Ever since I discovered the wonders of Chapman I’ve never ceased to crave for more of it. I like to guzzle in its magical sweetness every now and then and that’s just how it’s been for some time; often times a shawarma offers some support and it makes the moment even more magical. So sometime this week I’m at this bar where I go to have a Chapman, I sit there waiting for my mix then I decide to keep myself busy with the large screen TV suspended on the wall of this bar’s lobby and as I look, there’s a familiar song on the music channel; the singer is the talented, chocolate skinned and temptingly handsome Iyanya Mbuk and the song is…’Your waist.’ Recall that the gentleman is the same person that sang the monster hit, ‘All ma ‘laydies’…kukere’. As usual the beat of this song (your waist) is the kind that would get even the staunchest of stoics’ boogying away on the dance floor and the video quality is crystal clear as well. “This man must have paid an arm and a leg to get the video done”, I thought.
The song is 1 minute old by this time and all I’ve heard so far is, ‘your waist, your waist, all I want is your waist…’ and a few unintelligible words which he chants intermittently. The singer apparently is intimating the scantily clad lady in the video of his desire for something very important- ‘HER WAIST’, a request to which the girl responds in the affirmative. If her verbal response (in an erotic soaked tone) of “all you want is my waist, my waist, you want my figure 8” isn’t convincing for the seeker, her actions do speak convincingly louder than her words as she generously wriggles her well-endowed behind much to the singer’s delight. She is even joined by a gaggle of semi-nude girls whose bodies glow invitingly. They join her in the seductive, serpentine movement of their all-important waist and the next thing, the singer appears shirtless, flaunting his attractive upper abdomen and dancing gleefully. At some point he gets really excited by the way things are going that he begins to call out names of popular female celebrities demanding for nothing else but their waists and then he sings some more of ‘your waist’ and then the song fades. So there you have it; a song of about 4 minutes, enjoying massive airplay around the world, whose central theme is the woman’s mid region!!!
The Nigerian music industry has undoubtedly achieved overwhelming success in many areas and is unarguably one of Nigeria’s biggest job-creating sectors today. It is one of the most organized markets in Nigeria as it creates multiplier opportunities for complementary services like music/movie production, event management, DJ services, equipment purchase/leasing, marketing, retailing etc. The snag however is in the product being sold. Like Iyanya, 80% of Nigeria’s musicians project very shameful lyrical contents in their songs. If it isn’t about a girl’s ‘front and back’ (i.e. Breasts and butt), it will be about wild partying, drunkenness, smoking, flashy wealth, at other times it is even about outright sex. Basically, the easiest way to sell in the industry today is to be meaningless and very importantly to objectify and sexualize women, just reduce them to nothing but sex objects and make them look like mannequins with body accessories as toys that should be played with and dumped when satisfied; better still make them look like pleasure givers who are meant to satisfy fully clothed men, sitting with their friends, sipping whisky at parties as the women ‘shake dia something’. So musicians today are working really hard to outsmart themselves in the game. The buzz is on, vulgarity, sensuality and sexuality have become the mantra in the industry, you are even persecuted if your music is sane and looks to pass a positive message. It is even worse if you’re a gospel singer; you become a laughing stock and are labelled too conservative and old skool. These days it is common to see morally upright young people who once sang in the church choir metamorphose into propagators of the party, sex, ‘front and back’ gospel because they have become musicians. It is not also strange to see juveniles, sometimes as young as 21 and even 17 singing lewd songs and showing very embarrassing videos yet enjoying the patronage and applause of their fans. This kind of music isn’t food to the soul but food to the body.
So the buzz words in the industry today are words like “shake dat ting”, “give it to me”, “baby you go kill meoo”, “I want ya somting” and sometimes to appeal to their sceptical and religious fans they throw in some empty religious lines like “halle, halle, halleluiaa!”, “Baba God don bless meoo!” etc. and many times these irreverent lines fall in-between very ungodly raunchy lyrics and scenes, and wait till you see them mount the rostrum to receive an award- they wax very spiritual, short of speaking in tongues and bizarrely, they even acknowledge this “Baba God” as the inspiration behind their songs. It’s unlikely that “Baba God” will inspire such obscenity, what do you think? But who are we to judge?
We have collectively replaced values with vices and have inadvertently given the coming generation the capital to invest in more perverseness and amorality when their time comes; in fact we have already failed the next generation for celebrating obscenity and for feting their perpetrators as icons and role models. I foresee the advent of public pornography in the nearest future as what we have is ‘soft porn’ already.
What we need is music that promotes Godly values and helps to connect people with their maker. We need music that serve as tools for socio-political awareness and wholesome music that has the ability to give emotional refreshment to marriages, relationships and all peoples who are encumbered by the many trauma of living in this country of ours. But these take a lot of hard work, sanity and creativity, something which many of our musicians lack.
Frank Edwards, Asa, Sinach,Timi Dakolo, Samsong, Lagbaja, Bez, Lara George etc. Deserve my recognition and commendation at this point for their dedication to (one or two or all of) Godly, inspirational and creative music, devoid of the vulgarity that has bedevilled the industry today. They are musicians whose songs I’ll proudly play for my grandchildren tomorrow whenever I am boasting to them about the glory of today and should they ask me about ‘your waist’, ‘booty call’, ‘Oliver twist’, ‘manCHESTer and ASSernal’ et al, what exactly do I say to them?
“By the way, where’s my Chapman?”
John Offiong [SAVVY]