CENTRAL PROFILING: SDC (Show Dem Camp)
The Camp and I Through The Years: An UrbanCentral Guide to The SDC.
By Nico for Urban Central you can follow him on twitter by clicking here
“Long live the underdog long as he’s under God, rest assured the sun will shine after the thunderstorm, feeling like Jean Lu Picard with these captains logs, interstellar off the wall with these monologues, so put you stunners on, the city bout to light up……life as we know it chappie see the world evolve, the underdogs are winning taking this shit by the horns, the stage is my podium so every time I’m on , speak words into existence and visions into form, son of the soil, children of the corn, go against the grain feed up on their lawn, they try to shut us down we grew stronger through the storm”
You’d be forgiven if you thought the above was an excerpt from the long lost diary of a poet who walked the earth during the renaissance era. However you’d be wrong because those are the lyrical offerings of arguably Nigeria’s most potent Hip Hop group since Trybes Men and Thoroughbreds-The Show Dem Camp (SDC) made up of Tec and Ghost.
Is there a need to make a case for the genius that is SDC?. However, because of the provisions of Section 351 of the Nigerian Criminal Code, I also shouldn’t resort to punching people in the face when they name the best hip hop artists in Nigeria and not include the Blue Blood Gang Duo. Considering my options, I decided to put words together and that was how this think piece came about. But hey! I dare a brother to test me regarding option one. * side eye *
With the mid 000's came the meteoric rise of commercial/dance music and its dynamic relevance, Hip Hop was getting butchered into diluted parts to keep it relevant to the populace, the mutilated parts were on full display via the radios.The SDC, real names Olumide Ayeni and Wale Davies made an entrance into my life albeit furtively, all it took was one listen for me to realize that these guys were like nothing on the airwaves, Ghost had unbridled ferocity and in your face bravado, his ability to skewer words together with a flow hotter than Iya Basira’s pepper soup results in a well prepared lyrical kebab impactful as the Bubba Cutter. Effortless excellence and a knack for hitting metaphors laced with African references is Tec’s forte and on wax he delivers the equivalent of the Run Damn Simmons.Tec and Ghost mirror a perfect symbiotic relationship , with their disparate styles complimenting each other,making them the Dudley Boys of Nigerian Hip Hop.
The dreamer project dropped and was introduced with Dreamer ft Abasa Asake, and you know who?…If you don’t, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to Nigeria. How is the weather over at “Under the Rockistan” these days? Lol! The project also housed Farabale ft Mr May D (if you didn’t read that as Mr MaaaaY Deeee, go back and do the needful…seriously fam, I’ll wait for you to….See? That wasn’t so hard). Lets move on then. Farabale was not only reminiscent of the typical Rap/RnB collaborations, it went further. Just envision I need a girl meets What’s Luv?. That’s right; farabale was their hybrid birth child. Other excellent cuts on The Dreamer Project included as Getting You and Get up featuring Benny P and Badman Floss respectively.
No thanks to chasing an LL.B degree and grappling with growth as a young man, Clone Wars Vol 1 flew over my head. I was sadly treated to the project in bits and pieces. However, In 2011, my fascination with SDC was rekindled when Tec gave a standout feature on the excellent Put food for my plate of Sinzu’s DaRippoff and suddenly, I was again telling anybody who’d care to listen that SDC is “the truth”.
In 2012, Illegal Music 2 got murdered at the Heart of the City. and the short black boy (M.I. Abaga, for those who don’t know) got assigned to post mortem duties. Tec opened fire with what has become the hinge of my argument that any sample influenced song is best started with a flip of a line from the original song. You don’t agree? I look forward to meeting you in the comments section (chuckles).
Then December 2012 came and brought us Clone Wars vol 2 (AKA subsidy music). The accompanying press release stated among other things that “it was inspired by the current state of affairs in …Nigeria” , in the light of #OCCUPYNIGERIA and the civil strikes that where to follow in the subsequent weeks, I could not agree more. Clone war Vol 2 rides smoothly on a path constructed by carefully selected beats and lyrics to match. The African anecdotes, the wordplays, to name few gave Nigerian Hip Hop a defibrillation.
What can I say about those features? Shout out to Larry Dojoes. POE made an unforgettable entrance on O.D, Yaylow introduced me to CAPS LOCK like MF Doom, Funbi murdered us with the sonorous hooks, Lucci sounded like a hybrid between ELdee and Freestyle, and we got an introduction to Falz before his encounter with Karashika.
The only question now is you got that yeah? (Only the OG’S will get it, it will probably take a minute for others to)
The eternal classic Feel Alright featuring Poe and BOJ produced by Dj Juls, treated us to the best high life infused rap song since the Flavor assisted. M.I. Abaga African Rapper Number one. Tec and Ghost once again mesmerized us on Jesse Jags’ Royal Niger Company, and “murder was the case” against SDC. O boy! did they beat it? Recently, I told a friend that Jesse knew they would open Pandora’s box with the bars they wielded, so he set out to stake a claim to the throne of the post-apocalyptic world their bars would bring (a conspiracy theory of course but I could be right you know).
