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How I Became The Most Hated Poet In Nigeria

The Art Of ADE
By Soul E Rhymez

Seeing the title, you might perhaps say, it is an exaggeration; another antic to get attention, but you are entitled to your own opinion.

My name is Eneji Stephen Toluwalashe, popularly known as Soul’e Rhymez. This name perhaps might not ring the bell to you, if you are not a poet or a poetry lover or haven’t read any of my write-ups.

However, if you are, that name might sound to you like “troublemaker”, “controversy”or “inflated ego”. Of course every other person who has read my works seems to believe this too, how did I come about all these titles?

I was a cool headed writer despite I was not destined to be, until somewhat 2013, when a guy, one of the so-called top poets in the country condemned my poem in a very wrong manner and I rebuked him. 

He came to my inbox, questioning my right to write for people’s girlfriends and also tagged my works “mundane” and “profane”, though he went on to deny tagging my poem profane, the mundane tag encapsulated everything.

He was with the wrong guy! I knew my craft and would stand to defend it anytime, I wasn’t ready for any god-poet, who will dictate poetry to me and tell me when I am right or wrong. This does not go well with all of these so-called professional critiques, which included this guy, but I gave no damn. My works are purely intellectual materials of high order, regardless of how badly arranged they are, it doesn’t stop them from being great works, so I won’t take it from anyone, not even Shakespeare to rate my works less than they really are.

With that, my writing career took another turn. I clashed with a lot of folks like him and these guys make things happen in the growing poetry industry. Offending these guys mean I might never be known or be reckoned with in the industry. They are gods to the up and coming poets. Whatsoever they say is the final, but there was a little known up and coming poet, who won’t take such unwholesome and unprofessional criticism or bow to any god-poet.

That was when I began to garner the reputation of an “arrogant poet”. This is an uncommon reputation, because poets are known to be unnecessarily humble folks. Another incidence happened, again with another top poet from the east, I was added to his WhatsApp group and I saw certain injustice towards guys that are not close or loyal to him, it seemed everyone in the group was afraid of him, but even though I respect him, I wasn’t afraid of him, I questioned him and without any waste of time, he removed me from the group.

He told me he had informed people to stop commenting on my works, perhaps meaning he had spoilt my reputation to them, we later met at an event where I apologized and requested to be added to the group again, but I was soon removed since I couldn’t deal with the continued injustice going on there. I was removed for questioning the so-called authority. Of all things, writing an open letter to this guy and dropping in it in the group he created looked extreme, but this letter was carefully crafted that I praised his efforts more than I rebuked his faults, but he couldn’t just stand criticism like they give to others and I was removed.

These two guys are at the top when I could be regarded only as an up and coming poet, offending them seemed the end to my poetry career even before I started.

They handle most of the slams, competitions and the nominations and it means, there was no way I could win or be nominated for any award, regardless of how talented I am except I bow to them.

These are no mere assumptions; a blogger once told me some poets protested the inclusion of my name when he added me in the list of the top 10 poets to be watched out for in Nigeria. This seems I am systematically out of the game, since they control most of these things and can also influence others against me.

The negative perception of me is so much that everyone now believes from afar that I am rude, most of them haven’t talked with me and aren’t prepared to do so, because of what they have been fed with. It flows from up to down, these guys are not smart, they all assume I will be rude to anyone that comes my way, they could not just differentiate between rudeness and boldness and with that, I do not have any friend that poetry connects us. But I know I have thousands of secrets admirers, who could not openly defend me in order not to put themselves in their god-poets’ bad books. 

One of the poets, after an argument in a group came to my inbox and confessed “I like your amiable arrogance”.* This oxymoron is apt and says a lot, can arrogance be amiable? Am I actually arrogant?

Of course anyone that have read most of my works will have nothing different to say, I write with such unquestionable authority, I make my opinions look simply the best, my dispositions are such that makes you think I am a god, but does these make me an arrogant person? Could all these people be wrong?

All of these alongside my write-ups with certain unorthodoxies have contributed to making me a threat to a lot of folks, most of who must have thought I targeted them with my write-ups. It seems everyone wants a piece of Soul’e Rhymez; it’s me against the world, it has always been like that. Due to lack of understanding and unwillingness to know more, people believe what they are told about me without trying to know me personally, even when I have settled with those that told them. With that, they can only see what they want to see; that which they are told.

No gain saying that I have a combative nature, I am a fighter and I hate loses, I can argue my points out with anyone, stating my facts clearly, I love to win all my arguments and easily get irritated by ignorance, but I still believe none of these makes me an arrogant person. 

My personality has a way of steering up envy in people, but I do not just know to stop it.

Should I keep quiet and not say things I know and things that affect me?

Should I stop writing because some folks feel intimidated by my writing skills and ideas?

Will these give me a positive personality?

The poetry industry is simply in shambles!

I wrote about it, but most of the poets who had collected it to be published could not publish it, simply because, again, I attacked the top poets, most of who are these guys’ mentors. Publishing it means they support me and will therefore face the wrath of their god-poets.

In that same article, I pointed out the gap between the upcoming poets and the established ones, and their unprofessional manner of criticism as the major source of problems in the poetry world.

There is no way anyone will thread my path and not be left alone; it takes the brave to do so. I am not a coward, I am not scared of the consequences, I am not limited by their hatred and envy, their love for me at the detriment of truth would have been the worst. 

It is true I personally offend people, but I sincerely apologize whenever I realize that, which I am always quick to do. To err is human, but all I can do is to ask for forgiveness when I realize my mistakes, however, I do not make people forgive, it is their choice and if they choose not to forgive, I move on with my life. If this makes me a bad person, then I do not want to be good!

– Soul E
IG: @Soulerhymez
Twitter: @Soulerhymez
Facebook: Soul’e Rhymez

#StayCrowned〽️

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