Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Random Thoughts: The Rebirth

Hey BlogWorld...

Lonnnnnnnnng time no see/post :o)

It seems like I start off every new blog with an apology now, because I just get so caught up being busy that these days, I rarely take the time to sit down and write full blogs. I blame twitter. Seriously. I've become addicted to tweeting instead of blogging... so instead of writing full articles/posts, I've become used to cramming my thoughts and expressions into 140 Characters or less. Somewhere in his office, My HighSchool English Teacher Mr. Oke is cringing in shame. Heheheh.

Anyway, I intend to blog a little more this 2nd half of the 2011 year. I figure what better way to kick start this by bringing back the "Random Thoughts" feature I used to do. These are all essentially little thoughts/topics I want to share, which may not be of any real significance to anyone, but you may find them entertaining. These may also end up as tweets on my Twitter Timeline (@BankyW) at some point.

* The Home to your boys WizKid, Skales, and I, as well as a few other people (Managers, PA's, Friends, etc) who would CLAIM they don't live here (*side eye*) has some serious issues to tackle. One of which is Caffeine Addiction. The Caffeine Dependency in my house is alarming. U name it, they drink it... like its going out of style. Coffee. Redbull and/or all energy Drinks. Cocacola/Pepsi/etc. They're so hooked on it, you'd think it was crack. Mind you, I don't drink coffee. I also only drink Coke/Redbull when I'm mixing it with Hennessy (but that's a different addiction story for another time). One evening, I sent for a few thousand Naira worth of coke and redbull. By Noon the next day, it was totally finished. And I didn't touch ONE can. I'm just saying.

* The other issue we have is that... how do I even start to say this... There's a rat that gets high off of Cooking Gas in our crib. I shit you not. We've done everything to kill/capture/paralyze this rat, but it's not working. And the only thing it seems to actually enjoy is eating a hole in the pipe that connects the gas cylinder to the stove and then just get high off the gas. At least 4 or 5 times we've had to replace this pipe; so much so now that we've started inserting the pipe inside a metal rod to keep the rat from having its way. Sooner or later, I vow that this rat will meet its demise. The last time I woke up to find the kitchen filled with gas fumes I just started randomly screaming "COME OUT AND FIGHT LIKE A MAN!!!!" with rat poison in my hands. We've tried rat gum, poison etc. At this point my only hope is that it one day dies from a drug overdose. I wish I was joking about this.

* One fun thing about the house is that we have pet monkeys. Technically, they don't really belong to us. We live in a very nice estate, but on the backside of the estate is a swampy/forest-type land where the monkeys live. So they take the liberty of walking on top of the fences/walls of all the houses without a care in the world. I guess they feel like they own the place. Anyway, the people in my house started occasionally feeding the main Monkey in charge (whom we named Emma, short for Emmanuel, after our cook). One night, Cook Emma hooked up Monkey Emma with some correct dinner before locking up and going home. The next morning, Monkey Emma showed up at the back of my house with SEVEN other monkeys of different shapes and sizes. Literally, their whole clan was there talking 'bout "aiyyo whats up with breakfast..". They still pop by every once in a while for food. I keep warning the house that one day they'll just decide to break into the house and take off with our fridge but nobody listens to me.

* I'm going to Miami with my partners in crime, Tunde & Kunle Demuren. This is our 2nd Annual, "TheHangOverMovie-aint-got-shit-on-Us-Vacation". Last Year was Las Vegas. This year, we'll be in Miami rocking from July 21st to July 25th, along with some other friends. I'm REALLY looking forward to this; been working really hard lately so I can't wait to let loose.

* I'm on a mission to find a city that rocks as hard as Lagos. When I sang "Ain't no Party like a Lagos Party", I was speaking the gospel truth. There's absolutely nothing like partying in Lagos Nigeria. It's Legendary. Ask around you'll find it's true. Vegas came close, but that's cuz of the crazy factor; we were partying with pornstars and Micheal jackson Impersonators... hard to top that. But Lagos is out of control. If you've never partied here, put it on your list before you get too old to keep up.

*Whatever happened to Hotmail?

*Whatever happened to AOL Instant Messenger?

* Thanks to everyone that has supported the WizKid project, and EME as a whole. We're very grateful. Wiz is blowing up so fast and I'm so proud of him and the work he put in; this is only the beginning. The album Launch in Lagos was a tremendous success so I gotta give it up to everyone that worked to pull it off. IF you still don't have his "Superstar" album, do yourself a favor and stop dulling. Stay tuned for our next Superstar-in-the-making "Skales". We're working on his record now so you'll see his new videos in a few weeks. And then you'll get new music from yours truly at some point in 2011; probably in the 4th quarter.

