Best New Music: PayBac Iboro & Elveektor Address a Nigerian Issue on “Look Me Less”
Best New Music: PayBac Iboro & Elveektor Address a Nigerian Issue on “Look Me Less”

Best New Music: PayBac Iboro & Elveektor Address a Nigerian Issue on “Look Me Less”

PayBac Iboro is one of its most Hip-Hop's most active players

In Nigeria’s ever-evolving Hip-Hop scene, PayBac Iboro is one of its most active players, constantly seeking to outdo himself, track after track and project after project. He had his breakthrough with his 2018 LP ‘The Biggest Tree’ where he delved into personal details about his life and aligned those experiences with the general Nigerian lifestyle. That has become a trademark of Iboro: rapping about who he is and how being a Nigerian has contributed his personhood. 


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On his latest LP West African Goat,’ PayBac Iboro builds on the foundations laid by 2020’s ‘Cult!,’ injecting Nigerian references into his raps about politics, corruption and personal will. With a solid Hip-Hop base, ‘West African Goat’ borrows elements of Jazz and R&B and Pop. Iboro raised expectations for the project with the singles “The Story of Hushpuppi,” “Bury Me For Gold,” “Danfo To Headies” and “Sacrifice.” ‘West African Goat’ also comes with a host of features, which includes Alpha Ojini, Ozone, Barzini, Viveeyan and Payper Corleone, among others. 

“Look Me Less,” one of the standout songs of ‘West African Goat,’ is an enthralling peek into the psyche of many of Nigeria’s youth population. Featuring fellow Nigerian rapper Elveektor, PayBac Iboro takes on the role of a frustrated individual who is crushed by the system and out for blood. It is no news that Nigeria, even though it is one of the richest in the world in terms of natural resources, is still a country that grapples with poverty. According to the National Bureau of Statistics’ 2022 Multidimensional Poverty Index survey, 63% of persons living within Nigeria (133 million people) are multidimensionally poor. This is no thanks to years of poor government policies and institutional mismanagement. Across Nigeria’s music spheres, artists have lamented the situation, giving voice to the plight of the masses.

Too many wahala for my head/Me I need cash/Quick fast/Need breakfast/I go take from my fellow man,” PayBac Iboro raps over Charlie X’s production, setting the stage for the drama that is to follow. It is a reality that is all too familiar: many of the Nigerian youth population, noticing the lopsided policies that have been in play for a long time, seek other avenues to better their lives. In some cases, they resort to crime, thereby targeting other innocent citizens. “I go wait for the junction/Catch anyone wey dey come from the junction/Collect his phone and his wallet/And with a gun he cannot run,” Iboro continues

Elveektor, another promising rapper on the scene, is Iboro’s potential victim. Like Iboro, Elveektor has been on the grind, releasing song after song and curating projects. His 2020 project ‘Nsibidi 2’ proclaimed his Igbo roots as well as his determination to succeed. Although he raps mostly in Igbo, the verve he employs in his vocals is undeniable. On “Look Me Less,” Elveektor is accosted by PayBac Iboro and, after failing to find the humanity in Iboro’s character, he charges into aggression mode, rapping, “Oga 1K dey okay for dis Buhari time/ka m gba gi eziokwu/I na waste my time/Jiri nwayoo before m gosi gi onye m bu.” It is a reality of the present state of things: the Nigerian way of cooling down another person’s aggression is hitting them with your own aggression.

Charlie X (a.k.a. CHx or Charlie Xtreme) is a revered name in Nigeria’s underground Hip-Hip circuit. His resume includes the likes of PayBac Iboro, Boogey and LadiPoe, among others. The producer, singer, rapper and songwriter is known for his samples and hard-hitting beats. On “Look Me Less,” there are simmering melodies underneath the bass, which keeps the production far from stale and allows the Iboro and Elveektor to settle into pockets of flow. Charlie X has refused to be shoved into the “Hip-hop Producer” box and insists that he is, at the core, a music maker.

Elsewhere, Elveektor’s aggression doesn’t dissuade PayBac Iboro’s character. “Give me your money if you no want problem/Give me your phone if you no wan die today/Reason why I dey thieve na the government,” Iboro raps. Following Elveektor’s stubbornness to part with his belongings, he ends his verse with “I go just keep quiet make the gun talk,” reminiscent of the police killings that spurred the #EndSARS protests in October 2020, where thousands of Nigerians, championed by the youth population, challenged the injustices meted on them by the country’s security agencies. 

Weeks ago, Nigeria’s presidential and gubernatorial elections was held, leaving citizens with mixed feelings about the cases of violence, rigging and tribalism. PayBac Iboro’s “Look Me Less” is a snapshot of the issues bedevilling the country; it shows that citizens are also as culpable as the government they blame for their woes as well as the trauma that many Nigerians carry around: quick to attack and quicker to return the aggression. With “Look Me Less” and ‘West African Goat,’ PayBac Iboro makes no mistake highlighting the condition of being a Nigerian, in all its glory and pain.

Stream West African Goat’ below.

Featured image credits/NATIVE