Dear Fizzy Bee,
Something has been happening between us that requires urgent attention. I noticed it when it all began, I mean when it became too obvious and beyond a reasonable doubt. I take responsibility for allowing it to get to this stage. I didn’t give the issue much thought because I was thinking we would never get to this point. Now newspapers, magazines, and blogs are feasting on the tension, milking the situation, writing all sort of convincing lies that would keep fanning the flames of anger.
We don’t call each other anymore, we don’t talk like we used to, the last time we had a conversation was at the Channel O Awards, on the red carpet; all that talk that was meant to show the world that Lee Z and Fizzy Bee are still close friends. That was fake! That was a publicity stunt and we both know it. When we hugged as the cameras flashed their lights for that picture that made its way to the magazines and blogs I could barely feel the love.
Success has its price, but friends and family need not turn to enemies because of fame and fortune. Remember when we used to hunt lizards with your father’s catapult? We would run barefoot on the dusty streets of Oba Ile and make gun sounds with our mouths and mimic the moves we had seen in the movies.
And the time we would go to Ala river to swim; do you remember? And the first time we drank alcohol, that morning when we discovered a palm tree being worked for palm wine on the farm near Oba Ile hills; remember?
We were like twins in our secondary school days, always seen together, sharing secrets and dreams, getting into mischievous schemes.
Your father thought I was the bad influence responsible for your failing grades, but actually, you were the one teaching me how to write love letters, what girls like to be told, and where girls could be taken if there was the need to do something secret and intimate. You were the one who suggested things that could be stolen at home, things that could go missing without being missed; things we sold to get money for the designer brands that would make girls notice us.
You were the one who would come to school with a Walkman and Tupac CDs; we would sit under the giant mango tree behind the school farm and talk about Tupac and Notorious B.I.G.
You were the one who bought the first cigarette I smoked. And I will never forget that day when you came with some strange-looking plant which you called weewee. I begged you not to smoke it because it could mess up your brain and make you walk around naked like a madman, but you smiled superciliously, struck the matches, and took puff after puff after puff until I was convinced that it was not that bad to try.
After our final examination in secondary school, you went to Calabar to live with your grandmother and I was running things in Akure.
I was excited to write you, to give you details of the four girls that have fallen for the same words you’ve told me as the formula; and I promised to tell you more about your super formula in the next letter.
You did not reply for about eight months, but you later sent me a letter to inform me that you were finally over WAEC and JAMB; it was good to know you’ve been admitted to the University of Ibadan. I sent you another later and got no reply. I was happy for you when you went to UI, I was at home, in Akure, writing WAEC and JAMB year after year and getting terrible grades with each effort.
My parents called me all sorts of names, I was the Olodo, the Omo Oraisa, the Ehana; I was even amazed when they named you as an example of a serious minded young man because you were now at UI.
While you were at UI, training to be a geologist, I was never jealous of you. Was there ever a quarter that I did not send you letters? When mobile phones came, I got your number from your sister and I called you. The first time I called, you sounded cold and busy. I called you five times after then; you did not return my calls and I wasn’t angry. I assumed you were very busy, I’ve been told that your department was one of the academically demanding ones that required lengthy laborious hours.
There was even a time that I called you on your birthday but you didn’t take the call. I didn’t understand what was going on with you even though I was willing to overlook the attitude.
For all these times you didn’t call or write letters or bother to reach out to me; there was no sign, no hint that you cared. You treated me as if I was something that you had outgrown, as if I was some nuisance.
You know what you did, so you can’t blame me for my thoughts.
I am not a mind reader. I would only see things, and interpret things, from the way you’ve been dealing with me.
Then I met Scud, and the rest, as they say, is now history.
I was out there making hits, making the money, going to shows, getting all the attention, taking it one day at a time. I was not bitter! In fact, I was too blessed, too busy to be bitter, I had forgotten all about you because even before my fame came it would seem that is how you wanted it to be.
It was a mix of surprise and delight when I saw you glistening with sweat and struggling to get past my bodyguards as I was walking to my car after the Star Quest show that night. I would have thought you were just another fan desperate for attention if I had not heard you call me Layiwola.
Layiwola: apart from my mother, no one else calls me that name. My memory was then quick to nudge me to notice; it didn’t even cross my mind that we would see again, I had to come a bit closer to be sure. Fizzy Bee! Fizzy Bee!
I must have shouted because I felt your name in my throat, and when we hugged I must have held you for too long. I felt like a child again, I had to throw off all those silly airs that stardom makes one put on.
I remember my manager telling me later that night that I should have been a bit more discreet. He said something about my relationship with you not being good for my brand.
I had to snort incredulously. Discreet with my homeboy? Discreet my foot! I’m not that kind of guy. I can be anything, but I will never be a pretender or a traitor.
That night I had to cancel an engagement worth three million naira, just to spend some quality time with you and to reminisce on the old days, and to talk about the past seven years, and to hear your reasons for not keeping in touch. I thought your so-called reasons were nothing but excuses but I was eager to forgive you and to start something new. I longed for something real as it was before.