* While we're on the topic of music, I gotta let y'all know that I'm really feeling this Frank Ocean guy's songs. There's something incredibly soulful-yet-laidback-and-deep about what he does with his music and its great. Right now I have songs like Swim Good, Novacane, and Strawberry Swirl on repeat. Look him up if you haven't already. I strongly recommend it.

* My schedule is as insane as ever.. which is weird seeing as I haven't put out a new album in like 2 years. I leave for Joburg in 2 days to shoot a Video for the Samsung Theme Song, then back to Lagos for less than 24 hours, then off to NYC again, then Washington DC, then Miami, then NYC again. And all this is in the span of 11 days AND before our Empire World Order Tour starts. All I can say is, love y'all very much, thanks for the support and for believing in us. We'll continue to try our best to never let you down...

Till the Next Time I blog...
Peace, Love & Chicken Grease.
~ B.W.

Monday, February 28, 2011

BB Rules of Engagement...


It's safe to say that almost everyone reading this is familiar with what that word above means... and if you aren’t… welcome to Earth! The Blackberry is one of the most common and most used communication devices today among young people. I love Apple as much as anyone, but let's not even get into the #teamiPhone versus #teamBlackberry debate. Until you can BBM with an iPhone, we're not hearing it.
This post is mainly directed at current BB users across the globe. I think the time has come for us to establish a simple set of rules for people who choose to use this device (I'm sure some of these rules will not work only for BB's. Feel free to use where applicable for any other smartphones).

1) Broadcast Messages - I figure we should start here because this might be the singular MOST ABUSED feature on the Blackberry device. Ladies and gentlemen, there's an occasional need to Broadcast a message to some or all of your contacts... however I must stress the word OCCASIONAL. It is supposed to be used sparingly, and only when it is important; infact, let's break broadcast messages into three permission-categories. Yes, No and Maybe.

YES: Broadcast Messages that are permissible SPARINGLY, include (but are not limited to) the following contexts: “Please check out my business/website/Product”, “Vote for someone for this competition”, and the occasional Breaking News Fact that you need to share (but which you have verified) e.g. the Deaths of Michael Jackson and Da Grin. RIP.

Spam –
You should have to be smart to own a smart phone. For goodness sake, I beseech you to realize once and for all, that you pay a certain amount of money for BB service every month. Please note, this is ALL you will EVER have to do to show the Blackberry server you are active. I must emphasize that THERE WILL NEVER BE A MESSAGE THAT YOU MUST SEND TO ALL YOUR CONTACTS OR RISK DELETION. EVER. EVER. EVER. Every couple of months, the same stupid spam resurfaces, and the same people fall for it over and over again. This nonsense must stop.

Religious (or superstitious) Threats – “Forward this message to 10 people or else blah blah blah”.

Random greetings like “happy Sunday”, “happy New Month”, “Happy Monday”, “Goodmorning everyone”, etc. While we can appreciate that most of these have good intentions, they generally just come across as annoying. You don’t walk into a building and yell Happy Sunday/Goodmorning/etc on a loudspeaker to every occupant. The same principles should be applied the next time you have that urge to broadcast this.

Random facts about your day like “I’m about to board a plane”, “Just waiting for take off”, “Just Landed”, “About to have lunch”, “what Movie should I watch?”, etc. I shouldn’t have to explain this. Just stop.

SERIAL BROADCASTING: please note that sending one broadcast per day is too much, even if it falls under the YES category. A couple per week is plenty. No matter how important the message is to you, the chances that we want a broadcast from you every hour, or every day, are slim to none. Again, you just come off as annoying. Failure to adhere to this can and will result in your being deleted.

Musicians, Managers and their Entourages: It’s okay to send a broadcast message every once in a while about your new single/album/video. It’s NOT okay to send one every time the song is playing on Radio, or the Video is on TV. It’s also not okay to abuse the privilege by sending the same messages repeatedly in a short amount of time. One or two is enough. Trust me we saw it the first time.

The occasional Joke that is REALLY funny. The danger with Jokes is that these days, many people have MANY contacts. So when you get the same joke 5 or 10 or 50 times, it’s annoying. So whatever joke you choose to share, please make sure it’s original, relatively new, or so damn hilarious that we won’t mind seeing it repeatedly.

