Odumodublvck Makes An Ill-Advised Gaffe With MC Oluomo 

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Odumodublvck’s very essence stands contrary to what is considered proper or popular. His tough-talking rap music finely contrasts the feel-good cornerstone of Nigerian Pop, but like other artists who successfully operate in deviation from the norm, he is able to offer a path of connection to even those who do not share the deviant inclinations that inspire his music. But there is a thin line between eccentricity and ignominy, and Odumodublvck has found himself on the wrong side of it with his latest single, MC Oluomo. If it sounds familiar, it is because the song is named after Musiliu Akinsanya, former chairman of the Lagos branch of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and APC loyalist, whose portfolio of violent misconduct includes highlights from both his political and NURTW sides. He ascended his infamy to national levels during the 2023 general elections, where he was caught on camera warning people of other tribes, particularly Igbo, against venturing out on election day to exercise their franchise. 

When the attention of the police was drawn to these inflammatory statements, its PRO, Adejobi Olumuyiwa, issued a trivial response, dismissing MC Oluomo’s comments as ‘a joke’ even though he had not consulted the man to know the intention behind them. This ‘joke’ would take a very serious turn on election day, when multiple outlets and eyewitnesses reported that some members of the electorate suspected to be Igbo were harassed, prevented from voting, and in some cases, physically hurt. 

It was this man after whom Odumodublvck named his most recent single, and the first release in anticipation of his upcoming debut album, Eziokwu. He first teased the song through snippets shared on social media as far back as July, and even then, when the story of MC Oluomo was fresher in the minds of Nigerians, there were no outbursts; listeners held on to their pitchforks waiting to see the direction the song would actually take. Stepping up the rollout for its release, however, the song’s essence began to take shape, and so did its criticism. Hours before its debut, Odumodu posted on Twitter about the need to discover “the MC Oluomo in you”, suggesting that some of the mobster’s attributes were worthy of emulation. 

It was this adulation of a nefarious character and what he represents that drew the ire of his Twitter audience. In his defence, Odumodublvck has sought in the past to distance himself from the ruling All Progressives Congress, including claiming to reject a chance to perform at Tinubu’s pre-inauguration party. But even loyalty in the past provides no cloak against the repercussions of present indiscretion, no matter how many times Odumodu attempted to make a defence of it. When that didn’t work, he sought to educate his audience on the nuances of how a song’s naming after a person can simply be an ode to a side of them and not a support of the entire persona, but it mostly fell on deaf ears. It did not help that he did this in the most condescending and abrasive tone he could—he referred to his audience as “stupid people” multiple times on the night after the song’s release.

Odumodu’s frustration is palpable, and it is not without cause. The singer had, after all, gained the bulk of his popularity courtesy of Declan Rice and its national blow-up, and a strong clamour from Nigerians online that played a role in convincing Arsenal to announce their new signing with the song. And as he achingly tried to articulate in those tweets, Declan Rice is not a praise song of the Arsenal footballer as much as it is a metaphor for the midfielder’s on-field commanding personality that is so similar to the leathery aura Odumodu projects as an artist. “I go push them to the curb/ smack them, push them to the corner”, he sings in double entendre about the midfielder’s physical playstyle, before chorusing “I dey feel Declan Rice/ Do like Declan Rice” in acknowledgement of the similarities they share.

While it remains his most penetrative single, before Declan Rice, there were others. On Duvan Zapata, off his 2021 album, Odiegwu, he drew parallels to the Atalanta forward famous for his powerful shot “Muscle full ground like Duvan Zapata/ Keeper vanish before I load am”—but in usual cryptic fashion, he was not speaking of shots fired from football boots but from guns. The same album housed Kevin De Bruyne Pass, where once more Odumodu uses a specific football attribute, this time the Belgian midfielder’s playmaking ability, to illustrate how he helps put his brothers on when given the opportunity. 

While all of this is evidence of the rapper’s ability to employ figures of speech in writing as a means of promoting relatability to the substance of his music, it cannot be ignored that these characters of the past were very benign. Odumodu cannot then pretend to be surprised by the reception to the use of a name mostly associated with thuggery and violence, especially when scars from the election process still linger in the minds and for some, bodies, of Nigerians. Odumodu’s use of analogies is also uncharacteristically weak on MC Oluomo, so many messages are muddled in the song—first, he says he wants us to emulate the man’s “fighting spirit”, but it is not clear where Odumodu picked that from unless it is a euphemism for hooliganism and ethnic politics. At some point in his many, many tweets made in apologia of his latest single, he states that the song is not really about MC Oluomo but… Lionel Messi. That storyline has little going for it except two lines about Messi’s triumph over Mbappe at the World Cup, so Odumodublvck has his work cut out for him if he is to convince Nigerians that his latest single is deserving of the attention they so readily showered on his previous songs. 

But it may be too late. Streaming charts provide only a limited view of a song’s reception, but the early results do not look good. After an impressive peak of number 2 on Spotify hours after its release, MC Oluomo has taken a tumble down the chart, where it currently sits in the sixties, a very unnatural fall for a song only a few days old. Odumodublvck continues to mount an unfazed defence on Twitter, but he has already begun teasing a new single, Badman Bounce, which features Duncan Mighty. There are lessons to learn from this episode, but none more important than the ability to recognize contextual nuances, or simply, read the room. He referenced Abacha in one of his tweets about MC Oluomo, bringing up how the late dictator has now become a jocular symbol of power or wealth in Nigerian songs, including popular tracks like Olamide’s Rayban Abacha and even one where Odumodu himself featured. But even here, he manages to miss the distinctions in context once more, because none of these songs would have been much appreciated when the tyrant was alive and actively plundering the country’s fortunes and oppressing its citizens. 

And if Odumodublvck and his team manage to argue the meaning and purpose of the song, there is also the matter of the song’s release three days after Mohbad’s tragic passing. MC Oluomo debuted at a time when Nigeria’s outrage against Naira Marley, whom Mohbad accused multiple times of physical abuse while he was alive, was approaching a tipping point. As people began to consciously reevaluate the sort of personalities and music that have been granted an audience, Odumodublvck, and his new song became an unwitting scapegoat of an increased scrutiny of the meaning of music. 

Odumodublvck promised that “bitter truths” would be told on Eziokwu, which translates as “Truth” from Igbo, but he must be surprised to discover that the first of these was for him to learn. Intentions may be genuinely harmless, but an awareness of certain stirring issues and people’s reactions to them should guide the themes of music, and it can be assumed that it will in the future. Eziokwu will debut soon, and with it the potential to propel Odumodublvck into the stardom that Declan Rice barely scratched, so he should be keen to avoid unnecessary animosity at home at a time when international markets lie on the horizon. The talent to dominate them is not in doubt, as evidenced by his recent wins at both the Headies and AFRIMMA awards, all he needs now is better discernment, a level head, and, perhaps, proficient image management.