It's no more news that Vector has accepted the rap battle challenge being organized by one Willie Xo to face legendary rapper Jude Abaga aka M.I. At first, Willie Xo who is also struggling to make a bold statement with his own music career immediately put N20 million on the table for both rappers to have a face-off at a set date at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos State before their fans. As both parties ignored the U.S-based organizer, he added an extra N10 million to his offer to make it N30 million.
This time around, he even showed off the interior of his Bentley luxury car in a short video either for clout or to prove that he is capable of affording the cash. A suspected internet fraudster, Hushpuppi also offered to add N10 million to the funds promised by Willie to make it N40 million which the winner of the battle is entitled to fully claim.
Willie went as far as giving Vector a call to prove to him that he is serious and I guess he must have also reached out to M.I too but his end has been quiet. Vector made a short video on Friday in which he accepted the challenge and claimed he just needed the time and venue to take on M.I. The caption of the post on his Instagram page read "What's a rat to a snake when there' N40mil on d table? @williexo let's do this"
M.I has sworn never to reply Vector again and he has refused to speak to journalists on the issue despite the fact that Vector's last diss song which was powerful enough to keep the names of three rap figures namely M.I, Jesse Jagz, and Milli trending massively on Twitter at the same time raised serious questions. In fact, M.I will be leaving the country temporarily to kickstart his U.S tour tagged 'No Snakes' while Vector moves freely around to promote his upcoming music album.
When Vector dropped his second diss track 'Tetracycline' after 'The Purge' with Payper and Vader, M.I laughed it off on Twitter. He claimed the song was wack and even went as far as stating it wasn't worth his response. He said he was going to reply Vector on the ground that he claimed M.I's fans are dumb. As M.I's fans hailed him on social media, he actively joined the conversations and even posted the diss song by Vector. Truth be told, the song wasn't good enough so M.I was confident he could obliterate Vector with just one single shot from his armoury. And yes, he finally did on a boring Saturday when the news atmosphere wasn't forthcoming. M.I dropped his diss song and gave Nigerians something to talk about. Even people who never liked rap music were forced to listen to the song in order to join the conversation. M.I had a field day and many even feared Vector could either slip into depression or commit suicide due to the severity of the trolling online.
Real hip-hop heads knew the battle was just starting concerning Vector's abilities and lyrical prowess. Vector is a talented rapper and lyricist. M.I was right when he said Vector didn't reach his full potentials. Vector lacks a vivid understanding of the Nigerian music industry. The father of one has produced good products that the public wasn't interested in consuming. It was like selling luxury clothes in a rural area, only a few people would patronize you. M.I gave the public what they want. He made millions of people including females to love rap by making rhymes with what they could relate with and capping it with nice hooks. This gave M.I much financial success and till date, he has focused on the business side of music to stay afloat. His energy is diverted elsewhere and his rap abilities have declined considerably. M.I has tried though; over a decade of being on top of the rap game is no joke. At some point in Nigeria, every artiste just had to keep a verse for him on their songs to attract listeners. What a great feat!
His special place in the history of African hip-hop is forever assured.
On the other hand, M.I was never strong enough to deal with Vector. This is synonymous to a case of heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson coming out of retirement to fight Anthony Joshua who is in his prime. Murder will be the case like Patrick Day (R.I.P). This doesn't mean Tyson's legacy will be erased or that Joshua is now greater than him, it actually means his time is gone.
If you listen to Vector's first single 'Kilode', you will realize that he came into the industry with this demeanour of a warrior. He even started his music at the University of Lagos with rap battles. On 'Kilode', he apparently talked about battling M.I whom he referred to as a 'cool kid'. Vector went ahead to win the Headies Lyricist On The Roll awards twice, and he did the longest rap freestyle in Africa which lasted for two hours on Rhythm FM. Vector who is younger than M.I has so much gas left in his tank to carry him. One of the challenges of Vector is that he is more focused on cementing his stand as a rap heavyweight rather than entertaining people with good music. This was the same mistake another veteran rapper Mode9 made. Vector would rather win the battle and lose the war. Like M.I said, 'don't just win in beef, win in life'. Vector might not mind choosing the former.
Another point is that Vector at times gets too confident and cocky on the beat, tries to improvise with his style and ends up not making any sense at all. Nobody will go download a manual to understand his music. Who has that time?
When Vector's song dropped, M.I was loudly silent on Twitter. It was so strange. He must have been following the conversations on Twitter from the corner of his room. This time, he never posted it. He went as far as unfollowing and blocking people who didn't support him on social media. M.I must have played the song more than any Nigerian. The song had too many low blows. Even though some fans tried to act as if it was lame, they knew deep down M.I was hurt and could need some time to recover. He must be thinking of safeguarding his legacy right now.
Indigenous rapper Zoro was smart enough to enlist rappers M.I and Vector on the remix of his song titled 'One one One'. It appeared MI was threatening Vector while the latter didn't even know M.I was going to be on the song.
In conclusion, M.I will be making a deadly mistake if he accepts to battle Vector. Vector might also get a black eye but I am confident of him humiliating M.I. Already, Vector has already created doubts in the minds of M.I's fans and it would get worse. If M.I is the rat as Vector claims, then the whole house has been littered with booby traps to catch it dead or alive.
Anyway, the rap battle was never going to happen after all. In this era of clout-chasing, everybody is an opportunist trying to gain more social media followers and influence. Even Daddy Freeze who is a 'pastor' or 'spiritual blogger' like a troll said dined with Hushpuppi in Dubai and released a documentary of sorts to hype the young man. Willie might just be exploiting the beef to boost his own popularity. He is largely an underachiever in music. What does he really do for a living? Where is the money coming from? Why can't he invest those funds in his own career? He promised to bring important personalities like Tim Westwood and other judges across the world, who would pay for the logistics? This reeks of 'Audio Money'
The most significant thing Willie has done over the years is not even related to music, it's doing giveaways on Instagram is which to lure people to follow him. The fact that Hushpuppi has volunteered to drop N10 million makes it more ridiculous. Hushpuppi is a young man that has made an admirable career out of make-believe. Apart from posing with cars that are not his own, he has a long history of absconding on social media after promising people money. Controversial blogger and self-acclaimed investigative journalist Kemi Omololu Olunloyo was his last victim. Apart from this, a rap battle of two established artistes has never happened anywhere in the world and Nigeria is never really interested in making history in positive areas.
Willie and Hushpuppi are being smart, they know all these and are just playing to the gallery. I can bet my life that both parties will cry more than Nollywood actor Hilda Dokubo if the rappers accept the challenge.
Osayimwen Osahon George is a journalist and a PhD student at the University of Ibadan. He can be reached via email; [email protected]