Traffic or Emergency Alerts: These are always sent with good intentions, so we appreciate the thoughts behind them. However, too many times, there are no quantifiable measures in the messages, so they become spam. For instance, if there is a major roadblock (or an emergency situation), please also include the DATE AND TIME that this is occurring. I’ve gotten the same traffic/armed-robbery alerts for a week from different contacts… it’s either people are just resending the same messages days after the unfortunate incident occurred, or we’re witnessing record breaking traffic/robbery times. No armed robbery lasts for a week. Even Anini wasn’t that brave (inside joke to my Nigerian Friends).

2) Display Names
Your display name is totally under your control; feel free to call yourself whatever you like; it is your right as a blackberry owner. However, please be considerate of some of us who are trying to get a hold of you, but do not realize you’ve now spelt your name in Arabian or Greek Symbols. Some of us have a lot of contacts, and it’s really annoying when we’re trying to find you, only to discover you’ve changed your display name from.. say… Jane… to Jane spelt in Chinese, or “My luvlies”, or “a woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets – Mexico – madly in luv”. Henceforth, please try to ensure that your display name at least contains the name we know you by, in some form that is type-able when we try to search for you. Please note that the examples I listed above are actually 100% real, I did not make them up. Also, we realize that everyone can re-name contacts; but we shouldn’t have to do it just to keep track of you. Afterall, it’s just easier to delete your over-expressive self.

3) BBM Add Requests
The BBMessenger should not be mistaken for Facebook/Myspace/Twitter. Your BB Pin is actually specific to your phone, and thus should be viewed more like a phone number. It is private and should only be given out with your consent. You also probably shouldn’t attempt to add people who don’t know you and haven’t directly given you permission to. If you’re interested in someone, it’s always better to get their phone number directly from said-person, rather than to stumble on it somehow and call them out of the blue. The same principles should be applied with Pin Sharing.

4) Contact Deletion
People delete contacts for a bunch of reasons. Maybe they have too many contacts and are trying to clear space by removing people they don’t keep in touch with. Maybe they are tired of the 5,000 broadcast messages you send per week. Maybe they just don’t want too many people, or just you specifically, on their BB anymore. It’s okay to delete, and to be deleted. Times change; contact lists do as well. NO harm, no foul. There are many more people to chat with.

5) PING’s!!!
A conversation should NEVER be started with a PING!!! It is supposed to be used as a tool to gain attention when someone is not reading his/her messages. The proper protocol is to send one or two messages and THEN PING when your messages have not been read. Not the other way around. I realize this might not be a big deal to everyone, but it’s just… chat courtesy… if you will. It’s like typing in CAPS LOCK. It just feels like you’re shouting on line. Not necessary, and annoying.

There are many more rules we can add, and we may choose to revise this list as time goes on, but hopefully this is a good start to a more pleasurable experience for us all. Please spread the word. And Delete a Serial Broadcaster today.


Banky W. and other like-minds.

PS: Sooner or later, we’ll have to do a “Rules of Engagement” for Twitter and Facebook. Stay tuned. :o)~

PPS: Please never take me too seriously in these matters. I'm kinda just kidding. Kinda. But it's food for BBthought. I didn't mean to get anyone upset or offended. Just having fun AND trying to reduce the number of broadcasts I get everyday. Love y'all!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Keep The Change (A PMAN Tale)

"When you're finished changing, you're finished" - Benjamin Franklin

PMAN (The Performing Musicians' Employers Association of Nigeria) had their Annual Delegates Conference to Elect New Leadership for the next two years on Wednesday the 26th of January. The Conference was held in Osogbo, Osun State and hosted Delegates, Members and Representatives of PMAN from all over Nigeria who were present to decide the future of the Union. The conference also saw the brief attendance of PMAN's founding President, the Legendary King Sunny Ade, current Governor of Osun State Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola, as well as Former President Chief Tony Okoroji.

The truth of the matter is that, over the years, there has been a major disconnect between PMAN and the very professionals it is supposed to represent and/or protect. At its inception, this is a snapshot of who the founding members were: Chief (Mrs.) Christy Essien Igbokwe, King Sunny Ade (KSA), Evang. Sunny Okosuns (late), Chief Ebenezer Obey, Lemmy Jackson, Tee-Mac Omatshola Iseli, Emma Ogosi, Laolu Akins, Funmi Adams, Oby Onyioha, Maliki Showman, Harry Mosco, King Pago, Bobby Benson etc. Anyone remotely familiar with Nigerian Music History will agree that this was in the very least, an excellent representation of who were the significant PERFORMING MUSICIANS of that era. Part of the Union's Constitution that these great artistes put together can be found online at http://pmanonline.net/about.html.

