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Speaking to MTV News in 2013, the North Carolina rapper and huge Nas fan J. Cole spoke about him having the Stay beat first: “We did the most incredible songs in one week. We did ‘Not Too Late,’ ‘Stay,’ ‘Never Told’ and a few more joints that haven’t even come out yet,” he explained. “ ‘Stay’ was towards the end of the process — he just looped up this sample, and while he’s looping up the sample, I’m writing the words, and before you know it, I have the song.”




But of course, money talks, and what J. Cole termed ‘inexperience' then was just what it was – a beat isn’t yours until you’ve paid for it. Later, when he reached out to the producer (No I.D), he was told: “Yo, Nas got that beat.”

It must have been heartbreaking for the rapper but it was Nas using the beat for Life is Good – his tenth LP. Not just any other rapper.




On Stay, Nas raps about women; words move between cities and explores celebrity relationships and gold diggers – “she not deserving of a throne.” While Life is Good is one of the respected emcee’s most personal projects, Stay isn’t; instead, he raps from a highly place, commenting on these women from the privileged position of an omniscient narrator.


Two Nigerian rap heavyweights have immortalized Stay through themes which while universal, could only be interpreted the way they did through the Nigerian lens.


Boogey – People Always Leave
One of the rapper’s first songs; Sanctum featuring Jane Sam, is the confessional of a man who’s come to battle his demons and hopefully, find himself. From the first words – I’m flipping through Bible pages, I’m looking for something inside to save me /anything about endurance and having faith in a deity – there’s something extra about Boogey: his skill level is on par with his thoughts, and his unique voice which is weaned of subjectivity but still cuts through the fabric of one’s  emotions. Sanctum was a song which spoke to an entire country in which celebrities are being worshiped and pastors build schools which the church members can’t afford to send their children to.

Approaching the second verse of Sanctum with a ferocious tone, he demands to smell his flowers while alive:

Imagine me being tired of rapping
Ain’t getting paid, all these people do is admire my actions
Imagine them calling me a legend or comparing me to ‘em after this
But I ain’t hearing em from inside of my casket
Took my time chasing greatness, I desire it faster
Got the fire, the passion, if I just happen to drop an album, would you buy it in traffic or drive and pass it?
Would your answer be the same if I died in a crash?
And have these suckers saying my mixtape was entire classic?
You returning the love when the recipient absent

The theme of being underappreciated has been one of the larger themes in Boogey’s music. When he’s not spewing fire on wax about his account balance not being on par with his rap skill and relevance, he’s dropping knowledge on Facebookers who don’t realize how much they’ve come to hurt this “Hip Hop culture” they claim to love by not paying for the music.

It is heartbreaking to listen to All Love; a song in which Boogey pours out his heart: about his come up, about being attacked by an assailant with a knife (while schooling in Marrakech), about not winning at the Headies, about him being “the most gifted of [my] time but always left out.”

But it is over Nas’ Stay, that Boogey’s overwhelming thoughts about his position in the industry arrive; fully formed and built around his relationships with the women in his life and his fans. With the refrain of ‘stay’ being sung on the beat, Boogey builds his verse from the opposite of the word leave. Looking at love and ambition from a closer place than Nas gave him the chance to be sentimental and tell his story – from the first person. There’s a brilliant line about Aki and Pawpaw and there’s the pun about “church girls say if you don’t embrace Christ, don’t hug me.” When the beat drops, the trumpets and all, does Boogey let it all off, to deliver one of the most haunting endings to any rap song anywhere:

You on top of your game and everybody plays witchu
You fall off and become a memory in brain tissue
The best player missing the sound of the game whistle
You call em, they ignore and then you leave and they miss you
You try to keep em close and they talking about how they owe you nothing..
..and then you die and they bury you in a golden coffin
Want you to stay but if you say you gotta go then fuck it!

The song, first released in 2015 as a single: “Stay (cover)”, then featured on Boogey’s 2016 album Incognito; titled People Always Leave.



Show Dem Camp — Just In Case
The duo of Ghost and Tec go way back to their time as students in the UK. Apparently, they had the same name (Golden Child) as budding emcees and they battled for ownership. Ghost won, but plot twist: he gave the name back.

They joined forces to become a duo and over the years they’ve taken on names like Loose Cannonz, BlackBoysDown, Third Eye Renegades and now, Show Dem Camp. They boast several timeless records together which include The Dreamer Project, the Clone Wars Volumes and the Palm Wine Music projects (which they recently released its second volume).

Clone Wars Vol. 2 in particular, was spectacular: following the largely political vol. 1, Tec declared on Sweet Love about the ladies complaining about the project having no easy-on-the-ears track (s). Sweet Love was for the ladies but the project which housed it was subtitled The Subsidy; a then recurring word and topic in contemporary Nigerian politics.

It is the bonus track of that album which proves to be one of the shiniest gems of the project, for many reasons: its vulnerability, its personality and a chance to see the softer side of a Ghost.

With slow, deliberate drums added to the trumpets of Stay, Just In Case had the perfect production as backdrop for lyrics of the highest level.

Listening to the words of Ghost in his trademark baritone was the epilogue every writer wanted to have – an end that has the audience scampering away to buy your next work or waiting eagerly for when it came out.

Posed as a letter to his daughter, Ghost mentions family tragedies and how it might break her, but he urges her to be strong, reminding her the world is her oyster. The political isn’t avoided too:

Knowledge is power, always question your leaders in charge
And be careful bout who you choose to give the keys to your heart

Employing the high handed carefulness fathers are known to possess when it comes to their daughters, Ghost goes ahead to be sentimental and beautiful about it: he mentions names his daughter should steer clear of, but dismisses it as a joke.

At the end of his verse – “Anytime you feeling down and your mascara is smeared, play this song back to yourself daddy is near.” – you feel you’ve been given a front row ticket to a parenting seminar and you’ve just heard the most beautifully written daddy speech ever.

Stay inspired some wonderful songs in America but it is in Nigeria it became truly owned, by Boogey’s documentation of his struggles and Ghost’s fatherly bars.

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