When has Ice Prince shied away from the elephant in the room? When has he looked adversary in the eye, and backed down? When has he papered over his vulnerability with music, and avoided the tough conversations?
The image of Ice Prince in your head is far from a vulnerable young man. Close your eyes, and give your mind the permission to conjure up an image of Ice Prince, or how you love to think of him.
What you see is a superstar musician, who is overpaid, wears the most flashy and trendy outfits, lives in a world where the women are supermodels, the champagne is always cold, and the cars are expensive, and the parties are wild.
And you can’t be blamed for it. Ice Prince is a superstar, whose greatest music has him branded as the most extravagant musician around the block. He is branded in that manner, and almost every single that has become big from him perpetuates that imagery, and sells it to you.
That’s why you see Ice Prince in the lights, dancing to his rhythm, and living the fast life. But what happens when those lights go out, and he is by himself? What occupies his thoughts when he quits being Ice Prince for the cameras, and returns home as Panshak Zamani, the young man from Jos who has worked hard to be blessed by the art?
A good idea of this is to listen to his albums, and savor all of his B-sides.
Grab his projects and listen to the songs that never became big. Those album fillers that are easy to dismiss. What you find is a man struggling with self and the concept of living. A man who is vulnerable, and allows his fears and dreams seep through him, and into his records. A man with a bleeding heart. A man who moves breathes and embraces his flawed humanity just like the rest of us.
His third album, “Jos to the World,” contains a lot of deep stuff, but the most revealing is “2AM in Chevron’, where he details all that drives him, from the basic need to succeed, to the fear of disappointment from all who have entrusted their faith in him.
“A wise man told me ‘go in or go home’, and I had a big dream of living in gold homes. And I had to go hard, I put it on my Mama, as long as I’m alive I’m never going to go home.”
That’s the Ice Prince that many do not know. That’s the man that hides behind all of the bling and flashes of brilliance. Peer through that, and you will find a man with the same hopes, aspirations and dreams that we all share. He is inspired by the same things that motivate us, and he puts his to use in music.
For love, there has never been a part of Ice Prince that hasn’t been shared. When he falls in love, he falls completely, and becomes a very inclusive and sweet lover. He attends events in the company of this person, goes through the social media phases of love, and when there is adversity, he defends his woman publicly, and opens himself up for criticism.
When Maima, his now ex-girlfriend, was accused of infidelity by a man on Twitter, Ice Prince rose up in defense, sang a song in her honor, and the lady starred as his vixen in ‘Feelings’ video. That’s a display of love that resonates with all of us.
Taking these positions leave Ice Prince vulnerable to hate, to trolls, and all the nonsense that comes with being a 21 century star in the age of social media connectivity. He could have taken the easy way out, and ignored everything. But no, that’s for lesser mortals. He is Ice Prince and he embraces vulnerability.
All of these actions by the star takes a toll on his brand. Contrary to popular opinion that being vulnerable makes you weak, for Ice Prince, it advances his cause. His vulnerability makes him connect better, and everyone could project themselves and all that makes them human on to the star.
There’s an Ice Prince in all of us. Flawed, hardworking, vulnerable, emotion-driven and hopeful for a better life. He is one of us, and his music says so.
That’s why everybody loves Ice Prince. Our flawed superstar, who embraces his scars and admits to his basic humanity.