Olanrewaju Ogunmefun is a Nigerian hip-hop practitioner better known as Vector Tha Viper (spits venom metaphorically). Vector has won a fair number of the Nigerian prestigious award Headies as “Lyricist on the Roll”. Somewhere in 2015 V.E.C set a sort of record after about 3 hours of freestyle at Rhythm FM. Veteran DJ Jimmy Jatt as well as DJ Sose were present as a bit of history was made. That therefore settles any doubt about his lyrical prowess, as a complete emcee.
Vector is ready to drop his third studio album, after earlier LP’s “State of Surprise” and “The Second Coming”. Well it’s been four years since his last album. Now comes Lafiaji.
Anyone curious mind would want to understand what Lafiaji means, especially with the continuous awareness created for the album. Now if you are not familiar with Lagos and it’s geographical nomenclature, Lafiaji would be just another bland word Vector hopes to pour some meaning into. No that’s far from it.
Lafiaji is an area in Lagos Island where Vector was raised. It’s would be a story about his childhood influences and up bringing. A kind of picture Ice Prince tried to paint vaguely with his “Jos to the World” album. A better description might be J Cole’s “Forest Hills Drive”, not trying to put Vector on the same pedestal as Jermaine. But expect tales only a Nigerian kid can relate to.
A good measure of awareness has gone into the Lafiaji LP. Instagram is flooded with pictures of fans doing the “Lafiaji” L sign, with their thumb and index fingers. Awareness is widespread and expectations are shattering glass ceilings. Music critics are pumped up for the coming of the album.
But wait a minute, what should “Lafiaji” as an album mean to Nigerian hip-hop and music at large?
If the album hype and frenzy would make a good yard stick, Vector’s new album should be a benchmark for future hip-hop projects. A benchmark as defined is “a standard or point of reference against which things may be compared.” In time to come, we hope “Lafiaji” is used as an S.I. unit to measure any body of work by an emcee in the industry.
Vector will show how much he has changed or how much he can change the dynamics of Nigerian hip-hop. Lafiaji will sure be a litmus test. It should answer the above question if the lyricist has been changed in a good or bad way.
The world is paying attention to African sounds gradually. Can Vector make us an album that will be worth exporting to the Europe and America? Western hip-hop influenced arguably all Nigerian rappers, including Vector, in a twist of fate can a foreigner learn more about us (Nigeria) by listening to Lafiaji?
Putting “King Kong” aside Vector needs to prove himself as a King in the game. He needs to go hard and come strong on Lafiaji. Four years is quite a long time to stay away without a major body of work and a lot has changed. I believe fans are quite thirsty for a Vector album. Hopefully Lafiaji quenches the thirst in a refreshing manner.
At the end of the day the L in Lafiaji can mean a Landmark or Loss for Vector.
Expect LAFIAJI 20•12•2016!