Subjective poetic analysis of Olamide’s ‘Shakiti Bobo’ – By Tola Bolaji


It is often believed that Nigerians are musical illiterates. We careless about the lyrics of those songs we love so much. We rather prefer rhythm and melody. No wonder Project Fame, Nigerian Idol, Naija Got Talent winners rarely make it big in the musical world unless they bend to the tune of the auto-tuned world of Sarz on the beat, It’s Young John the wicked producer or Don Jazzy again. Do not forget that RAP is rhythm and poetry.

Permit me to refer to this man as a Poet. The Poet opens up with the call to the ‘Wobes’, his cronies. He explains that he has been a victim of some wrong accusations on various electronic media that he is a drug addict with specialty in marijuana and cocaine. He passionately exclaims that success in life is nothing but an insane venture requiring a commitment that demands daily and nightly exertions.

He further explained that now that he has found out that the part to success is hard work, he has chosen never to be a fool sitting at the backstage of life. Oya ‘Shakiti Bobo’ is a revolutionary call, O awake my brother, fasten your trouser belts and get ready to work hard. To own Ferrari, to drive around in a Bentley posh, to fly to Paris especially in your air-bus requires a mad commitment to do what no other will be sane enough to do.

In the next stanza, he violently challenges his accusers who attribute his successes to internet fraud (Yahoo Yahoo), he attacks their envious claims as they persistently refuse his apparent right to musical leadership, a product of sweat, tears and blood. He urges them to acknowledge him as the heir to the throne of musical hard work without any iota of dubious practices. He deflects their accusations drawing their attention to his resolve to carve a niche by blazing his personal trail of doing things creatively in his own way.

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The Poet decides to trade words with his opponents and throws caution to the wind as he acknowledges his affair with the sister of one of the antagonists. She must have seen something in him that no one else has seen. Or more likely a cheap retaliation, employing the opposition’s tactics of invention of imaginary happenings as he probably never even met any of their feminine siblings. The Poet beautifully describes his lowly upbringing highly motivated by his hard experiences on the street of Lagos and its attendant temptations to do evil.

He explains that his decision to ignore the path of evil is borne out of his mother’s positive influence in his life and his determination never to disappoint her. She must have influenced his passionately resolve to make it against all odds, sacrificing normal meal for the garri soaking non-delicacy. Then he faces his so-called successful pals, verbally pushing them away, guys and ladies who have forgotten their upbringing and the people that contributed to their successes in life. ‘You dey live a flashy lifestyle but your mother dey soak Akamu’ was his ferocious accusation of his musical buddies with no contribution to their families who are still cramped in the slums living in abject penury. He begs them to turn a new leaf and bring home some cash to soften the blow of poverty on their parent’s faces. Then he throws a cheap one, he concludes that even the so called graduates cannot measure up to him. Many will still say his reference was Omo Gravity but to some it is more of a pun as it achieves the dual effect.

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This song obviously goes beyond the leg jumping to meet the hand rhythmic dance steps. It has a message. Next time take more time in listening to the message of Nigerian songs. You might just be lucky to meet one, just like a song writer in Naija said, one in a million. Awake my Brother…….

Oya Shakiti Bobo Tola Bolaji

Poet and Writer


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