The release of the “I Swear” video is another step in a general trend that we’ve been watching with great interest here at Afropop, namely the increasing collaboration (and cross-pollination?) between American rappers and Nigeria’s booming music scene. Unfortunately, while we are entirely in favor of Nigerians all OVER American Airwaves, it doesn’t seem likely that this particular video will likely to be the pop moment that does it.
In essence, the video is pretty standard rap fair- a performance of the song in large room, as the musicians flow and dance and beautiful woman look beautiful behind them. Suitcases full of cash. In this video, the women are holding bats, but don’t seem a hundred percent sure what to do with them.
What’s interesting about most of the Nigerian crossover attempts that we’ve seen so far has been their focus on the mainstream of the US music industry (GOOD music, Rick Ross, French Montana, etc), rather than more independent rappers (Thee Satisfaction/Shabazz Palaces jump first to mind) who might be able bring along more of their audiences with them. On the other hand, given the decidedly mainstream style of most of the artists attempting these crossovers, maybe that wouldn’t work. Or maybe the industry is looking for a Michael Jackson/Nirvana moment, for a performer with enough star power to just shatter the barriers. While that might seem like a fantasy, West Africa’s increasingly influential scene certainly seems poised for some sort of breakout, although who it’ll be or how it will go down is entirely up in the air.
Regardless, check out the video. And keep watching- it’ll get there eventually.