Tribalism, simply put is loyalty to one’s tribe or social group.
It features a heavy dose of sentiments and strong negative feelings especially for people outside the tribe. It is usually steeped in blind belief, it has an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality, even where there is no need for it. And when it becomes toxic as if almost often does, it is programmed to fuel hate, extremism and lack of objectivity.
The same way Nigerian leaders have constantly deployed this antics of tribe as a divide and conquer tool on national issues, sadly, a number of Nigerian artists are beginning to toe similar path.
In 2008 when defunct group P Square lost out of the ‘Album of the year’ category at the Headies, which went to Asa, they levied accusations of nepotism/tribalism against the organizers of the awards.
In 2016, rapper Yung6ix also called out the organizers of the Awards in a series of tweets with the caption ‘Headies and Tribalism’ after failing to get any nomination.
Indigenous rapper, Phyno became a trending topic on Twitter on Thursday night, December 27, 2018. Not for headlining an end of the year concert or releasing a viral single like a number of his colleagues, but for playing the tribal card when faced with criticism of his work.
Music critic, Joey Akan had shared his opinion about the rapper in what could be termed a recap of happenings in the music space in 2018. In the tweet, he had opined that Phyno had a ‘’disappointing’’ 2018, to this the rapper responded ‘’Imagine this tribal fool.’’
Phyno had a very disappointing year. He's no longer a part of any conversation.
— Joey Akan (@JoeyAkan) December 27, 2018
Let’s put things into perspective here
Phyno is one of Nigeria’s biggest artists in recent times.
In every generation, there is that artist that eventually emerges and becomes instrumental in shaping and evolving the conversation of rap fully and taking things to the next level for his hood or region, [cue in Da Grin, later Olamide for the West].
Phyno is that man that has truly set a niche for rappers from the East, a region that in the past has seen notable names like Mr Raw [Formerly Nigga Raw] and illBliss.
But where those ones have walked, Phyno has been able to fly, taking his music to more mainstream success and gaining recognition even in homes where the language by which he raps is not even understood.
He released his debut album, ‘’No Guts No Glory’’ in 2012 and ever since it has been a steady rise to the top for him.
In six years, Phyno has blessed us with two more albums, the joint project with Olamide, ‘’2 Kings’’ in 2015 and his second solo album, ‘’The Playmaker’’ in 2016 and a steady catalog of hit singles.
But what has Phyno done this year?
2018 has been an intriguing year in his career.
Phyno has been up and about doing what he does best, which is releasing banging records.
This year, He made our end of the year list for Top 10 rap verses for his single ‘Fuwa Sewa’ and is credited with other songs and collaborations like ‘N.W.A’ with Wale, ‘Onyeoma’ and ‘Road 2 Russia’ with Olamide, ‘Iwa’ with Tekno, ‘Isi Ego’ and more.