Hot Takes: The Carter Efe-Berri Tiga Saga, Ajebo Hustlers & More
the hottest pop-culture takes this week
the hottest pop-culture takes this week
It is Asake’s world and we are all living in it. After soundtracking the Nigerian space with hits since the beginning of the year, the singer’s album ‘Mr. Money With The Vibe’ debuted at 66 on the Billboard 200 album chart, making him the first African artist to attain such a feat. It is an indication of the growth of Nigerian music, which has seen its impact reverberate across the world.
It’s only Thursday but so much has happened in the world of pop culture. For instance, on Monday, the late Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest, with top dignitaries from around the world attending the funeral. One situation stood out from the occasion: the African leaders that attended the event were put in a shuttle bus while other European dignitaries came in motorcades. Conversations on the matter ranged from laughter to disagreements bordering on racism. On this week’s Hot Takes, I give my thoughts on my film and music addictions and the Carter Efe-Berri Tiga matter that has reminded us of the failings in our music industry. Sit and enjoy the ride.
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO
I find myself returning for regular sips of Ajebo Hustlers’ music. I became aware of the Port Harcourt-bred wordsmiths after I listened to “Barawo,” their hit track about the Nigerian condition. “Pronto,” their collaboration with Omah Lay was an instant favourite. Last year, they put out their body of work ‘Kpos Lifestyle, Vol. 1’ and it remains one of my projects. It is a slim project that is packed with strong attributes: Piego’s catchy, emotive singing, Knowledge’s swagger raps and excellent tunes coloured by Port Harcourt slangs.
Their most recent tracks—“Loyalty,” the Fave-assisted “In Love” and “Caress”—shows that the duo are not relenting in their mission to release excellent music. Recently, their music caught the attention of British-Ghanaian record producer Jae5 and they connected with a promise to work on new music together. I was pleased by the exchange. Ajebo Hustlers are super-good and deserve more visibility for their great work.
In 1950’s New Zealand, 16-year-old Pauline Parker and 15-year-old Juliet Hulme shared an intense friendship forged by their love for fantasy. When one of the girls’ parents demanded they end the friendship, both girls decided to murder her. It is a grim story that New Zealand film director Peter Jackson’s 1994 film Heavenly Creatures tackles head-on.
Peter Jackson would go on to direct the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy (2001–2003) and ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy (2012–2014). But watching ‘Heavenly Creatures,’ I knew instantly that it was the work of a capable hand. Through CGI, Jackson creates the vibrant world of Borovnia (the fantasy kingdom Parker and Hulme invented in their stories): it is a colourfully rich space filled with clay figures who loved the girls and dealt with their foes. There is also the fantastic casting of Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey as Parker and Hulme (Interestingly, the film was both actors’ debut screen appearance). Winslet and Lynskey do a remarkable job of capturing the friendship of the two girls: their ecstatic states and the bitter mien they assume when either of their parents tries to intrude.
The film’s ending is haunting. But it also makes me wonder about the propensity for evil that some friendships can wield. When does being close become too close for comfort? To escape the unpleasantness of their realities, Parker and Hulme find solace in each other and what should be a haven becomes a place that messes with their mental health, making them a danger to everyone in their lives. You should find ‘Heavenly Creatures’ and watch it.
In July, a song titled “Machala” snuck into the Nigerian airwaves. Produced by Producer X, the song essentially hails the Nigerian artist Wizkid and borrows its title from a popular nickname that OG Wizkid stans fondly call their king. The song was released under the name of Carter Efe, a Nigerian comedian and content creator whose skits are known widely on social media, and features Berri Tiga, a Nigerian up-and-coming singer whose vocals seem to do the heavy lifting on the track.
“Machala” blew up. It is an instantly catchy tune with a production and more infectious lyrics. The chorus toes the line of the crowd vocals phenomenon that has swept through the Nigerian music scene this year. These kind of songs are best performed on stage with the performer demanding a crowd of jumping fans to sing word for word. Given that the world is finding its feet again following the COVID-19 pandemic, it didn’t take long before promoters began reaching out Carter Efe to book him for shows, bolstering the song to greater heights including the number one spot on the Apple Music Top Songs Nigeria Chart. All seemed well until it wasn’t.
"Sydney Talker and Carter Efe offered to pay me off for Machala with 100k"
– Berri Tiga pic.twitter.com/DlMNm5ofja
— 🏽🌹♡ 🐳 @OneJoblessBoy (@OneJoblessBoy) September 15, 2022
In the past few weeks, Carter Efe and Berri Tiga have hurled accusations at each other on social media. On Berri Tiga’s part, he claimed that Carter Efe rejected the 70-30 royalty percentage that he and his team suggested whilst offering a measly 95-5 percentage. He further revealed that Carter Efe and his close associate Sydney Talker had called him to pay him off with the sum of a hundred thousand Naira. Carter Efe fired back at Berri Tiga, citing that Tiga’s claims were untrue and that Tiga had even asked him to remove another artist that he had planned to put on the song.
GOD DEY. Funny part is am not even dragging ownership with u brooo. #Carterefe #berritiga #Machala pic.twitter.com/Y7urtqUDzT
— berri_tiga (@TigaBerri) September 15, 2022
The clash between the two featured artists has culminated in more accusations and call-outs, with artists Fave and Blaqbonez making their opinions known to followers on social media. While the real details of the ongoing clash is unknown, the rumours flying allege that Carter Efe and Berri Tiga have involved the law in the case; that is a good step to sort the mess. What I would say is that this should serve as a lesson to artists, especially up-and-coming ones, to make sure every loose end is tied before putting out music. There is a general disinterest among artists—and on a larger scale, creatives—when the matter of paperwork is raised. Artists should make sure they get lawyers to draw up or look at contracts before proceeding with any deals. That way, they will be spared the regret and chaos that will follow losing the earnings that are attached to their creative hustles.
An interesting fallout from the matter was when artist Dammy Krane called out Davido for unpaid royalties as regards the latter’s song “Pere.” Quoting Krane’s tweet, a Twitter user called out Dammy Krane for not paying him for writing his 2013 song “Gratitude.” While none of these situations has been confirmed, it shows that the issue of the absence of contracts and nonpayment of royalties runs deep in the music industry. It is about time that everyone involved, whether artists or label owners, should prioritise legal structures and abide by them.
Featured image credits/Israel