Wednesday, 19 August 2009

The Great Music Debate : Re: Letter to Naija hip-hoppers

By Kehinde Bamidele
As I sit in my living room listening to Majek Fashek’s ‘So Long’ and Lucky Dube’s ‘We’re together as one’, I am taken back in time to those days when artistes such as these sang and it’s either you left whatever you were doing to listen or followed the songs line by line. There are still musicians who I can give such credits to today. For instance, Sola Allison, Beautiful Nubia,Sunny Nneji, Sound Sultan e.t.c.These ones know their onions I must say.
How evergreen the musicians of today make their songs to be, is a point we cannot just gloss over. I was walking down the road in my neighbourhood one day and the song of Rasqi just flipped through my mind.Rasqi—-the ‘Soji’ singer—-has since his last release disappeared into thin air.Infact, these days, one would hardly get to hear his songs on the airwaves. After dismissing the thought of his disappearance, I then pondered on how most of these hip hop artistes just release albums/tracks that cannot stand the test of time. I mean there are many of these songs that hit the music charts, stay there for maximum of four weeks and that’s all we get to hear about the musicians or their songs ever again. Message––—-this is another ingredient lacked by many of these artistes. By message, I mean positive, inspirational and challenging themes/points which if adhered to or well made use of can be one’s driving force in life. All we get to hear include ‘hammering’ i.e. making fast money, swagger, bling-bling, profession of undying love which they lack in their lives etc. Many of these songs lack lessons that will make people, especially the youths to sit, have a rethink and redirect their lives along the right paths. Infact, it is not about message but money making these days. ‘Man must chop you know!’ a phrase common to many of these artistes. Have you seen the stage performances of many of these hip hop artistes? They come on stage most times to mime their tracks. ‘Deejay......give me track 1’ a usual parlance among them. Back in the days when music was ‘it’, the artistes didn’t come on stage to mime but rather came with their real voices to sing with and a good band that played instruments smoothly. Unfortunately, these days studio mixing, studio effects have taken over the real backbone of music—-good voice, good band and meaningful message.Obviously, some of these artistes do not have good voices. There is nothing to write home about on their voices, you would rather listen to a frog sing than listen to the ‘real’ voices of some of these artistes. But for studio effects: synchronizing, careful mix of artificial voices etc, their albums wouldn’t be played in the slums least of all, on the airwaves. Come to think of it, many of these hip hop artistes are not well versed in the field of music. This is not to say that they should have all gone to the higher institutions to study music rather, as much as possible any artiste should know what his/her field entails. No wonder many of them complain of being exploited by managers, marketers because they know little or nothing about the field. All they are concerned about is having money in their pockets or fat bank accounts. ‘Give me the ganja’ is a line in the lyrics of many of these artistes. It is sad to note that many of these artistes extol virtues/habits that the society has always frowned at. There are some that no head or tail can be made from the lyrics of their songs. Likewise, the noise most of them make about having ‘supposed’ enemies blocking their ways is becoming a nuisance. Who doesn’t have his or her own enemies? Why should this be the main theme of any meaningful song? How are we sure that the musician lamenting in his song about these enemies is himself not an enemy to the progress of some other people? All these rhetorical questions I guess are enough to make these artistes put themselves in check. Listening to well-tailored and educative lyrics in these songs is not asking for too much. I believe though as a true Nigerian that the music industry will not only continue to exist but it will do its best to churn out great musical legends as the years roll by. This goes out also to the music producers and directors to do their best in tutoring, sponsoring and bringing to limelight the right set of people who will make the music industry and Nigeria proud. Bamidele holds a Bachelor degree in Arts History/International Relations from Obafemi Awolowo University, O.A.U Ile Ife.

1 comment:

  1. I think it depends on industry. Each PR Pro has been informed by a letter. There is no way to even look at it without the PR. Specific industries, but may be due to the fact that we are well written.

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