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7 Songs That Promote Cybercrime, You Didn’t Know.

 Songs That Promotes Cybercrime,
Songs That Promote Cybercrime,

Over the years, the issue of cybercrime has been a topic widely discussed in the Nigerian media, especially in recent times. Over the last decade, cybercrime has appeared to escalate, although it’s not something to be proud of as a nation. Cybercrime has deeply infiltrated the younger demographic of the country. As the years have passed, this activity has become ingrained in Nigerian society to the extent that it is now perceived as a norm among a significant portion of Nigerian youth.

It’s a fact that the Nigerian economy doesn’t favour the poor, and it’s a stretch to say it even favours the rich. This harsh economic reality has provided fertile ground for the growing prevalence of cybercrime among Nigerians. What’s ironic now is that this practice isn’t limited to people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Individuals from well-off households have also turned to cybercrime as an alternative to traditional employment, where the wages often can’t support the lifestyles they aspire to have.

Speaking of lifestyles, the extravagance showcased in Nigerian music videos and on social media has had a significant impact on the country’s youth. The glorification of wealth obtained through cybercrime has found its way into numerous Afrobeats songs. And as we all know about Nigerian hit songs, their lyrics tend to catch on like wildfire and are readily recited by people on the streets.

There have been several Nigerian hit songs that appeared to promote cybercrime over the years, and we have compiled a list of some of them below:

Olu Maintain – Yahooze

This list wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging the pioneering song that unmistakably embraced the theme of cybercrime. Olu Maintain’s 2007 monster hit single, “Yahooze,” unquestionably stands as one of the greatest classics as far as Afrobeats is concerned. With lyrics undeniably centred around cybercrime, referred to as “Yahoo” in Nigeria, “Yahooze” evokes nostalgia and has sparked discussions regarding the glorification of cybercrime and the luxury associated with it.

Olu Maintain later refuted these claims, asserting that the song primarily champions hard work and success. However, the initial narrative continued to be associated with the song’s legacy throughout its existence.

Kelly Hansome – Maga Don Pay

In a trajectory similar to Olu Maintain’s, Nigerian singer Kelly Hansome emerged in the industry the following year in 2008 with his debut single “Maga Don Pay,” which quickly climbed the charts. The key difference between Hansome’s song and Olu Maintain’s was evident: Maintain subtly alluded to the subject matter in a way that invited debate, while Kelly Hansome addressed it directly.

The term “Maga” is Nigerian slang for a foreigner who is financially exploited through internet scams. There was no debate about the message conveyed by this song; it was clear as day. Despite any lyrical content concerns, Nigerians enthusiastically grooved to it. Even after the ban imposed by NBC, it continued to be a go-to jam for DJs both within and beyond the borders of Nigeria.

9ice – Living Things

In 2016, Afrobeats maestro 9ice scored himself another hit with “Living Things.” This single marked his return to the mainstream after a brief hiatus from his earlier “Gongo Aso” days. While many enjoyed this melodious banger, song critics called out its lyrics for glorifying cybercrime, cleverly disguised through wordplay and phrases.

The song’s lyrics primarily revolved around the pursuit of wealth, expressed in Yoruba as “Kin Sha ti Lowo,” and aspiring to attain a certain status referred to by the artist as a “living thing.” The inclusion of phrases like “Wire Wire” and “Money Order” made it evident that the song was portraying a specific narrative. In Nigerian terminology, “Wire Wire” alludes to payments associated with Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams, often involving counterfeit money orders.

The singer faced some backlash from netizens, particularly due to his status as a veteran in the music industry. Nevertheless, despite the controversy, the song enjoyed significant commercial success.

Bella Shmurda – Cashapp

Like Kelly Hansome, Bella Shmurda didn’t bother disguising his message under any form of wordplay or lingo. On the song “Cashapp,” the singer’s biggest hit song to date, Shmurda can be heard championing internet fraud with lyrics like, “Se o ni CC, load am, Cashapp cashout, Se o ni maga? Bill am,” literally urging his listeners to extort money from their victims and indulge in credit card (CC) fraud. The climax of it all was that Shmurda was very much aware of these acts being criminal and against the law, urging his listeners to flee from law enforcement agencies if they get caught. He says, “EFCC m bo, Jakpa,” meaning officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission are on their way, so you have to run.

Cashapp currently has 23 million views on YouTube and has garnered millions of streams of several streaming platforms.

Shalipopi – Elon Musk

In early 2023, what began as a TikTok user previewing his newly recorded song eventually turned into a massive club hit. Edo state-born singer Shalipopi released his critically acclaimed track “Elon Musk,” a song that alludes to cryptocurrency fraud. The lyrics capitalized on the name Elon Musk, a globally renowned billionaire and cryptocurrency entrepreneur. Shalopopi found himself in the limelight due to the virality of his song “Elon Musk.”

Amidst the buzz surrounding the record, the singer found himself in the custody of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission after he was apprehended on charges of cyber fraud following a performance in Kaduna. The singer’s arrest and the reasons behind it made headlines, with many asserting that his accusations were not unfounded and that his lyrics quite literally mirrored his real-life involvement. He was subsequently released, and his career has continued to thrive ever since.

Chinko – Ekun Able God

In 2018, a slew of hit songs graced the music scene, and among them was Chinko Ekun’s “Able God,” featuring Lil Kesh and Zlatan Ibile. While some may argue that the song is simply a prayer for financial blessings, its lyrics suggest more; they not only convey that message but also appear to endorse the idea of amassing wealth through cybercrime. Right from the song’s outset with the line, “Tan internet e yagi fe login,” it hints at activities related to the online world.

The rappers delivered their verses with precision and skill, with lyrics revolving around hustling, acquiring wealth, and indulging in a life of luxury and travel. While these themes are acceptable in music, the lyrics hold nuances that can be interpreted differently. Lines like “Kuro n’be to ye k’o lo ra lappy, Tete connect k’iwo na le collect” seem to encourage listeners to invest in a laptop and potentially engage in cybercrime to generate income.


Steven Adeoye – Ali

Not everyone may be familiar with the street-hop artist Steven Adeoye, but once you hear his hit song “Ali,” it strikes a chord. The song “Ali” refers to a character from the Macmillan English textbooks, a figure most Nigerian students encountered during their schooling. “Ali goes to School” is a short English text that many Nigerians who attended working-class primary schools read repeatedly or memorized.

In Adeoye’s song, “Ali” doesn’t excel in school, so he decides to drop out, purchases a laptop, and ventures into cybercrime to make money, which brings him happiness. The song’s lyrics express a desire to follow in Ali’s footsteps, gain street respect, and earn money to make people happy.

The fact that “Ali” is linked to the very addicting TikTok platform increases the effect of the song. “Ali” has appeared in TikTok videos all across the world; some of them make reference to cybercrime, but many more do so in relation to the idea of hustling for a better life.

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