Nigerian rapper, Mohammed Usman Adamu, popularly known as Magnito, with a large following for his ‘Relationship Be Like’ series on YouTube released his much-anticipated EP, Bars & Lamba, earlier in October but due to the rapper lending his voice and time to the #EndSARS protests that occurred nationwide, the focus on the EP shifted and as a result, this little gem missed having its core moment within the Nigerian soundscape.
Nevertheless, in these present times, as the dust tries to settle and as people attempt to come up for air, to breathe a little, to relax a little, to remember what it feels like to enjoy the little pleasures of life, music being a big one, Bars & Lamba re-enters the conversation with viral hits like “Sunday” featuring Zlatan and produced by Beezee and the amapiano hit, “Something Must Kill A Man”, featuring newcomer, Ninety, and produced by legendary hitmaker, Masterkraft.
Magnito, who is known for his playful vibe and funny lyrics takes a more steady approach to this EP. Indeed, by titling the EP, ‘Bars & Lamba,’ the rapper sticks to his true nature as he attempts to bring to light socio-economic issues, relationship drama, the need to hold steadfast to one’s dreams, and other such topics by inviting his audience to have a casual conversation with him. He switches effortlessly between Hausa, English Creole (Pidgin), and Queen’s English infusing both street and posh slangs in order to keep the tone of the EP quite conversational and to cut across the different demographics of his audience. To put it more aptly and succinctly, he invites his audience to basically “sit down and gist” with him and there’s nothing a Nigerian loves more than good gist with a cigarette in hand – as depicted by the EP artwork.
As mostly Yoruba and Igbo rappers dominate the Nigerian hip-hop scene and although we have the likes of M.I., Jesse Jagz, and Ice Prince who speak Hausa, it is rare to hear a Hausa-speaking rapper rap in as much Hausa as Mag does on his EP. Not only is this refreshing, particularly for Hausa-speakers or those with Hausa origins, but also, in some ways addresses the need for more indigenous rappers to expand the Nigerian hip-hop scene by being comfortable and proud enough to communicate/make music in their mother tongues so as to continue to foster the message of this diverse melting pot of ethnicities being united as one tribe.
The 5-track EP, released by Freeme Music, has an exciting ensemble of features and can be mostly considered as a collaboration between Magnito and the promising young artiste, Ninety6 but it also boasts a fun, highlife-inspired feature, “Ungrateful” with top artistes, Umu Obiligbo. In its totality, the EP expresses appreciation and thankfulness for all Mag has achieved thus far regardless of the obstacles that were put in his way – whether it be by the current state of the country, unrequited love or fake support. He has lived and hopes to impart some hidden gems of wisdom even as he raps or “gists” playfully.