NIGERIAN MUSIC VIDEOS
(for the lack of creative juices and with all pun intended, I shall lack originality and spot light other blogs...lol)
I saw a really cool video on Yetty's blog from ELDEE of the Trybesmen fame. It is his latest and you can find that the others like 'I go Yarn' on YOU-TUBE as well as on the website. I have always been a fan of the Trybesmen crew and while some of Eldee's solo stuff has varied a bit in style and lyrical content, it has never lacked freshness and creativity. He's also continued to reflect that consciousness and gab-humor that was first introduced when Trybesmen first hit the scene (Yeah they made it hot to not just laugh about the silliness of the music but to also get hip with it too). I love the composition and the technicalities but am not sure how I feel about the content of the video, I am some what sidelined about it but I shall leave you to decide that in the comment section of Yetty's blog. I also stumbled across one from Dare Art-Alade, Escalade, that I'd not seen yet on Naija Gal's blog. See ehn, as I mentioned about my Fridays I usually search for videos on You Tube but today I specially went in search of more Trybescrew videos and other Nigerian musicians, in the hopes of seeing something fresh and creative but I have to say I stumbled across some things that were a bit disappointing.
Which brings me to wetin I wan yarn....
This might dig up old wounds but I have been burning to say this for a hot minute now but I just let it slide because I was hoping that I would find something to counter my annoyance, but that has yet to happen. I must wonder, am I the only one who is noticing how music videos from Nigeria are beginning to become too much of an 'apery' (if that's isn't a word, it is now) of American MTV/ BET style videos. I have had this argument before, nearly 8 years ago and it turned into an elaborate story of cockroach, greencard and yellow bubble vest (coded gist). I laugh every time I remember that, it was very funny. Ironically I have to say that conversation could have been had yesterday because the bone of contention still remains but in a variant fashion. Don't get me wrong at all, I am not dawging anybody or any ones craft at all. Just making an honest journalistic observation and laying out my opinion, which no one has to agree with. I applaud how everyone is stepping up the game and making the music and the videos better in terms of composition, videography, the technical and aesthetic parts of the craft(I ma yet to see much of this improvement in the movie industry). I would have to say that much has improved in those aspects as well as in the quality of the music and the creativity of the musicians (in some cases their directors). There is nothing like doing something and doing it well, which certain people have done and continue to do over and over again. Raising the bar each time. I still have small beef with the trend towards hip-hop but hey that seems to be where the rest of the world is headed so why should Nigeria be different. My major beef and bone of contention has now shifted from hating all that rapping and cussing (it doesn't flow with the accent at all)to the content of the music videos themselves and the ideas they convey. While I love to support my Nigerian musicians, I must say that I am just a tad bit disappointed by the absence of 'Nigerianess' in the videos with the exception of the accent and the flag. In the case that the environment is very Nigerian, the musicians kill the feel with their very very fakely forced American accent that you know some of them picked up from watching WAAAAY too much TV. These days I can only bear to listen to the CD's and have now become 'afraid' to see the videos because that would just kill it for me.
I know for every musician, the ultimate goal is to make it to MTV/BET eventually (or is Channel O the preference now? ). The music videos on these channels seem to be the yard stick across the board. You could never have seen any African video that didn't have a big name collabo linked to it on MTV/BET(eg. Wyclef and Youssour N'dour). The sad part was that great African music and videos went unnoticed to the rest of the world. Circa 2000 and something MTV Base lands and finally a forum. BUT I am not sure whether that has even helped the situation because we all know it is just more viewers and another market for an influx of American music. Check out this forum on BBC, Is TV Good For Africa?. Me I know my own answer but I shall not speak much about that because I just sent my resume to them. LOL!! No hypocrisy at all, just that there are some forces which you just can't change by putting up a fight. You will just die of a migraine, if the athritis medication the doctor gave you instead of tylenol does not kill you first.
As I was saying about the videos, they are all beginning to look very un-African/un-Nigerian. Like if I flip the channel I could be fooled that I am watching BET. Where is the creativity? Where is the culture? Why the copying? It is true that these African musicians are competing with the Americans in terms of air play and are compelled to look more American or shall I say 'contemporary' (whatever) but the reality is that our difference is what will propel us to the top. My latest example is TU-Face's 'African Queen'. The reason that video won all the accolades, including 'First African Music Video to win MTV Award' is a 'NO-BRAINER'. Have ya'll ever seen a video like that on MTV or BET. Luda's all around the world and Jay-z's 'Girls' video from way back (the one about the African girl that wanted half)are the only ones that seem similar. That plus the authentic sound (of African instruments) instead of highly synthesized 'jim-jim' beats made it a head turner, sounding very different to all ears. WE DO NOT NEED THE AMERICAN AUDIENCE TO JUSTIFY OUR MUSIC OR THE WAY WE PRESENT IT. Lagbaja for instance. I know I may never get my guy crooning in the desert (that corrine Bailey chick stole my bicycle idea...lol) I am sick and tired of seeing skimpy booty shaking video girls (i'll excuse the choreographed dancers) on MTV and BET that's why I don't watch those channels, and I am sure as heck not ready to see them in African videos. Or am I going to be told now to turn off those channels too. Seeing as my only access is through YOU-TUBE, I guess I could really just not go searching for them in the first place.
The whole world is going through this globalization/ Mcdonaldization phase where every thing must become more American before it becomes acceptable or embraced. We see it every day. The move to modernization and 'contemporariness' (another made up word). Some say it is a good thing, indeed it is and I understand that there are areas where we have to make concessions because of trend and time, but some 'modernization' and 'contemporariness' is bad news, it is conformity, it is extinction. Must we as Africans continue to compromise on everything, including our ART AND CULTURE which is the best in the world, contrary to what the capitalists, the big corporations and THE MAN want you to believe. They tell you 'Son no one is ready for that primitive stuff' and we buy into that and trade it for their CRAP. But then get hype when Luda goes to shoot a video featuring African women and Culture in J'burg. WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?
Anyways a word is enough for the wise, ME I DON YARN MY OWN. JUST an expression of opinion. If you no like am MAKE YOU BOUNCE. Meanwhile here are some videos that I found on YOU-TUBE. I am liking that D-BANJ 'Mobolowon' and 'Galala' (my razz side...you should see my police and thief style). I like Dare's songs but I am a bit on the fence about the video(on second thought I really like that Fuji video especially the green screen dancers and the smoky bust stop part. NOw that's hot. Guess there are some that make the cut and others that just don't, or may be i'm making a biased judgement and canning those that really don't put much thought into the videos). Can somebody tell me what in the high heavens is 'K-K-Kenny Ogungbe' doing there. Is he trying to be the 'P-DIDDY' of Nigeria now...LOL. As in do your thang Mr. K-O, age aint nothing but a few digits just no pull muscle o.
By the way I am still looking for someone to write and produce the remix of Cardinal Rex Lawson's 'Love Adaure' featuring Me. Hmh perhaps Tuface would like to be the vocalist and Eldee can be the rapper, me I can manage the hook. Like joke like joke now Addy will appear on You-Tube busting out in some 'atilogwu' dance in the video like Beyonce... now ya'll know she stole all those 'ajasco' moves in 'Dejavu' from an igbo dancer.
Enjoy my video-list some of whihc are just abysmal. Feel free to express your self in the comment box