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Perhaps, we will not remember this but once, the alternative once had its moment as a major boat rowing the mainstream.

Efemena Mukoro has been into music since the early 2000s as “Ejay” but it was in 2007 Blackmagic the person and Blackmagic the artiste was born; burning a flame in the mind of he who conceived it. Signed to Syndik8, his debut song Tomorrow which was released in 2010 was the first song: the one which revealed the persona; the easily groovy person whose artistry seemed a cocktail of some sorts. His baritone voice could go as slowly as a gentle sway to eighties music and it could equally break into a faster paced rapping, quite quirky too. This, he remarked in Repete when he sang ‘Blackmagic repete, won sé dada, won sé jéjé.

Armed with more than a weapon in his arsenal, Blackmagic set out to conquer the world, and conquer did he. On Rainbow, there is a classic vibe to his hook and his verses are delivered with a lightness that co existed with the general feel of the song. This has been his greatest strength: fusing his rap into the singing so that they seem to be no struggle for dominance. Whilst his contemporaries were employing the services of vocalists to perform hooks, Blackmagic was taking matters into his hands (or voice, rather).

Image result for images of ejay black magic

Released in 2011, Blackmagic 1.0 his debut album featured Rainbow, and had Saeon on a track. With the genius of Ikon’s (with whom he is a co member in the group Three Wise Men) production, Blackmagic 1.0 had favourable reviews from critics, with Ayomide Tayo remarking how “an album of that many genres shouldn’t add up to make beautiful music, but for some inexplicable reason, the artiste makes it happen”. He was right: throwing different sounds so sharp in contrast was a no no but Blackmagic somehow wielded these genres as footnotes to further the plot – his music. It was a Thanos moment of having the stones come together.






Nothing however, lasts forever and on his sophomore, Blackmagic 2.0, he would address his much publicized split with Syndik8 records. According to reports, Lynxxx had pulled one on him by offering a contract, but not the one he wanted. Blackmagic thought he deserved an executive role within the label which he’d done so much to prosper. But the boss thought otherwise. The split led to the formation of Based on Belief, an independent label which stood as a moral figurehead than an actual business enterprise. He was beginning to chant BOB a lot and there was a rallying around him and his music, no doubt helped by the success of singles Confam and Repete.






 

  Image result for images of ejay black magic

With the release of his Blackmagic 2.0, the artiste confirmed his stay amidst us, having gone through the common – and unfortunate – artiste/label struggle. With lyrics (on My Niggas) like ‘came through with the same army, I only say names that are worth mentioning/to elevate I think there are some agreements worth entering and some just wanna make me say some shit worth censoring/dear fuckery to whom are well accustomed, I really wanna say truly you’re not welcome/when you talking about the friends I’m with/love and loyalty, don’t give a f*ck about your Benjamins/B.O.B over everything, believe’, Ejay was placing his destiny in his own hands, and he was taking no prisoners.

Based on belief, in the streets it’s on
Syndik8 not really, all I need is IKON
      My Niggas

Encompassing virtues such as hustle, loyalty and respect, these which we’ve come to appreciate over the years, Blackmagic emerged as the good cop in the days. The album itself, a fifteen track masterpiece boasted pre released hits such as Confam and Repete and had a couple more (‘Amnesia’, ‘Body’ and ‘Fantasy’) which fared relatively well in the markets. The album’s bread and butter however, was Pass You By and Africa. Whilst the latter was a late bloomer, the former which featured a hook from the Musical Taliban, Oritse Femi was like wildfire in harmattan. Everybody caught the vibe and that hook became the common denominator with which we haggled God for blessings.

The trio of Vector, Phyno and Reminisce turned up for the remix of the heavy bass produced Africa, a catchy song which enjoined us to take it easy, and in the following lines referencing a Maths teacher and finally, Africa. With their better verses in a while all featuring on the song, everything seemed to be coming together for Blackmagic: an alternative artiste getting booked at major events, getting the radio plays, featuring in top tens. It was as M.I advised in Amnesia: he stood out to unseat them.

With his debut album featuring just four artistes, Blackmagic went on with making music this time, more open to collaborations. In 2015, he released an half hour long EP with the prolific Kid Konnect: Black Friday. Bringing to a trilogy his releases which all featured the first word (black) of his famed musical persona, – he still referred to himself as Ejay – he had his foot firmly placed in the industry and this time, he featured quite a lot. (N.A.T.M.S featured M.I, Ice Prince and Jhybo) The idea for Black Friday must have been lightness; for the purpose of a Friday evening but it didn’t hit such lofty heights commercially, as it must have meant to do. Levelz and Peace Sign had its moments but there were no Repete or Pass You By.

Years on, Blackmagic, like his name suggests, has sucked himself into thin air it seems. In 2018 and in much parts of the previous years, his music hasn’t had the same influence as it used to. In 2016, Wonder which featured Fetty Wap, Like This (ft. Seyi Shay) and Loyal, were good songs no doubt, but no one seems to be paying attention, about 6 months ago, He gave us “No Need” with this synopsis and epilogue. 


This is not your typical romantic song but instead an exploration of the complicated layers that are such an intricate part of every love story. All so different, yet so similar at the same time. 



Blackmagic's "No need" explores the often complicated layers of a romantic relationship; unspoken pains and misunderstandings, unexpressed feelings, complicated love.

An inescapable human emotion, love is not always romantic, easy or straightforward


Epilogue:

"We were so in love, what happened?"
"I never knew it would be so difficult, but its been worth it"
"I can't believe its been 20 years! We're still so in love"
"Is it better to have loved and lost or not loved at all?"
"A diamond with a flaw is worth more than a pebble without imperfection"
"A love story is a love story no matter how it ends"
"Live and love regardless"

 Almost like he was talking about the relationship between the Nigeria music industry and his music here. One wonders why he is not getting his acclaim (Even though a lot can be said about his PR and marketing efforts) for the seemingly thriving Alternative music scene that we have today, or is that he is not ‘Cool”?




 

  Sometime in 2015, in an Industry Nite event, Blackmagic promised what would be his third instalment in the Blackmagic album versions. There was also a collaborative work with the Three Wise Men. Till date, none has surfaced. We don’t know know what’s next for Black Magic, but we appreciate his efforts so far.

One can say Sound Sultan pioneered alternative music in Naija but Black Magic definitely took it up a notch.

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