You then told me of your experience after NYSC, the many fruitless job interviews, and the barren promises of those who had promised to help. You wore a dirty faded green shirt and a cheap-looking jean; you came to the show with your last two hundred naira. When I asked to know what you wanted me to do to help, you suggested that I link you with Scud; you said you could do the hip hop thing. That night you even did a few verses that I found cheesy but worth working on, so I didn’t doubt you.
When I told Scud about you, he was not so keen to meet you. As a producer, he has heard so many people talk about their great talent and how they would be the next big thing if given a chance. I had to beg him to give you a chance. I paid for your studio sessions and for Scud’s fee as a producer. It was decided that you would release a single before an album; now the whole nation knows Patti’s Party.
Your song topped the charts, you had so much money to buy the latest cars and to live the diamond life.
This industry has a way of making one learn by force. Four years later your fans are still waiting for the next hit; even though some of them are onto the next big thing.
Is that my fault that you can’t take another hit? I’ve tried my best for you! What else should I do after giving you a good platform? I can only help you get on the water; you have to paddle your own canoe. I have my own shit to run!
If you can just think deeply about all these for a few minutes, you would see that I should be the disgruntled one for all the years that you’ve treated me like a stranger.
I keep making hits year after year, by hard work, by good counsel, by luck, I don’t know how; but it keeps happening. I face my business; there is no way that your not-making-hits would be my making!
I feel this vibe that I can’t describe even in our brief meetings; as much as your pride tries to hide it, there is this look of resentment in your eyes. I can sense it, and I don’t deserve it.
And this thing about Biola, I can’t believe that slut would now become a big issue between us. This is a woman that once tried to get on with Scud, and I heard she was on to some lesbian shit with Mileeda. I’ve seen her about a dozen times, at the VIP lounge of Galaxy, smoking weed with some fat bearded bastard, and drinking whiskey like water.
On a certain night, as I was about to retire after an awards evening party, I saw her come out of a hotel room with Kasali. Ask Big Millz about this girl and let him make you cry with the details about a certain Owambe night at Aristo. This girl has been around Akure for a while!
So when I saw you one night, coming out of the bar with her, holding hands, and getting cozy, acting husband and wife, I couldn’t help the urge to call you and to tell you what I know about this bitch.
I know that you fall in love easily; I had to warn you. But the fact that I know that your treasured Biola had been sleeping with other men must have hurt your pride. You started acting as if I’m the bad one and she’s some saint. You turned the hatred on me, even though I’m not the only one who knows about her loose ways.
I was just the only one who cared enough to tell you not to waste your energy trying to treat a pig like a queen.
If it’s all up to me we would never be enemies because you’ve been such a good friend to me. How can there ever be friendship without truth? Dude, I’m not afraid to tell you the truth; truth is saying it as it is even if it hurts to bear or hurts to hear. If you prefer the company of hypocrites and sycophants, better let me know so that we can say the last goodbye.
About a year ago when you said you wanted us to work together on some songs, I was sincere with you; I told you it is not as easy as that. You know how these things work. It is not only about our relationship on a personal level; Scud is a businessman, he is like my boss, in fact, he is my boss. I can’t do anything without his approval. The decision to drop you from the label had nothing to do with me.
Fizzy Bee is your brand and its success or failure is your major responsibility. What you are right now, is on you, dude!
No, I’m not saying you can’t come back and do something big, I’m not saying it is over for you; all I’m saying is that Scud doesn’t want me to work with you for now, based on his view on the business; and I’m legally bound to do as he says.
Fizzy, we know how we started; don’t forget the foundation and the building blocks that have now become memories of a lifetime.
Years and tears have been invested into what the media is now trying to work on as a goldmine of stories and sales. All I’ve got for you is unconditional love. I think about the future; despite the fame and all the noise that comes with it. Some things are still dear. There are things that are vital to life and living; a lot of these things cannot be bought with money.
I am still your friend, I still love you; I’ve not changed in my heart. If you’ve got to that point of no return, where all you just want to do is treat me like an enemy and exploit this potentially explosive situation to make beef songs for record sales; then I’d say that you’ve changed.
There have been speculations that I’m over your shit was meant to get at me and was a reference to our childhood and what had happened between us. Experience has taught me never to rely on speculations and hearsay when dealing with close associates.
I have a lot of things to rap about. I will never become that man that chooses to exploit a dispute or grudge between childhood friends. You are free to decide how this will turn out.
With time I know your true colors will show, but I will be glad if it is the bright and beautiful color I have known and have come to love.
Feyisayo Anjorin is a filmmaker and a writer. His writings have appeared in Litro, Brittle Paper, Bella Naija, Kalahari Review, and African Writer. He is the author of Kasali's Africa, The Stuff Of Love Songs, and One Week In The Life of A Hypocrite.