…Not the 9ice we used to know

…Not the 9ice we used to know

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As a music lover, I have really missed some sounds. I have missed the likes of Bob Marley, Westlife, Akon, Craig David, Usher Raymond, Nelly, Celine Dion and R. Kelly. Most of these names are still alive and doing music, but it seems they have gone past their best years.
In Nigeria, one of the musicians I miss most is Abolore Adigun Alapomeji aka 9ice. Once I stumbled on his single, ‘Little Money,’ in 2000, I was not interested in any other sound again. Though he was still struggling to stand tall at that time, I was attached to him just like bread and butter. Words cannot describe the love I had for him. I still remember how I was telling everyone around me about this new musician that was tickling my brain.
He released his debut album, which included ‘Little Money’, ‘Ganja Man’, ‘Make Dem Talk’ and ‘Music Daddy’. He later followed up with songs like ‘Photocopy,’ ‘Street Credibility,’ ‘Gbamu gbamu,’ ‘Life is Beautiful,’ ‘Gongo Aso,’ ‘Wedding Day,’ and the controversial ‘Once Beaten Twice Shy’.
For me, 9ice’s melodious voice and his originality stole my heart and that of many. He was so big that he was the only Nigerian to perform at the Nelson Mandela 90th Birthday Tribute concert in London on June 27, 2008.
He went on to win the award for ‘Best Hip Hop Artist’ at the MTV Africa Music Awards in 2008. At the third edition of the Hip Hop World Awards, he won the ‘Revelation of the Year’ award and ‘Best Male Vocal Performer’. A month later at the first Sound City Music Video Awards, he was nominated in the category of Best New Artist.
But for the past five-or-so years, the Alapomeji Records boss has found it difficult to even make nomination lists of top music awards. Some said his music was affected by the decision to split with his producer and old-time friend, ID Cabasa.
Truly, you cannot talk about the success story of 9ice without making reference to Cabasa’s footprint. Till date, he has produced the finest music of 9ice. But the reason for their fight and separation remains best known to them.
More worrisome was a major controversy between him, his ex-wife Toni Payne and Ruggedman, which lasted for six years. Till today, no one knows what went wrong, but there were unconfirmed indications that Ruggedman betrayed him by indulging in romantic ties with Toni Payne at a time. They said he made the music ‘Once Beaten Twice Shy’ to tell his bitter experience. This issue was highly talked about and divided the industry. And for 9ice, he did not for a day come out to deny it or say a word until six years after. He later dismissed the allegation this year, but it was of no use anymore.
Sometime last year when I asked him what had happened to the 9ice we used to know, he did not make serious attempts to fight back. He stated, “When I released my first album, I was probably 25-years-old and I am now 35. That is 10 years difference; you cannot expect me to be the same forever. Some people grow in voice, while others grow in size. I am not the same person I used to be when I was 25. So many things have changed; I have seven albums now.”
He has, perhaps, stopped seeing a future in music, which prompted his attempt to seek a political position in 2014 in Ogbomosho, Oyo State. He joined the All Progressives Congress and declared his interest to contest for a seat at the Federal House of Representatives. He lost out during the primaries, but was rewarded with a Special Adviser to the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi.
He still sings. He is now working again with ID Cabasa after a long break. He just released two singles, ‘Economy,’ produced by DJ Coublon and ‘Olorunshogo,’ which is produced by Cabasa.
Also, the father of four from three different women recently said that his 8th album would be named after ID Cabasa and all the monies from it would go to him.
He said, “I am currently working on an album that would come out in October and I would title it ‘ID Cabasa’. I am dedicating the album to ID Cabasa and all the remuneration as well as profits from the album would go to him because of all the work he has done for me from the time of ‘Gongo Aso.’ When I was nobody, he was there for me; there is a difference between someone believing in you and someone encouraging you. Cabasa believed in me and encouraged me through his platform. Cabasa is going to produce some of the tracks on the album and he welcomed the development.”
Inasmuch as 9ice’s gesture to Cabasa sounds nice, my take is that this is rather coming late and at a time he has lost huge followership. How many people still listen to his music or better put, how many would be interested in buying his album?

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