One of the writers that contributed to Our Stories is releasing a new song tomorrow and he wrote an article to accompany the release. Remember smish? If you don’t, this article and the song coming out tomorrow will remind you of these brilliant mind. Enjoy and please share. Let’s help stop break the chain of stereotype.
This song, titled ‘replay’ is a reflection of my mindset in 2013, when it was written. If I were to re-write it today, the message would probably be improved and the sound would be better. The message still potent, however, and I will try to bring more of it to light in this article. Please, move with me.
Humans have this uncanny behavioural tendency of maintaining the status quo. We settle into a pattern and if chance permits us, we can stick to this for the rest of our lives. Even the most liberal human is subtly conservative; his liberalism tends to conservatism when he settles into a particular liberal pattern. Because the definition of liberalism is overtly intertwined and synonymous with the word freedom, erratic change becomes a pattern in a liberal mindset or culture. This, in turn becomes conservative in concept and can only be liberated by conservatism in such situation. The only way to rid oneself of this and stay ahead of the pack is to be ‘different’.
But often enough, being different is usually associated with weirdness and negative isolation and this without doubt is true. However, it should be noted that in the annals of time and the evolution of man, the different have always managed to beat the status quo and stand the test of time. Most of the people worth hearing or reading about today are people that have been different as opposed to their times. From noah, who was despised and ridiculed for building the structure that would save the entire human and animal species- save the fishes and other marine bodies of course, to Napoleon Bonaparte who was initially laughed at for the style of battle he came up with, which was more free flowing and versatile as compared to the traditional approach to warfare in his time. With this new style, he was able to conquer more than half of Europe and by extension civilisation in that period. It was from his style that the Germans developed their blitzkrieg (lightning fast) strategy with which they conquered the whole of Europe in the second world war- save for the USSR and Great Britain of course. Also, Kanye west, over a space of seven studio albums and less than fifteen years has repeatedly changed the face, sound and soul of hip hop and rap music till date. Something that can’t be said for anyone else in the game since its advent in 1979. I can confidently say that over 70% of the hip hop sounds, including other subgenres under it that we have today can in some way be traced to Kanye west, his production, musicality or personality. He is undoubtedly the Usain Bolt/ Albert Einstein of new school/modern urban music.
What then has set these individuals apart? I believe it’s their ability to stand against the waves of thinking in their time to beat the system. People always want something different but don’t want to be different, mostly because it takes enormous sacrifice and resolve. The question is, are you willing to go through the motions??
Stereotypes are the order of the day, and the ability to break them and make something different and better might initially be opposed, but quality always speaks. You can’t fight innovation. You’ll lose on two fronts; you lose relevanc with time and this has a negative effect on the psyche. You become archaic and bitter at the same time and this is a case without remedy.
In relation to nigerian rap music, Mode 9 spearheaded the movement, MI made it more appealing to the common man, Da grin broke it down further by infusing our local language- olamide continued and perfected his work. In a more simplistic manner: Mode9 started rapping in naija, MI brought rap into naija and olamide brought naija into rap. It is what it is, argue with the facts and numbers. These people beat the stereotypes of their time, even if what they’re doing has now become the stereotype. The main challenge here is, What will you do? Or rather, what will I do? In the same vein, one should mention the fact almost everyone doing exceptionally well and that would be remembered in times to come is doing something different. Take a cue from falzn whoever thought comedy rap would be a thing. The fundamental truth is, anything can be a ‘thing’ once it’s mixed with innovation, once it has the ability to stand out. We all yearn for something different, that breath of fresh air but the same old paths won’t get us there. We have to craft something new, as MI aptly put it in his song, The Box “they say that don’t change the sound, I say that new s**t must be found”
Replay is basically a call to arms for everyone. Find your stereotype and wage a war against it. Resist the urge to fight today’s battles with yesterday’s weapons. It is a war afterall, whether you choose to admit it or not. Let us kill our stereotypes before it kills us. I’ll end with this legendary quote from one of the greatest writers ever, the Russian, Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881)
Without war, human beings stagnate in comfort and affluence and lose the capacity for great thoughts and feelings, they become cynical and subside into barbarism
Replay comes out tomorrow, be sure to download it.3