How Naira Marley Went From Being Despicable To Becoming A Pop Culture Influencer In 2019
‘Being A Marlian At First Was Detestable, But Now It’s The New Cool’
While in the UK, a younger Naira Marley formed a group called ‘No Mannaz’. He, with Max Twigz dropped a song dubbed ‘Marry Juana’. In the song, he used the pseudo ‘Marry Juana’ to pass a sublime intimation of a lady (Marijuana), how he wants to marry her so he can get higher.
Then on his verses, he spoke about gang life, shooting guns, and radical sex like; ‘if you don’t bang guns you’re a liar, you don’t bang chicks, you’re also a liar’.
Though on the song, Naira Marley was trying to be sublime, but his lyrics were literal enough for a child to know he was referring to smoking weed, and getting his inspiration turned on from it; and going ahead to live the gang life as inspired by smoking.
Video of Naira Marley and Max Twigz at Tim Westwood
In 2018, this time in Lagos Nigeria, Naira Marley made a FIFA World Cup theme song, to gesture a support for Super Eagles, featuring his friend Lil Kesh, and Olamide. The song was big enough to land him an endorsement from a beverage company with a remix with Simi and Falz in it. The commercial appeal, and interest the song shovelled, took him from an unknown artiste to a mainstream act. With different features, and demand to do more, he settled quickly in his new prism, as a recognised artiste in the mainstream media.
As positive as this was, a clear narrative that any emerging artiste could rode on, to beam his music career objectives, Naira Marley turned it around and birthed a vile demon of negativity, and also distributed her around his brand, hence the – ‘Despicable Naira Marley‘ was birthed.
How did he do this?
2019 has seen big shot internet fraudsters in Nigeria popularly referred to as ‘Yahoo Yahoo’ arrested by the FBI, and Interpol. The activities of these fraudsters has marked the green passport as pact for scrutiny, everytime it appears for a Visa register, or at airports for documentations.
The activities of Yahoo Boys is something well-meaning Nigerians always frown at.
Video of Simi speaking against Yahoo Yahoo.
Via her page on Instagram to answer questions, while on a live video, Simi spoke about the negatives that comes to Nigeria, and Nigerians as a trickle down effects of the Yahoo Boys activities. She explained how Nigerians are being treated because of these crimes. Other celebrities wade in and supported her view on the matter.
Off the line, veered with an indifferent opinion, Naira Marley sighted a striking assertion that will not settle well, he said; ‘If You Know About Slavery, You Go Know Say Yahoo No Be Crime’ and as a broken honeycomb, he invited a mob of bee attacks and tongue lashing to himself.
Then the annual ‘HomeComing Concert’ alleged happenstance, where Naira Marley claimed that Simi snubbed him, an allegation that Simi later rebuffed.
Ruggedman, on showing concern, took the screenshot of Naira Marley’s message to support Yahoo Yahoo, and made a post while kicking Marley against linking Slavery to fraud, that it was disrespectful to drag a race into fraudulent activities of Yahoo Boys.
Naira Marley replied to him saying he should write lyrics to resurrect his dead career. Then wrote an affirmation; ‘Anything you do glorify it’.
Then he linked the social inequality of the Nigerian society to affirming such actions by saying, the money only circulates with the politicians, that Yahoo Boys were doing well to also circulate money.
Then, again Ruggedman took another swipe calling him out for being an upcoming artiste who should not come out talking and supporting fraud, and emphasized that if the government does not do the work it is meant to do, it does not mean that Naira Marley should support fraud openly. Then he ended it by calling Naira Marley a fraudster. Naira Marley replied immediately Via his IG page, calling Ruggedman a down going artiste.
Next, he teamed with his friend Zlatan to drop a song titled ‘Am I A Yahoo Boy’, he used it to deny and rebut being fraudulent or connected to Internet fraud.On the 13th of May, his birthday, he got arrested alongside Zlatan, Rahman Jago, and two others by EFCC in connection with alleged case of internet fraud, Money Laundering, and Cybercrime offenses.
Four days later, Zlatan and the rest were released, but Naira Marley was kept behind. The EFCC Spokesman declared that there was overwhelming evidence that he was involved in Cyber fraud, and an eleven count charges on alleged credit card fraud was pecked on his neck. He was arraigned to court, he pleaded not guilty, but was kept in prison until another hearing.
After fulfilling his bail conditions, he was then released on the 14th of June, and his case was adjourned to the 22 of Oct.
How He Became the Most Influential Pop Culture act in 2019:
Just after being released, Naira Marley, knowing fully well that the media eyes, and public attention was on him, he decided to tell his prison experience story with a song he called ‘Soapy’. Not just twisting the story to suit the narrative of how the prisoners were pleasuring themselves with ‘wanking’, in the video of the song were he and his Marlian friends were dressed in all orange prison uniform, he created a dance to demonstrate the act he experienced. Then, he gave a face to his already established fanbase named ‘Marlians’.
Naira Marley’s Soapy Video
These moves again threw him on the table of morality. But the debate was divided into two groups. When some people saw him as someone that was programming his protégés with radical sex ideas, such that they could be gassed up to engage in sexual harassing activities; such as rape, some others saw him as an artiste, who is creating his art, his own way, and enjoying himself in the process.
However, for a song like Soapy which in the soul of her sound, possesses that Afrobeats infectious skin deep vibe, that will turn your bad mood to a happy one; if you hate it, but give it a listen. No matter how bad you view the lyrics with your moral compass, and the composer, the moment you press play or, or pay attention to it in a party or a club, you will be caught up in her enigma. The sound rounds you up, and you are left with no ‘Mannaz’, but love it.
The love for his realness, saying it the way he feels, showing no remorse, and being wild in the face of righteous folks, that will prefer to hide their sins, but curse out those that practice theirs publicly, grew and evolved. The Marlian fan base and followership grew stronger too.
Then he dropped Pxta, another controversial song were he sublimely slut shame prostitutes, but largely blame it on their selfishness of being Oliver Twist; asking for what their fathers cannot afford in exchange for their genitals.
Following the twist and turn of his career, the inside life and five alive phrase bender, recognized negativity, break her overwhelming spell, and cowed her to his advantage.
A group of students playing and dancing to Naira Marley’s song ‘Soapy’ during a short class break.
One thing that was obvious is; he was very aware of the things that happened around him, by toasting out negativity like bread, molding a new song out of the dough, offering it to Marlians, thereby growing the pop culture brand he formed. For every time, he did something questionable, or dropped a song that was not morally perceived well; if fifty people spoke against him, his storytelling ability with the song, dance and rhythm gesture, will add up a hundred Marlian to his fanbase.
His sets on the Starboy Fest at the 02 Arena was one of the most talked about of the concert. The moment he climbed on that stage, the crowd went haywire. He would not just take Zanku dance to another dimension, his performance redirected the show as his surprised cameo generated a high level of excitement, and satisfaction to the attendees.
Naira Marley performing in the Starboy Fest at the 02
Now, he has raised his pop culture influence to become the most effective and influential Afrobeates artist in 2019.
His plan is to end the year with a ‘Marlian Fest’ here in Lagos Nigeria, and at the 02 Academy in London is receiving a major boost as in the space of three hours, he tweeted that he had sold out 02 Academy tickets. And his fame is waxing stronger by the day.
Being a ‘Marlian’ is becoming attractive, and as seen, more people are signing up to join Naira Marley. The take home on the rise and rise of Naira Marley as a Pop Culture king is this; at first being a Marlian was detestable, but now it’s the new cool, as Naira Marley has become everyone’s favourites.