Malawian Pop Dogg fails to bag Ireland African Music awards

Despite dominating the Ireland African Music Awards (IAMA) 2012 nominations, Malawi’s rapper Pop Dogg, who is based in Dublin, last Friday failed to clinch any award out of the six nominations he got.

The rapper, born Ibrahim Hadji, was nominated for the Best Male Artist, Best Rap Artist, Best Song Collaboration, Best Director and Best Video for his ‘Be My Lady’ official music video.

However, in an interview with Nyasa Timesthis week, he attributed his failure to the exclusion of public voting during this year’s IAMA, blaming organisers for the decision.

Pop Dogg (L) and Maskal in Dublin, far right

“I was disappointed with this year’s outcome. I felt very cheated by IAMA’s panel voting, which looked at my true talent with a blind eye. Last year I won two music awards…it was public voting,” he expressed his regret.

But in a separate interview, IAMA Academy President Yinka Odeajo dismissed the rapper’s assertions, saying he was one of the artists who were against public voting because they felt their fans would not be able to vote.

“Pop Dogg is not being fair to the organisers. The organisers wanted the fans to call in and vote for their favourites, Pop Dogg was among a group of artists that rebelled against the idea because they felt their fans won’t be in a position to call to vote because it will be a premium call,” he told Nyasa Times.

“The organisers listened to their advice to constitute a panel of judges and we chose 4 Irish music professionals to judge the process. This was done so as to give a fair balance to the whole process.”

In an e-mailed interview with Nyasa Times, Odeajo, a Nigerian national based in Ireland, added: “The organisers are predominantly Africans and the Judges– all white Irish [and] the general consensus has been that of a very right awards and good presentation”.

Nevertheless, Pop Dogg, who believes he deserved more than two awards at this year’s IAMA, said if public voting is not reintroduced next year, he will not participate in the next awards.

He was, on the other hand, quick to hail the organisers for an amazing work that made the event this year bigger than in 2011 by inviting African artists to attend the awards ceremony, including Malawi’s Afro-R&B singer Maskal.

“The event was huge bigger and successful, panel voting was the only let down and I think next year [they] should go back to public voting. Not only me feels this way, many people felt this way even the Irish side,” said the artist aka ‘Gunpowder’.

And in his remarks, the IAMA Academy president said [because] the organisers lost great revenue from the call in system of voting, they will ensure that the system to bring in fans’ participation will be back next year.

On a positive note, the rapper however the same weekend won the African Leadership Excellence/Power List Award.

The award is given to the most influential Africans in Ireland and Northern Ireland in recognition of excellent performance of an individual and organization that have contributed immensely to the advancement of the developmental sector of Ireland and the African continent.

He said, as an artist, staying on top of the game as a role model, consistency, raising the Malawian flag, making headlines not only musically but also taking part in some projects that help out other people not only in Malawi but Africa as a whole, won him the award.

“It is a huge achievement and a great honour to receive such a prominent award. No any other Malawian artist has received or honoured with [an] award of such calibre outside our country, it is history in the making and there’s more greatness to come,” he said.

Pop Dogg has been making big waves in Ireland musically from being named “The Big Deal” by Xclusive International Magazine, involved in fund-raising events which raised money for Agape Orphanage Care Centre in Lilongwe and Likulezi HIV/AIDS Project in Phalombe.

This weekend, the rapper is expected to hold a joint show with the visiting ‘Udalire’ hit maker Maskal and they will perform live on Saturday at Club Nassau, Kildare St, Dublin 2.

Three months ago, Pop Dogg also shared the stage with renowned Malawian musician Soldier Lucius Banda at the Miss Malawi Ireland event.

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