Naira Marley: What’s so different about him? – By Fhaysal



Afeez Fashola aka Naira Marley is fast becoming a household name in Nigeria, of course this is
something all celebrities wish for except that, in the case of Naira Marley, he is becoming a
blacklisted household name. A lot of parent wants to get rid of his music from the ears of their
children, many people have come out to speak against the type of music Naira Marley makes. It
makes you wonder, what is so different about Naira Marley’s songs that makes parents very
cautious of his music. Today, we will talk about Naira Marley and his type of music, and what makes
him an eyesore to most Nigerian parents.

Naira Marley is a Nigerian artist that was born in May 9, 1994. Naira Marley moved out of Nigeria to
live in England at the age of 11, where he graduated with a distinction in business from Peckham
Academy. Naira Marley ventured into music when he discovered his talent, with the support of his
friends he made his first mix-tape titled “Marry Juana” in 2014, before releasing his first EP in 2015
titled “Gotta Dance”. Naira Marley gained his first recognition in 2017 when he featured Olamide
and Lil Kesh on the “Issa Goal” song which went on to become the Super eagles theme song at the
2018 world cup competition. The song was later remixed and it featured Nigerian top artists like Falz
the bad guy, Simi and Slimcase. However, this was not the defining moment for the “Soapy” singer
as many Nigerians still didn’t know of his existence as of the time. Naira Marley’s first nationwide
recognition came after he released his hit song “Am I A Yahoo Boy” on May 3, 2019 featuring Zlatan
Ibile. The song was received with mixed feelings, it was a sure hit in clubs as it was played over and
over in clubs and parties thus making Naira Marley, a widely recognized artist. However, this song
invited the prying eyes of the EFCC which led to the arrest of Naira Marley along with Zlatan Ibile
and some other friends on the same day. After a tough legal battle, Naira Marley was released after
spending some time in prison and this inspired his next hit song “Soapy” which was released on June
27, 2019. This song talked about his experience in prison and it serves as awareness to the outside
world as to what most prisoners go through. Naira Marley won the Viewer’s choice award on
January 11, 2020 for his “Soapy” song at the 2020 Soundcity MVP award. After “Soapy”, Naira
Marley became widely recognized in the music industry he went on to feature top artists in his
album “Lord of the Lamba” which was released in December 2019, and was given the opportunity to
perform in one of the biggest shows in the 02 Arena courtesy of Wizkid.

This sounds like the tale of a revolutionary singer like the likes of Bob Marley and Fela. The only
difference is the content of Naira Marley’s songs. Naira Marley “Soapy” song talked about the life of
prisoners in one aspect people will prefer to ignore. His song focused on the sexual need of prisoners
and the urge to masturbate, the song was widely known for a particular dance step that portrays the
dancer making a “jerking off” gesture. This did not sit well with critics as they made their opinions
known wide and clear, but this only pushed Naira Marley down the path of making more obscene
and morally corrupt songs that mainly portrays sex, party and alcohol. However, argument can be
made to the fact that most Nigerian songs from other artist also portrays these social vices that
threatens the moral standard of Nigerians, so why is Naira Marley used as a scape goat. There are
lots of reasons why many people not only hate Naira Marley music, but also see him as a nuisance.
One of them include a controversial incident that happened in early 2019 when he showed his
support to Yahoo boys on his Instagram post. A lot of people called out to him but he stood on his
grounds and was adamant on his argument that the white people that were being scammed had it
coming. The issue even led to a fight between him and Simi after which he released his hit song “Am
I A Yahoo Boy”, which later led to his arrest.
However, the major reason Nigerian parents see Naira Marley as a nuisance is the type of influence
he has over the younger generation. Naira Marley has a controversial fan base known as the
“Marlians”. This like every other fan base are devout followers and do everything their favorite artist
does which includes copying some of his lifestyle which does not go in line with moral standards of
an average Nigerian from a good home. Majority of the true Marlian are hoodlums and touts while
the few educated ones acts as such, there are few features that differentiate a Marlian from an
average person. Some of them include not wearing of belt, not wearing of underwear, provocative
and sexual dance steps and so on. However, there is no proof Naira Marley endorses these morally
degrading behaviors personally, but one thing he has failed to do is to come out and advise against
such behaviors which can be concluded as supporting them himself. Naira Marley is seen today as
not just an artist but a nationwide symbol of rebellion against the high moral standard of Nigeria.
This is one of the reasons why his fan base keeps growing as it gives people an outlet to rebel against
the old moral standard that has kept them shackled for years. Naira Marley is a great artist with
good musical talents, but his contents are not home friendly and he may not be the best choice for a
role mode. However, that doesn’t make him any more different than most of of our Nigerian artists,
the one factor that singles him out as the black sheep is his outspokenness!


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