“Gunman: Any last words before I shoot you?
Blaqbonez: Stream ‘Haba’.”
For weeks now, Twitter has been on fire with tweets and comments similar to the one above where dire situations would be painted and Blaqbonez would only have ‘stream Haba’ to say, regardless of his life being on the line. It’s a fictional farce, but with the branding, Blaqbonez has been giving himself, it is very much believable.
The self-acclaimed best rapper in Africa is signed under Audu Maikori‘s Chocolate City Music and was discovered by Mr Incredible (M. I) Abaga in 2017. His track ‘Mamiwota’ – with fast-rising Afrobeats/Banku artiste, Oxlade – off his Bad Boy Blaq EP shot Blaq into the limelight. Ever since then, the Urhobo rapper has been very aggressive with his publicity style and self-branding.
In the late months of 2018, the streets of Ikoyi saw Blaq walking with a megaphone in his hand and screaming that he had come to save the rap beat in Africa. According to him, so many rap artistes had lost their dignity by singing and sugar-coating their words.
“I am bringing revival to the rap nation as the best rapper in Africa. It’s the least I can do,” said Blaq.
In April, Blaqbonez had dropped an Afrobeats single titled Haba and has been all out, begging – and even threatening – his fans to stream the song. For about a week, “stream Haba or die” was trending on Twitter and the artiste was making comic videos about it. Other times, he would be seen pleading with fans to help his business by streaming, as opposing the times he mimicked viral Igbo Prophet Chukwuemeka Odumeje (popular, Indaboski Bahose) by calling himself ‘a fight and a war’.
All these seem to be pointing to the fact that Blaq cares very little about who loves him or who doesn’t.
“See, if I drop a beef track right now at somebody, I can do the numbers of one of the biggest artists in Nigeria. That’s how much people love when people are fighting. If I drop a beef track, that’s subscribers to my YouTube, followers to my Audiomack. You’re gathering these people, you need to be gathering them for something.” Blaq had said to Joey Akan of Afrobeats Intelligence in an interview.
The entire attitude he is portraying is first a marketing tool before any other thing. And it has been working for him, evident in the streaming of his works.
However, at the same time, some listeners have taken these his measures personally and it has lost him one or two fans. We are not sure what his brand people and management want to achieve with this, but it is certain that Blaq cares less if he’s getting love or not; so long as you are streaming ‘Haba’.