Singer Shallipopi has documented his mainstream rising with ‘Presido La Pluto’
At a time when Afrobeats seems to hit the creative limits of its exploration of the Amapiano South African import, Shallipopi emerges with another domestication of Hip Hop that rocketed him to mainstream success.
Through an infusion of his Benin heritage, his chatty rap style, and an insistence to narrate his inner-city experiences in a manner that leaves little to the imagination, Shallipopi is the latest polarizing figure in the Nigerian music industry.
His debut EP ‘Planet Pluto’ churned out 4 hit songs out of 6 tracks. That’s an output that comprehensively shows that his music was accepted by the mass market irrespective of the fact that it might not have passed the morality and quality test of some listeners.
With his stocks high and his presence in high demand, Shallipopi is aiming to solidify his presence in the Nigerian music framework. Despite being just months into his career, Shallipopi unveiled his label Plutomania Records which already has two artists on its books including his younger brother Zerrydl.
His debut album, ‘Presido La Pluto’, documents his mainstream dominance by offering large pieces of the breakout star just in time for the December festive period.
With listeners eating out of his palms, Shalipoppi is living in a different world he likes to call Pluto. A world over which he presides and one he invites listeners to explore with him.
‘Presido La Pluto’ documents Shallipopi’s success in the mainstream propelled by his peculiarities. Peculiarities that when strung together, don’t deliver a great project, but is sufficient to extend his moment in the limelight.
On his debut album ‘Presido La Pluto’, Shallipopi doubled down on his distinctive rap technique which involves more talking than the fast and structured rhythm and poetic style that forms what’s generally accepted to be rap.
He spotlight his Benin heritage while sharing tales of his inner city experiences across 13 tracks tied together through Amapiano log drum.
Like several artists before him who have enjoyed mainstream success, Shallipopi seeks to offer listeners a good time. To do this, he shares with listeners the lifestyle and experiences he believes form a good time.
In a society where money is the ultimate decider, Nigerian artists both mainstream and indigenous are preoccupied with singing about wealth and the personalities that command it. For Shallipopi, this is Elon Musk, the world’s richest man after whom he names a song on which narrates his desire for wealth in the digital world Musk is shaping.
Shallipopi’s search for a good time requires funding which he doesn’t hesitate to resort to undesirables to find. He owns up to this through his fixation with cryptocurrencies and his allusion to bombing websites like Afghanistan both of which are popular parlances in the internet fraud language. That’s not to mention his infamous arrest by Nigeria’s financial crime commission.
With the resources to fund the lifestyle he desires, Shallipopi doesn’t only seek to lead such a lifestyle, like the quintessential Hip Hop act, he wants everyone to know how good he has it while relentlessly talking down to less successful peers. In ‘Evil Spirit’, he talks about steadily receiving crypto wallets while drawing a line between himself and his detractors. He alludes to famous Hollywood crime figure Tony Montana and Nigeria’s wealthy socialite Obi Cubana in what captures his drive for success and the flamboyant way he aims to show said success.
Cut from the same cloth as American Hip Hop stars whose reality is shaped by life on the fringes of society, Nigerian Street music packs similar properties and Shallipopi’s music is a manifestation of such reality. Like the legendary N.W.A who came ‘Straight Outta Compton’, Shallipopi is Stright Outta Benin and it’s the reality of his city that he aims to share in its rawest form as he says in one of the best records on the song ‘More Than Me’. A song on which he favours the peculiar Benin pidgin accent over the more refined orchestra that’s popular in the Nigerian mainstream.
Shallipopi’s music mirrors a section of society and popularity compels many listeners to experience this side of society they would rather ignore. When he isn’t alluding to internet fraud, Shallipopi is talking about his sexual escapades and approach to love in a way that presents the worldview of a section of society bold and honest enough to own up to the driving force of materialism.
He teams up with fellow rave of the moment ODUMODUBLVCK for ‘Cast’ where they narrate their trysts in the most vulgar form. In the party-starting anthem ‘Oscroh’ he gleans from nursery rhymes while sharing his preference for prostitutes, psychedelics, and fast cars. He repeats these sentiments in the most graphic form in ‘Wet on Me’ with his brother Zerrydl.
While life on the fringes of society has made Shallipopi desirous of life’s material pleasures at a young age, his desires aren’t entirely inspired by personal gratification. The need to step up and break his family free of poverty played a role as Shalippopi pointed out in the rap cut ‘Jungle’.
Shouldering responsibility at a young age in a society where less is given to those who need it most and where money is the ultimate decider is what shapes Shallipopi and makes him a ghetto youth determined to share the reality of the inner city.
And now that he has the ears of the nation, Shallipopi is aiming to make the most of it. With Afrobeats enjoying an international commercial boom, Shallipopi’s music has reached listeners in different countries and he teams up with South African music star Focalistic for his first international collaboration.
The nexus of his music is driven by the reliability it offers both in its thematic preoccupations and the use of mainstream defining Amapiano elements. And while this forms the backbone for his debut album, there are flashes of his ability to deliver something different and even more sustainable than the momentary gratification his music offers Afrobeats fleeting consumer base. Songs like ‘More Than Me’ and ‘Iyo’ show his ability to deliver more Pop leaning records which is an area he could thrive in as his music carries more Pop than Hip Hop properties.
Overall, ‘Presido La Pluto’ documents Shallipopi’s rise as he attempts to solidify his presence in the industry through his peculiarities. These peculiarities when strung together don’t deliver a great project but it does extend his moment in the frontline.
Finally, while his music like that of many other Street Hop stars in the history of Nigerian mainstream are notable moments that eventually run their course and are outgrown by listeners, Shallipopi has made his mark in Afrobeats Street Hop legend. He came, he saw, and he conquered. Now, it’s time to sit back and watch what he makes of the moment.