In recent times, since the advent of streaming platforms, the yardstick for success in the music industry has changed. The commercial success of a song or a body of work is regarded as the ultimate factor to consider for success. Due to this not-surprising widely accepted measure, artistes seem to be obsessed with numbers and figures instead of making timeless music. It’s now becoming a thing to hop on the latest trend to have your share of the market, and this has done more harm than good to the quality of music dished out by Nigerian creatives. 

Although not to discredit all Nigerian creatives, there are still a few artistes who keep improving their art with every release, and they are extremely careful when crafting their art. They take time to meditate, embrace solitude, and create a body of work that would resonate in years to come. A body of work that would serve as a classic for this generation and the ones to come. However, that’s just a few heads in the industry, as almost everyone seems to be treading the part of “making the next big song” by hopping on the trending style. Although it goes viral initially, it gets lost in the mix as it ages.

Elite Nigerian rapper, Gilbert Bani, popularly known as A-Q, is an award-winning and one of the top voices in the Nigerian Hip-Hop scene. He has been in the industry for quite some time but he came into the limelight properly with the success of his well-acclaimed album “God’s Engineering” which won the Best Rap Album at the Headies in 2021. He has continued on his excellent run of projects by teaming up with fellow rapper and label boss, MI Abaga on “The Live Report” and a renowned legend in the industry in Brymo on the recently released “Ethos.” A-Q also lent his voice to the “Behold The Lamb” project by the L.A.M.B quartet of Loose Kaynon, A-Q, M.I Abaga, and Blaqbonez, all amidst his “Golden” album. 

It has been an incredible run for an obviously gifted and skilled MC like him. An avid listener or anyone who follows the Nigerian Hip-Hop space can testify that all of those projects belong in the top drawer in the Hip-Hop hall of fame. Each of those projects shares a common thing: they are all quality and timeless projects. Every listen gives a different feel to it, and they are all aging well.

A-Q is one of the artistes in Nigeria that places so much attention on making quality music and projects. He has always stressed on his social media that he is only interested in creating something extraordinary and epic instead of chasing the streaming numbers and figures. He constantly exercises his belief that building a reputable brand pays off rather than chasing numbers. In a song titled “Family First” off his recent collaborative album with Brymo, he says “I don’t know what time it is, I’m just making timeless shit”. He makes it obvious in his music, he talks and acts accordingly.

He seems to have many facets of his artistry to unbox which seems out of the world considering he dropped his first body of work as far as 2005. His excellent run has been in a two-year period and also teasing the second version of his collaborative project with Loose Kaynon titled “Crown”. He has a lot to let out and he is doing it in an incredible timeless fashion. 

Commercial success would always be a yardstick for determining how successful an artiste is. A-Q definitely knows that, but he values his self-worth over public ratings. He wouldn’t sell his soul for a fraction of the market and it’s an admirable value for a devoted artist. Commercial success pays in the short run, but the quality of your art is the significant factor in the long run. It is good to see that some Nigerian creatives still want to make music that stands the test of time, and they should be appreciated at every turn.

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