here is no denying that local urban music is on the rise at the moment. Our brothers and sisters in the trade are churning out some meaningful hip-hop, dancehall, R ‘n’ B, afro-soul or even jazz compositions.
For once we are nurturing some hope that maybe one day we may have a real stake on the global music circuit. There is great potential all over. With the right focus and proper career direction, most of the local acts can touch the sky.
If one sieves through local urban music bag, you will not fail to be amazed by the efforts that a number of names are putting in. Blantyre-based afro-jazz sensation Keturah has remained on steady path to the top with her ear-catching compositions.
We have names such as rap-star Macelba, Janta, the young but immensely creative lad Waxy Kay, dance hall kingpin Jay Jay Cee and many others who have hugely the fortress that was created by some old-timers in the game.
But sometimes one has to reach a point where you have to admit that some things are not tenable and a complete misplacement in the environment that one is operating in. Some of the local rap/hip-hop players have taken their game carelessly too high.
The fusion of ‘beef’ (dissing each other) is a complete no-no-no in the local context. Hip hop originated from America yes, but we have to admit that some elements about the genre which work with the originators cannot work here.
It is rather odd to listen to a whole four-minute song being dedicated to slurs and lines full of contempt against another artist. For their own gains and purposes, the beefing business works for Americans, but certainly not here in Nyasaland.
It is clear to see that some of the beef that fills other artist’s songs is driven by malice and sheer jealousy. Some because of the inferior standing in the trade they would love to ride on other people’s profile to get attention.
This they do by deliberately courting controversy from the already established names in the trade. When one reacts to their deliberate acts of irritation, they go home with a feeling that they have won. After all it is always the pig which enjoys the fights in the mud more than anyone else.
It is even saddening when you see some artists going beyond the creative realm to launch attacks on their colleagues on social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and many other such spaces.
At the stage where the local urban music is at, it would only be productive if all players came together as a united front to pull their efforts and energies in one direction. They say as an individual you can go faster but it is only a group which can go the furthest.
If you feel inadequate in the game, take a back seat and learn from your friends. It does not hurt to go and ask for assistance from your direct opponent. The dream maybe singular but the mission is always a shared one.
In my last week’s entry, Start Small, Grow Big, I mused about the opportunities that local artists are missing out on by not striking some small but productive partnerships.
It was always refreshing and assuring when you jot down something and at the end of the day you receive feedback. That is the moment when an author feels he has won. More so when it is constructive feedback.
Here is what I got from one of the ardent readers of the column, Ziliro Mchulu from Mzuzu. Verbatim.
The article is timely and well argued.
Many artists are suffering from this problem. Many of them have no managers and they don’t manage themselves. Some artists even fail to avail themselves in some shows simply because they underestimated distance from Mzuzu to Lilongwe.
They even fail to have an updated Facebook page.
Keep it up!
Ziliro, please write again.