Fast forward to today; PMAN is now a shadow of what it used to be, and essentially a disgrace to the legacy those that came before us put forth. Nigerian Musicians are achieving worldwide success in leaps and bounds, yet a snapshot of today's union shows that absolutely NONE of the significant musicians representing Nigeria are involved in the runnings of PMAN. Nigerian Musicians have accomplished great things in spite of a Union that no longer cares or caters to their needs; in spite of a Union that has been run down by greed, poor leadership and an archaic mentality; in spite of a Union that has alienated the very Professionals it is supposed to care for.

They say you should "be the change you want to see in the world". It was with this in mind, that today's crop of Nigerian Musicians attempted to rejoin PMAN en masse, and get involved in its leadership. We heard through the grapevine that the current administration's leadership term had come to end, and that the Organization was as frustrated as we the artistes were about the state of things. There were tales of offices shutting down, of staff salaries being unpaid, of rundown or nonexistent studios around the country and a total lack of organization; and so the artistes held a series of meetings. We all came up with a team of executives amongst ourselves, that we felt represented a cross section of Nigerian Music today. A team that did not necessarily comprise of the most popular musicians, but a team that on the one hand represented a solid cross section of Nigerian Music, as well as one that would be willing and able to put in the work necessary to right a sinking ship. The team included names like: eLDee The Don, Mr Cool, KSB, M.I., Sound Sultan, Ed Jatto, Efe Omoruegbe of Now Music etc.

The team made the journey to Osogbo along with other people including D'banj, Don Jazzy, Jesse Jagz, Wande Coal, 2Shotz, Dr Sid, D'Prince, Ice Prince, Baba Dee, and yours truly Banky W. Other artistes who were part of the meetings but did not make the trip included P'Square, 9ice, Tuface Idibia, WizKid and Skales. That we were able to assemble such an incredible cast of people under such short notice was a miracle in and of itself, but it also goes to show the frustration with the way things are and the willingness to work to bring about change. The purpose of our making the trip was to appeal to the powers that be at PMAN to vote for and put in the new team of leaders, and give them (us) a chance at resuscitating a failed Union; a chance at restoring PMAN to its glory days; a chance at restoring it to a place of relevance and a chance at Uniting the Body with the very members its supposed to comprise of. Safe to say I believe even the founders would have been proud at the Contingent of Artistes behind this movement, as I'm sure that's what they envisioned when they started this years ago.

What we found when we arrived in Osogbo was heart breaking. A system that is in rot and decay; a mindset that is so stuck in the ways of the past and an unwillingness to accept the realities of the present, much less step into the future. One would think that PMAN officials and delegates would accept the appeals coming from its Musicians; if they had accepted us, PMAN would automatically become a force to be reckoned with overnight as it would now TRULY represent all Nigerian Musicians, young and old; those in the limelight and those in the twilight of their careers.

Sadly, this was not to be. We came with respect on our minds, appealing to those that had been in the rundown system for years, to let us help rebuild it. We came "dobale-ing"; we pleaded, begged, offered all kinds of opportunities and the resources at our disposal. We offered to lead but to do so by serving. We offered to help restore relevance; to empower PMAN Nationally and at the State levels and so much more.

We were met with resistance, bitterness, slander and ignorance. People so afraid of any kind of change that they would rather cling on to a sinking ship than reach out and get on to a helicopter. And those that were apparently willing to accept the change, expected us to play the same old ignorant tactics that our corrupt Politicians play to get there. Ironically, what we saw yesterday was reflective of what is wrong with Nigeria as a whole.

We have one message to PMAN, and to Nigeria as a whole. Change will come. It will. They say the only thing that remains constant in Life is Change. The fact that Change will come is inevitable; we can choose to embrace it or evade it, but it will be to our progress or peril.. our development or demise. History is rife with instances where people were given an opportunity to choose either of these options, and the consequences that followed. PMAN was given an opportunity to choose to make History and to choose to change the failed ways of the past, and it declined, because we refused to stoop to reducing our standards. Dear PMAN Delegates (and Nigerian Politicians), please understand that we will NOT buy (or sell) Votes. What we are working for is so much more long term and the payout is infinitely greater than the here and now.
What they refused to realize is this: the ACTUAL Performing Musicians and Recording Artistes in Nigeria are determined to right the wrongs of our industry, with or without PMAN. That they declined is inconsequential to us. Our journey continues, but we strongly believe that they will remember and regret this day.

Our message to PMAN is as Benjamin Franklin once said “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished”.

- Banky W.