The Rhetoric of Self-Adulation in Contemporary Nigerian Popular Music: A Psychological Perspective

  • Olushola Are
Keywords: rhetoric, self-esteem, self-adulation, popular music, social psychology


The tendency among many Nigerian popular music artists to engage in self-adulation has been identified in some studies, but has not received enough pointed and focused attention. This article therefore takes a close look at this phenomenon. Twelve songs by eight different artists deemed to be sufficiently representative of contemporary popular music in Nigeria were purposively selected for the study. They were analysed thematically on the basis of some constructs in social psychology. Based on the analyses, this article concludes that self-adulation in contemporary Nigerian popular music serves the artists as a defence mechanism in the face of palpable threats to their self-esteem, which are generated by specific social realities. The attendant lyrics which often involve the flaunting of wealth and women have the capacity to encourage crass materialism and the denigration of women among the young impressionable fans of the musical genre. The article recommends some reorientation that would encourage artists and their producers to take the overall social implications of their lyrics into cognisance and make necessary adjustments to avoid misguiding youth into vain materialism and gender bias.