2014, the year I graduated from university, saw the release of the Happy Weekend Sir. That same year, I embarked on a one year vocational training at the Nigerian Law school (a living adaptation of M. Night Shyamalan’s “The village”, a raging vortex that sucks the social and extra curricular lives out of you) and made me miss moments like Ewele featuring Ms Iye. I remembered my brother wouldn’t shut up because he had seen the video before me. It was around this time that SDC began teasing a project to be titled Afrika Magik. Still totally engrossed in Law School and completely ignorant of the happenings in the Nigerian Music scene, I’d take frequent trips to blog sites to see if there was any news on Afrika Magic or any new SDC release; and return without any information but had to make do with their classic materials. At times, it felt like the follow up to The Dreamer Project was not going to be a reality.
Law school wrapped up in September 2015 and some weeks prior to the Bar Finals, Falz uncovered the sequel to Karashika featuring M.I and SDC, and the question still remains “what’s a Karashika to a Neptune?” (I bet you didn’t get that line).
Participating in the National Youth Service permitted me to experience life in the former Eastern Region, and during the winding up process, Kid Konnect blessed the masses with a serving of Small Chops. With Kid Konnect as the Chef, he enlisted the delivering services of Tec, Ghost, Mojeed and Moti Cakes; with Moti Cakes arguably stealing the show with that Chorus on Oliseh. Small chops was the perfect passing out material for me, thanks to Kid Konnect’s men of course. NYSC wrapped up first week of November and I returned home excited with the news that Kid Konnect promised us another serving of ‘Small Chops’ and the master producer recently fulfilled that promise.
December 2016 was turning out like any other December. With the opportunity to celebrate Christ’s birth. Besides, I wasn’t looking forward to anything else, but two remarkable things happened: J.Cole and Ab Soul dropped lyrically dense albums. Cole had a particularly good roll out- who can forget the Ruckus created by False Prophets and Everybody Dies? I couldn’t really dive into what the Black Lip Pastor (Ab Soul) released because of the blasphemous undertone. So I pretty much had one album: 4 your Eyez Only- in rotation for the opening weeks of December.
That takes us to December 21, when Lord V gave us Barz Only featuring Ghost. Then it happened. In keeping up with the tradition of the Clone Wars, in December 31 2016, SDC released the much awaited Clone Wars Vol 3- “The Recession”. Excitement inspired an immediate post cross-over service anxiety; I couldn’t wait to dive into the album while heavily invested in the new year rice, stew and chicken (lol).
The Recession is a wonderful body of work that opens up with Ghost and Tec waxing poetic lines over an instrumental that possesses a smooth sample and beat breaks that are glorious as they prnetrate one’s ears. This stands out Kid Konnect, if you ask me, and on that note, I say that looping sample needs to be preserved in the National Museum for future generations. Rise of the underdogs, the second track on the album was brilliant. This should be your “go to” song for motivational humble brags told with extended space, esoteric, mythology and motherland metaphors.
How far houses one of the most surprising beat switches I’ve ever heard in Nigerian Hip Hop. Ewele and Getting you were Testament to the fact that the SDC guys are versatile. So I thought I had the path of the song figured out then the tempo got slowed down and the drop left me stuck in motion with my mouth agape. Minutes after a Raymond Reddington reference and Tec reminiscing on some Ghana trips, I had a favorite song on the project with an Ad-Lib to match; how far na and the question then was: where has L37 been all my life?
The stunner moment on “The Recession” for me was, Ikon’s verse. Yes I know Ikon. I have been familiar with his work. for the best part of seven years. Killz almost had him kidnapped for the masterpiece he created on We go hard. He was also responsible for the infectious Carry Your Shoulder on Super C season. He had fingerprints on all sounds that emanated from syndicate records- remember Follow me go? He was part of The Collective and part of a supergroup alongside Black Magic. With all the above in context, not forgetting production credits on Sinzu’s E Don Dey Madt, I do solemnly state that I didn’t know he had “kirikiri. (25 to life-maximum security) grade bars” and a flow to match. I remember my reaction after his verse on Remember My Name concluded, I was in a state of awe and didn’t even realize that a Mr Robot sample was running.
CW3 rode out properly. A classic evening coupe cruise- BMW, that shuffles between an adrenaline pumping F1 race to a fast and furious-esque drag race that touches on reality -Move Mountains and Love Naija, a pit stop to shed light on life as a Side Nicca, while culminating in a GT cruise to remind us to Live, Love, Laugh and Eat.
Months later, I am still digesting the lyrical offerings on Clone Wars 3. This has been aided by TEC making an appearances on the Lord V track aptly titled Knowledge. With Palm Wine EP released yesterday, we are particularly excited at UrbanCentral.
If you want to stop sleeping on SDC consider this folders crystals; and start sipping by clicking here, they may not get all the blog coverage but they are at the forefront of Nigerian Hip-Hop. They’ve evolved through the years and have not lost a step while navigating up the Everest; that is the Nigerian Hip Hop industry, everything else is a bonus.
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