2pac, One Corner and the burden of appreciating good music

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By: Gernish Tinuoye Shakur

[Analyses]–In a world of perplexities and utter bewilderment, people seems to be entrapped and enthralled by frivolities especially if it bothers on trend. Humans lost their bearing and got trapped in the moment thereby embracing ideals at variance with human values and enrichment.

It’s all about the trending “ONE CORNER” dance which was warped from a song with the same title, It has livened up not only the street of Ghana;its base but also Nigeria. Nigeria and Ghana have enjoyed over the years, the fusion and transposition of culture and trends especially among their artistes which was not surprising when I heard numerous Nigerian version of ONE CORNER. It seemed to have earn a place in every Dj’s repertoire whenever their service is required in any social gatherings or events, even hosts request for it to be played.

Countless ludicrous videos had been shot and have permeated the social media to show its acceptance and cred by ignoramuses of musical criticism on the street! It is an aggressive pelvic thrust performed while holding on to either floor, a pole or any supporting object while chorus repeatedly rings “one corner” in a rasping tone promptly followed with an inaudible creole of ramblings and humming! Many have been seen taking a daring positions- underneath cars, on top of walls, on gutter etc”. It however came with a calamitous occurrence when a 19-year-old woman reportedly died in the central region of Ghana after a wall she attempted to dance on collapsed. This got me thinking and jolted me into a frenzy state! I was forced to turn a momentary critique by this appalling circumstance, and I began the analysis of this nasty track from a gullible musical stalwart named Pataapa from the street of Ghana and I discovered it lacks what a junior secondary school pupil will adjudge as possessing “no moral lesson” after listening to a worthless folktale!

Though an upcoming artiste in Ghana. It was reported that One Corner is his first hit and he even took delight in the acceptance of the music and its Inseparably embarrassing dance from his dim-witted publics and even accusing a fellow artiste trying to take away his glory by dropping a track with similar title: Corner Corner. I felt numb at his embarrassing claim on this inopportune track. Will I be apt to dubbed this trending but ridiculous hit “an offensive and demoralizing debut”?

It’s obvious that many African hip hop artists corrode the psyches of “infantile youths” through the propagation of obscenities, slangs, vulgar utterances and fraudulent tactics, all couched in lousy lyrics to mislead youths with no direction! They took delight in mental lethargy, complacence and shun mental rigor; for laziness and delectation in vulgarity became their doing but deceitfully sounds responsible during interview sessions.

Music, especially hip hop gained its popularity in the late 20thcentury among the black American youths as a means of airing their grievances in a hostile and repressive environment which espoused pains, deprivations, frustrations tribulations and segregation over the blacks and this threatened their existence as human beings.

So, giving hope of a brighter morrow to the incapacitated blacks is expedient. This however gave rap music its relevance in this lamentable situational context.

This, so far brings to the fore the brilliance of the artistes(rappers) which was apparent in the evocation of graphical details and conveyance of apt and desired emotions in their songs. This made critiques to carefully appraise every music as it is also part of literature which is worthy of appraisal. Feedback from pundits on analysis of such music motivated artistes and made them work even harder on their lyrical contents which eventually places them on the hierarchy of “All-time greatest”. This made every artiste fight for a loftier and envious position in the history of music by providing their audience with GOOD MUSIC.

For instance, the case of a slain American rapper, Amaru Tupac Shakur, from Manhattan is praise worthy for he was often and consistently ranked as one of the greatest of all time among rappers. This was due to his great rhyming skills, graphical evocations of experiences and most of all his vigorous enunciation. All those bothers on his ingenuity and intellectual prowess. Though he, alongside other talented rappers lived a life of violence, drug addiction, crimes, engage in series of legal battles. They can be said to have been nurtured by the prejudicial and segregate ideology of the American society. They are the native sons according to Richard Wright’s held belief about the American segregation expounded in his book, “Native Son”. However Dominant Themes in Shakur songs revolved around violence, hardships, pains, agonies and injustice   the black Americans faced. Being a literature student, his poetic eminence and evoking artistry of both sordid and pleasant memories can never be overlooked. His track, “Dear Mama” where he detailed his childhood poverty and his mother’s addiction to crack cocaine but argued that his love and deep respect supersede bad memories. Dear mama, was certified platinum, won several awards and most importantly in 2010, the song was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress, who deemed it a work that is “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and/or inform or reflect life in the United States.” In a press release, the organization called the song “a moving and eloquent homage to both the murdered rapper’s own mother and all mothers struggling to maintain a family in the face of addiction, poverty and societal indifference.”

However, the luminous intellectual brilliance shown by this rapper and others of his generation tells every one of the lofty intellection they’ve got through their voice which without no doubt earn them admiration and respect even in academia. But in Africa, it’s a tale of woes; extremely few upheld this intellectual principle in their lyrics which obviously put Patapaa on the dark side.

In African clime, music turned out to be a pliable trade for the dolts, dimwits and the intellectual weaklings whose compelling zeal had long vanished for lack of ardor, courage and stoicism. I believe only few contemporaries of these problematic rappers read about “the old pioneers” of the game, because if they all did, our societies would not be riddled with worthless lyrical content; of ridiculous songs which corrodes the mind. An obscure proponent may however have argued that pioneers of hip hop propagated lewd lyrics and obscenities as well but from these “anomalies” stemmed a revolutionary change in the society and intellectual rigor which ensure the best was put forth before their audience and this earn them respect and admiration which ultimately place them among immortals for what they’ve done with words could never be overly bypass even by the harshest critic!

Moreover, both Harvard and Berkeley universities have also offered classes focusing on the late Tupac Shakur’s philosophical, historical and literary influences by comparing his rap to older works, including Shakespeare’s plays (though he’s a Shakespeare aficionado) and the Bible. Similarly, Professor Andrew Hoberek told Consequences of Sound, a Chicago based online magazine during an interview that he believes Jay Z and Kanye West are ”warming up to the level of major poets.” For a track (The Throne) of theirs was used to helped teach college kids English.

The Ivy League school was among the first to acknowledge that hip hop has a place in the classroom, adding to their curricula a course titled: The Evolution of Rap Music in the United States to its 1993 offerings like, for instance, Rice University: Religion and Hip hop culture; University of Washington: The Textual Appeal of Tupac Shakur.

Interestingly, Shakur’s work (lyrics) has been chosen as project topics by final year students in American universities and proper analysis of his lyrics were carried out as partial fulfillment necessary to earn their degree certificate.

Uniquely, a homely example is the case of Reminisce, a Nigerian rapper who got an honorable mention from TIME magazine of New York in 2014 when Eminem launched a rap battle league    called “Total slaughter” TIME listed a few international rappers who are making their voice heard.

In the post titled – “Forget Eminem: World Rappers You Should Meet”, Chord from Sweden, Salome MC from Iran, Bushido from Germany, Huckleberry P from Korea and Fabri Fibra from Italy were listed alongside Reminisce from Nigeria. According to the international publication, they are revolutionizing the world of rap.

If we may pause, and reflect on this, revolutionize in what sense? Nothing but intellectual and cultural relevance contrary to some distasteful and foul lyrics with little mental effort which might even make more wave and enjoy more airplay like the licentious “WO” by Olamide Badoo. I think songs with little intellectual value or capable of corrupting the minds should never be allowed to see the light of the day after a panel of competent critiques might have weigh it’s intellectual, cultural and moral relevance; like this libidinal dance/song of a thing – ONE CORNER.




Copyright 2017 The Page. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.thepageng.com as the source.

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