A song about nothing, Terry G’s free madness was one of the wonders of Nigerian music that reset the culture and sent Nigerian music on a path that we are still on.

Terry G  (Press)

Sometimes it all comes down to one moment, one key decision made in a split second that changes the course of events in history. Terry G’s ‘Free madness’ is one of those events.

A song about nothing, Terry G’s free madness was one of the wonders of Nigerian music that reset the culture and sent Nigerian music on a path that we are still on.

How it was recorded

Terry G  (TCD)

‘Free madness’ is a single-take freestyle. This means it is a recording done via the singer just spitting words on a mic over the beat in a studio. When this was done, nothing else was changed. Terry G recorded this when he was high, and somehow, it found its way into DJ mixes from Alaba. From there, it became the biggest hit released in 2008. There was nothing in that song, just a beat, and some freestyle from a guy who was very very very very high! Jesus!

But that is half the story. The full story is that the beat was never supposed to have a Terry G freestyle recorded on it. The singer was producing a record for a group called Soji Mopol. Halfway through the recording, the group members stepped outside for a smoke. While they lit up their blunts and enjoyed a well-deserved break, Terry G came upon the brilliant idea of freestyling on the beat. So he simply set up the mic, and let loose.

“Pass the microphone eh, Terry G pass the microphone eh…”

A Twitter user, @Xcel_101, confirmed this story from Terry G himself while smoking with the singer in 2013, after a performance at Etisalat’s Cliqfest, University of Lagos.

This explains why some of the lyrics on the song sound pretty weird. Take, for example, the lines – “People Wey Get This Beat Eh/ Omo Dem Dey For Outside Eh/ Me I Dey Drop The Freestyle Eh/ To Test My Microphone Eh.” This was Terry G confessing to his act of commandeering a beat.

There’s also the part where he says, “Me I no be Mallam Spicy, me I no dey stop for the fourth bar, over.”

This was a diss line to his colleague, Mallam Spicy. It was a shot at the singer’s recording style. Many musicians and rappers love to record in different ways, but Mallam Spicy had a very interesting style. He always recorded in four bars. He records four bars, stops, and records another four bars. So yes, Terry G, with his sporadic freestyle ability, is far from Mallam Spicy.

This particular line in the song caused a beef with Spicy, who released a diss track, the popular ‘Free Cure’ (N1005).

“1005 five naira, bling bling..."

Mallam Spicy was the target of a diss line by Terry G on the record 'Free madness.;  (PM News)

Impact On The Culture

Terry G was huge for the culture. Where previous records which dominated Nigerian radio were mid-tempo jams, Terry G, in that one moment, flipped the script, and became the hottest single of the year. You know how Runtown’s ‘Mad over you’ had a snowball effect on Nigerian music? That’s what happened with this one.

Terry G’s career took off with this, and somehow the tempo of our pop music grew too. The scales were tipped in favour of that tempo, the radios gave it numerous spins, videos were rotated on air, and like all trends, and the music makers jumped on that bandwagon.


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