Opinion: Brymo’s Demons are Gradually Overcoming his Talents


Anyone who cares about calm-commanding lyrics delivered in a canny, untypical manner by a Nigerian act must have heard of Brymo. He is a brilliant artist who’s crafted amazing albums such as the mind-spinning Oso, Klitoris, Tabula Rasa, and the most recently Yellow.

He seems to have it all — A distinct voice, and deft songwriting that eludes most of his peers. His fans can testify to the monopoly of influence that his voice weighs over them. It is not jazz, but seamless grace.

He first came to public notice after his signing to Chocolate City in 2010, and the release of viral records such as Ara & Oleku under the label. But the artiste fell out with Chocolate City after he was accused of a contract breach in 2013. That marked the beginning of a growing line of controversy.

Brymo is a brilliant artist, but tumult seems to be in a romance with him and vice versa. On the bird app where some people have expressed praise for his craft, several others have publicized their horror and anger at the crooner. The most horrifying of all are the rape allegations.

In April this year, Brymo was accused of rape by a Twitter user but a lot of his fans and close associates discredited the call as a false wolf cry. The artiste was mute, although he made several rants —that didn’t address the issue— in lieu of tweets.

Social Media gave it to him ‘hot hot’. He was the recipient of a ferocious ‘dragging’ and there were even calls for his cancellation. Some deleted his songs and swore never to associate with him. Some people claimed the rape allegation was responsible for his drop from Ake Festival’s guest list in the previous year.

Following the release of his album, Yellow, this year, the artist, Sam Olowomeye, who made the album cover art spoke out on a supposed copyright infringement. but Brymo’s management responded with a statement that “… at no point did Mr. Olowomeye make any request of his personal accord – except for being tagged which Brymo subsequently did.”

This, for me, comes off as a ridiculous excuse especially coming from an artist who has had such agitation earlier in life. How can you not duly credit an artist whose work you are using for a major project because he did not expressly ‘request’ for it? Is a Social Media tag enough to acknowledge an artist whose work you’ll be printing on disk jackets? Definitely not. In a typical Brymo fashion, he doesn’t make any statement about it. He looks away as he continued to profess the superiority of his craft to his biding Twitter followers. He would also employ these tactics in a recent fraud allegation.

On the 6th of November 2020, An alumnus of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Karimot Odebode, took to Twitter to speak about how Brym0 and his management took money from her (and her group) as a university student for a show he failed to grace. Her request is for Brymo and his management to refund them.

Brymo’s management responded promptly by issuing a statement on the following day with a circular that doesn’t deny collecting the sum of two hundred thousand Naira from students. It also failed to explain why they are yet to refund the said money.

Scandal and fame are bedfellows, and Brymo is playing into that trope, and becoming a consistent image of a man embroiled in perpetual trouble.

Whilst celebrities are not perfect, it is important for them to carefully consider the consequences of an action. A small displacement of feet may besmirch an entire career, especially at a time when it has become difficult to separate the artist from their art. I, as a fan of his music, feel heartbroken about these unfoldings. But what saddens me more is his silence and unlooking tactics which are not only annoying but also infuriating. It is important for the accused to speak up whether guilty or not but he doesn’t.

Perhaps he doesn’t understand. Speaking up is not for him alone but also for his fans who entrust their love, and support to his craft, and by extension, himself. For some, It is impossible to keep blind faith and commitment. Brymo is a brilliant artist but the piling allegations, and his response to them speaks poorly about his humanity. He should do better.

Pelumi Salako

Pelumi Salako is a freelance journalist and writer interested in the intersection of arts and culture

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