What comes to mind when you see or hear the lines “voice of the street”? How do you judge who the voice of the street really is? Must the voice of the street really be a music artiste? Is there an official recognized title known as the voice of the street? Or what are the parameters used in determining who and how the voice of the street is chosen? These are street questions that need strict answers.
I will start by answering the questions above the way the average fan in the ‘street’ will answer it, then I’d proceed to answer it in my own way and understanding.
What comes to mind naturally whenever anyone including my very self, sees or hear the lines “voice of the street” is Olamide, the great Nigerian award winning indigenous rapper. He actually coined and used those words in one of his old musical work and it has stuck like a tattoo in almost everyone’s mind. So whenever we hear or see those words, Olamide comes to mind.
Judging who the voice of the street really is, will be the artiste with the highest number of fans in the streets, especially the ghetto. His followership amongst people in those areas is usually great as he always strikes a chord in their body system, with his personality, his use of word which they can relate with, slangs, language, dance steps and his lifestyle which makes them feel he is speaking their minds. But more importantly, his music is topnotch and banging every single time.
The voice of the street mustn’t be a music artiste, but up until now, no other influential non music celebrity has been able to do what Olamide has done. Or would you like to nominate Bobbrisky?
The parameters use in determining who and how the voice of the street is chosen is non-existing. Why? because, Olamide was the pioneer, it was a self acclaimed title which was truly deserving at the time and the people accepted it hook, line and sinker – Olamide the voice of the street.
And no, there is no official government recognized and approved title known as the voice of the street.
This is my own response to the questions above, I will be brief and blunt. The voice of the street should and shouldn’t be officially recognized by anyone. It doesn’t really matter. What matter is that the voice of the street should be ascribed to an artiste, creative or anyone for that matter who fits the description of being able to communicate the feelings and heart desires of the people of our country, not just the streets.
The late legendary Nigerian musician, Fela, is a perfect example of the voice of the street in the early 90’s, because of the great message his music carries and the criticism he gave the government of the day. Fast forward from then till now, Fela’s music is still making sense and he is viewed by all like a prophet.