9ice recently came under fire for “Living Things”, a track where the veteran purportedly names Nigeria’s biggest Yahoo Yahoo boys. But nearly a decade ago, Olu Maintain pulled off an even bawdier affiliation with the cyber-fraud culture, and he relatively got away with it.
Towards the tail end of 2007, former half of defunct alternate cover group, Maintain, Mr Olu Maintain released “Yahooze”, off a Maintain Reloaded album he released the following year. Though Mr. Olu has clarified through several interviews that “Yahooze” was not intended as a tribute to Yahoo-Yahoo, the lyrics glean a different truth. After an electronic siren layered on the opening moments of the Puffy Tee produced instrumentals, Olu Maintain leaps into giddy choral hook of the words ‘Yahoo’. He stretches this along chorus that eventually comes to rest with the conclusion that ‘Yahooze, na music’ . No one knew what it meant, but it was provocative.
Following the release of the single, allegations of cyber-fraud trailed Olu Maintain. This culminated several interviews where the singer had to spell out different vague meanings including a claim that he composed it as a celebration of the life of Monday to Friday worker-bees. Ironically, the accompanying video launched Nigerian music into an era of music video pageantry. Thanks to Olu Maintain’s DJ Tee directed video featuring Hummers, drop-top Benzes and bottles of champagne, stakes for boujee-ness were raised with every new Nigerian music video depicting high-end automobiles, designer clothing and expensive alcohol, a literal subversion of every salary earner’s prudent lifestyle.
While Olu Maintain continued to grant interviews to downplay the shady narrative his brand was been assigned with, “Yahooze” shot into the class of alternate national anthems. At the height of Olu Maintain’s controversy-tinted success, the singer played host to former United States Secretary of State, Colin Powell at a concert in London, teaching the former statesman the two-fingered dance move accompanying every song released at the time. Late President Yar’Adua also hosted Mr Olu at his Aso Rock villa alongside Nigeria’s World Cup winning Under-17 football team, where everyone in attendance merried to a song supposedly celebrating a deeply rooted social ill.
Till date, Olu Maintain retains his initial defence of “Yahooze” as a non-threatening walk-in-the-park Afropop club song. His ability to manoeuvre his way around the post-release media storm around the track however is reminiscent of Dammy Krane’s recent legal troubles after an alleged run-in with the law in the U.S. Earlier in the year, the “Amin” singer became the centre of a credit-card fraud scandal with private American airline, TapJets. Despite a series of cited proof to indict the singer, Dammy Krane is currently a free-man awaiting all charges to be dropped in the coming months — a plot twist that came as a surprise to everyone who was certain of Krane’s guilt. Though there is a mandatory 180-day period for Dammy Krane’s prosecutors to consider bringing new charges against the singer before all charges are dropped, at the moment, it’s safe to say Krane may just have pulled a Yahooze.
Listen to Olu Maintain’s “Yahooze” below.
Featured Image Credit: Youtube/OluMaintainVevo
Toye is the Team lead at Native Nigeria. Tweet at him @toyethebot