The Greatness of Nigerian Music – Yemi Alade

In a male dominated industry, Yemi Alade thrives. She is an icon, a good example showing that gender regardless, when you’re good, you’re good.

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Yemi Alade’s only problem is she’s too talented, and woke. Which is good because those are enviable problems. Problem goals really.

2013 is the year she rose to fame. After hit single ‘Johnny’, her life has not been the same. Thankfully, she did not turn out to be a one-hit wonder, a la W4 Kontrol, as she has been consistently blessing us with quality music since then.

Yemi Alade’s style is really something. Her songs are generally up-tempo and very dance-able, however, this can prove to be an issue as it sometimes distracts listeners from the conscious messages hidden within the lyrics. A somewhat in-depth review of her lyrics reveals this.

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Johnny leave me follow Cynthia
And i don’t know what to do
And he talk say ‘I no do am’
Like the way Cynthia dey do
Johnny give Uche belle
He talk say he wan marry Nene
Nwokem ke di fe neme
Johnny mo, johnny mo
I’m looking for my johnny eh

– Johnny, 2013

Arguably her best song till date,  Johnny was perfect. The video was even better, hot damn! The chorus is at first glance, complicated. However, with enough time and resources, this scholar was able to understand the subliminal messages embedded within. In this chorus, Yemi Alade tells the story of her lover, Johnny, who is a cheating, two-three-even more-timing bastard. Johnny left her for Cynthia and she didn’t know what to do. He even denied being with Cynthia when confronted, as did Cynthia which suggests he must be manipulative. In addition to this, Johnny impregnated Uche while still dating Yemi and promised to marry Nene. Basically, Johnny is god-scum. The knowledge of this very painful experience Yemi Alade must have gone through makes one really think. How do you go through that and still come out of it unbroken? How do you go through all that and still maintain your sanity; even go as far as become one of the biggest music artistes in the country? Really inspiring.

Yemi Alade is talking to women who may have experienced being jilted; women who may have been cheated on, or made to look like Boo-Boo the Fool by men. She’s telling women to not let it get to them and urges them to, like a phoenix, rise from the ashes. ‘Nwokem ke di fe neme’ – She also advises women to be woke, as in ‘nWOKEm’, to be woke and be able to tell when their men are moving funny. Finally, she tells men to not be scum. What a beautiful soul she has!


I know it is our loving you want(take it)
Se na my body you need(stop it)
Cause I know you like Nkechi jollof
I know you like my beans
I know that she give you fufu; You put am for my soup
Baby what you gonna do
I say no do me tumbum
I no come here for tumbum

– Tumbum, 2016

Obviously, men did not take Yemi Alade’s advice from Johnny seriously and so she returned 3 years later with ‘Tumbum’, repeating herself and recounting her experience with another scum guy. While this is nice of her, it is proper sus. You mean she didn’t take her own advice and still fell victim to a bad man? Tragic. This is why Tumbum is a problematic song. It raised questions about Yemi Alade’s genius.

She says some guy took Fufu from Nkechi and put it in her soup. The nerve! And even worse, he likes Nkechi’s Jollof. How are you liking another woman’s Jollof?! She also says he can take her love but not her body, which in this scholar’s opinion is shady and manipulative.

Yemi Alade rounds off the chorus by saying she is not her for games, here for tumbum. Tumbum depicts the juxtaposition of mephobia and ebullient callipygian acumen as well as nidificative usufruct. Very deep message.

Koffi Anan,
Let me see you do the Koffi Anan

If e be rap, e be single
If e be anything you want do alingo

– Koffi Anan, 2015

Sigh. That was this scholar’s initial reaction to the lyrics of this song. It should be noted that this scholar has not listened to the song, however he has studied the lyrics so his analysis still counts.

Koffi Anan is a Ghanian diplomat who served as General Secretary of the UN. He is also a philanthropist, a good guy in general. Yemi Alade’s message to the youth in her song ‘Koffi Anan’ is quite simple. She tells the Nigerian youth to be like Koffi Anan when they grow up. She urges them to work hard and read their books so they can grow up to be men and women of impact. She also says she wants this to be a reality – ‘Let me see you do the Koffi Anan’.

‘If e be rap, e be single, If e be anything you want do alingo’. So very sorry but this particular line makes no sense. This scholar has tried severally to see the wisdom in this line but said wisdom is non-existent. This was another sus move by Yemi Alade.

If you love me you go buy me Ferrari
If you like me you go pay me salary
Cos i love you no be mouth oh

– Ferrari, 2016

See as my waist dey go, na only you fit to make me throwaway See as my waist dey go, na only you fit to make me roll eh

– Tangerine, 2015

Both songs, Tangerine and Ferrari, carry the same message. Yemi Alade finally accepted that men have to be scum. She understands that nothing she says can change it and so she urges women to at least, get something from such men. While the timeline is shady, it suggests she came to the realization later in life. She basically advises women to ask for money and good stuff like a Ferrari, ergo finesse men; after all, I love you is not by mouth. Can’t fault that really. Being a virtuous woman with good morals, she goes on to remind women to only ‘pop it for a real nigga’. We see this where she says ‘Only you fit make me throwaway, only you fit make me roll eh’. In simpler terms, make it roll for a guy that is being serious with you.

Yemi Alade is a gem. Being a country with many unfortunate stuff going on, Yemi Alade is our silver lining. In our country that has many dark clouds, she is our ray of sunshine. An inspiration to both men and women worldwide, an example for young girls everywhere. A queen! Oh, she speaks french too. Oui Oui!

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