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For most authors, music and writing go hand and hand. Nothing can get you into a story quite like that perfect song. Need to write a love scene? Then it’s important to find a sappy, romance driven track. Writing an angry break up? Turn on something angsty and depressing to get you in the mood.

When I start writing a book, I always create a playlist first. It helps me to connect with my characters and the plot in a way that is essential for me to establish the tone of the story.
So how do I choose songs for the playlist?
Very, very carefully.

If my book is heavy and raw, I tend to veer towards darker, more emotional music like Sasha Sloan, Ron Pope, or Logic. If the book is sexier and less serious, I find myself listening to pop music like Fireboy DML, Daretrix or Ruth B.
When I was writing Vendetta I began adding songs to my playlist that were a little bit of both. Vendetta is, at times, a heavy story about a murder case. The deceased’s wife, Chioma Samuel, seeks justice for her late husband’s death. Despite the serious subject matter there’s a few moments of laughter and funny moments in the book as well.

So the playlist became a mixture of all kinds of songs that reflected the mood of the characters and the plot as it progressed. So here it is. My playlist for Vendetta.

1. Everybody Cries (From The Original Motion Picture The Outpost) — Rita Wilson

This is very much a song for Aisha Rufai at the very beginning of the story. She has issues. Lots of them. The book begins with her family, mourning the death of a loved one to a terrorist attack in their hometown.

2. Blowin’ In The Wind — Bob Dylan

This song describes Aisha Rufai’s state of mind after she heard the news about Ahmed Adebola. ‘Blowin’ In the Wind” asks a series of questions such as, “How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?” The answer is mysterious: it’s blowin’ in the wind. Bob Dylan explains this line by saying that the answer isn’t found in a book, movie, TV show, or discussion group. It’s all around us, but if you aren’t paying attention, it flies away. “Blowin’ In The Wind” is considered an anti-war song and Civil Rights anthem.

3. Monsters You Made — Burna Boy

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. I love this song, though. It’s sweet and simple and describes who Debo Makinde is so well. Debo Makinde is a lawyer and a human rights activists who stands against injustice and believes in equality.

4. Fight The Power — Public Enemy

This song describes Aisha Rufai’s emotions after her article was rejected by the NGO editorial crew. In contrast to many social justice songs that somewhat vaguely ask for peace, “Fight the Power” calls for its listeners to fight back against oppression.

5. Fela Kuti – International Thief Thief

This is very much a song for the corrupt politician, Ahmed Adebola whose source of livelihood is corruption and looting public funds. Fela Kuti went into detail and sang about how the Western world is playing a role in the corruption that’s deeply entrenched in most African leaders.

6. Speechless — Michael Jackson

This is an energetic, fun song that I think depicts the lighter side of Debo Makinde and Aisha Rufai’s relationship.

7. Comfort Betrays — As I Lay Dying

The reader could even argue that this is exactly what betrayal sounds like, frantic guitars and super aggressive screaming while trying to figure out about the beef between Dupe and Aisha Rufai.

8. Iyawo Mi — Timi Dakolo

Debo Makinde is in awe over his feelings toward his beloved wife. He gushes repeatedly that he never knew he could love someone the way that he loves her. What a perfect song for the bride and groom at their wedding event!

9. White Flag — Bishop Briggs

This song describes how Debo Makinde felt like after he agreed to take up the case. It is about raising your voice and fighting for justice.

10. Changes — Tupac Shakur

This song covers a spectrum of issues. It references the war on drugs, police brutality, black-and-white relations, and poor state of living in the society.

11. Visiting Hours — Ed Sheeran

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. I love this song, though. It’s sad and it describes the emotion at the hospital so well.

12. Sauti Sol – Tujiangalie

In this song, the band talked about problems the country is facing: bad leadership, corruption, economic inequality and more and questioned the democracy of the country. It explains why Debo and Aisha decided to fight for justice together.

13. Wanlov – Never Go Change

This simple song just preaches one thing: our leaders are never going to change. Because as long as they are comfortable in power, not suffering what their citizens are dealing with, they are cool with it.

14. Calm down — Daretrix

This is an energetic, fun song that I think depicts the naughtier side of Debo and Sam’s friendship.

15. Naija (SayNoToXenophobia) —- Dotman

In recent years, the issue of bad governance and police brutality has become an increasingly urgent topic of conversation around the world. This has inspired artists to use their music as a means of shedding light on the injustices that are taking place and calling for change. The song “Naija (SayNoToXenophobia)” is one such example.

The song speaks to the frustration and anger that many people feel in the face of systemic oppression and violence perpetrated by men in uniform who are supposed to protect us. The lyrics describe the abuses of power by leaders and the routine violence that is inflicted upon innocent individuals by law enforcement. It acknowledges the pain and suffering that these injustices cause, and calls for action to bring about change.

The song is not just a call to action, but a reminder that there is power in unity. The chorus shows that those who have been silenced or marginalized can still come together and make their voices heard. This is a powerful message, particularly in a time where it can feel like our individual efforts are not enough to bring about change.

Ultimately, “Naija (SayNoToXenophobia)” is a powerful reminder of the importance of speaking out against police brutality, injustice and standing together in solidarity. It is a call to action that inspires us to keep fighting for change, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Music has always been a powerful tool for social change, and songs like this one show that it can still be a potent force for good in the world.

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