Square Pegs and Round Holes



Intellectual Property Stealing and the Creative Arts

I have always wanted to own paintings by an artist whom I will call Dom (for this write-up). Like several contemporary artists who are putting Nigeria on the visual arts world map, his works stand out and capture your attention. His colourful, fractured faces series using geometric shapes, super-imposed on the human form is nothing short of exceptional. But they cost a pretty penny and it comes with the territory. This one day, I was at a small art gallery to frame a new acquisition and I saw work that looked like Dom’s sitting at the corner like it was just brought in. It did not have the fine details in its finishing like I thought it should, coming from Dom. I asked the lady attending to me for the price. The amount she said immediately aroused suspicion. She then told me it was a knock-off. I made it clear to her I was not interested in such.

Just then, a gentleman walked in and the staff of the gallery greeted him with a lot of warmth. Seeing him dressed in polo shirt and jeans on a working day, told me he was a creative who controlled his own time. I said hello and the local curator told me, “Ehen, this is Mr. Dom whose artwork you have been asking us about”. Oh, OK. Pleasantries and compliments follow. I told him about the drama with the knock-off. He took one look at it and said with all equanimity, “Oh, I know about this young man. He goes about copying my work. I hear he is now based in Abuja. Don’t mind him”. I ask him why he does not go after the guy and he just shrugged and said “Our market is different. Those who buy my work will never speak with him or his types. So, let him enjoy…How many of them can I run after?”. I did not ask him what he felt about the gallery carrying the fake work, as I found it abnormal.

Now that is Dom, an accomplished artist with a lot of clout at the upper segment of the Nigerian art market, speaking. What about the up and coming who still get the product of their imagination and grueling effort, stolen by copycats and fakers? I am sure they will not share in his disposition. The music sector and Nollywood are some of the new areas where these fakers have now fully camped. We grew up seeing books from Onwubiko, Achebe, Soyinka and other writers, get faked and mass reprinted without permission in the 80s and 90s. Appropriate legislation did not come into being until much later. Even then, the enforcement leaves much to be desired.

Reading about Segun Adeniyi’s recent predicament at the hands of hackers, who broke the codes of his latest book’s – Against the Run of Play – online version and their accomplices who are indiscriminately sharing the book across different platforms, I am concerned for the future of the creative arts in Nigeria. What people should know is that piracy has the indirect effect of demotivating creativity. We will eventually see a reduction in the output from this sector and all of us will be the most affected. No one wants to be the monkey that works while several unknown baboons eat up their profits.

Do not receive or share what you did not properly purchase. It is stealing. Period!



Love at First Sound

Just one word

Just one sentence

Just your voice

Not your looks

Not a look

Not a touch

Just your voice

And I was hooked


All it took was your voice

All it took was the sound

I can’t see you

You can’t see me

I have never touched you

You have never touched me

Still I feel for you

Still you feel for me


I was made for you

You were made for me

I make you a better you

You make me a better me

I bring out the best in you

You bring out the best in me

I complete you

You complete me


I belong to you

You belong to me

I feel it

You feel it

I know it

You know it

We fell in love at first sound


Olayemi Shotubo -for #WorldPoetryDay

In my headphones? Soke

I’m not even going to bother reviewing this tune from Burnaboy. Would not know where to start. The slamming beats, mid tempo rhythm, horns, and the well delivered afro beat lyrics with the signature chant, all combine to make this an excellent piece of naija jam.

Go on. Turn the music up in the headphones!

Tell us what you think.



My Hip Hop Best of the 90s

90s RAP best 36

Every genuine rap head will easily tell you that the 1990s was the decade of hip hop. Every rapper or album that defined the genre can be found in these 10 years. This was the period of Biggie, Tupac, NWA, PE, NAS, Jay Z, and groups like Wu Tang Clan, the Fugees and Geto Boys. We also saw the intense beef between the east and west coast that led to the greatest from both regions dying in the space of one year.

This was also the decade of rap soundtracks to black themed movies like Boyz in da Hood, Above the Rim, Menace to Society, A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, etc. If you did not live in this decade, you (sir) have missed out on a defining period in music.

Lifestyle/pop culture web magazine,, published a list of the 90 best hip hop albums of the 90s, in April 2014, that had all my favourites in it. My best 36, in no particular order, are shown in the album cover collage published in the header.

For complete list of top 90 songs, see the link below. Tell us which album is your #1 before opening the link. Hint: It’s one of the ones from my 36 album covers.


My buddy, Falcon, pointed me out to this list of “Best Rapper Alive“, every year since 1979, from Complex. Very enlightening read. It breaks hip hop down to its historical bare essentials.  Highly recommended.

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