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On the final bars of “#BRIA”, Blaqbonez sounds an offer out to a who’s who of Nigerian rappers. ‘Payper Corleone, stop tiptoeing and come get it/ Ladipoe hit me up whenever, this how I’m feeling/ Fresh L bruh you cool but whenever you want this smoke/ Pick an Alte gathering and then I’ll let it fucking blow,’ he raps. He goes on to send shots at Boogey, Psycho YP, Ycee and Paybac. Such blatant invitations to spar are a rarity in Nigerian hip-hop nowadays, more so for a rapper who’s relatively new to most fans. But Blaqbonez isn’t new; and for fans who are familiar with his battle-rap days, this is simply true to form.

“Best Rapper In Africa” was released as an inevitable response to the backlash and diss songs that followed his declaration of being Africa’s best rapper. Such boss talk is common in hip-hop, but Blaqbonez did it different. He made the claim in a well-promoted freestyle video and has treated it as an album rollout, goading everyone with his funny use of social media.

The beat, produced by rapper Alpha Ojini, is at once menacing and whimsical, a perfect compliment as Blaqbonez takes shots at rapper Tentik (who dissed Blaqbonez with “Blaq Friday”) and just about anyone in his line of sight. His delivery is playful at times, but the punches land hard. Lines like “career’s still underground like a building collapsed” are bound to cause some deep introspection for whoever owns the sub.

Blaqbonez has been accused of disrespecting the OGs (he’s called out Show Dem Camp’s Ghost as well) and of stirring up bad blood as a vehicle for self-promotion, much like his mentor, M.I Abaga did with 2017’s “You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Lives”. One could respond to that by saying hip-hop has always been a blood sport. The best make their names by putting their words where their clout is, and so far, Blaq isn’t doing wrong.

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Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.