wearing a trouser without a belt again. I love Naira Marley so much but I’m sorry, I can’t be a Marlian. ‘Cause, like Anthony Joshua, I need belts in my life! 😭