Setting the Record Straight: Enough With The Nonsense.
Stories shape the world; those stories told about us, shape the way the world views us. What then happens when those you trust to tell your story spin it out of the intended context. What happens when your lines are hijacked and distorted? Your time, efforts and investments squandered. Your reputation taken for granted?
In hip hop, you “clap back” and set the record straight. This is the reason behind the song “Enough with the Nonsense.” On the track, Mcs Ziyanda the strange, Sulfuric and Lethal, stage a state of the genre address; taking to the booth, to share their views on the current state of Hip Hop as a genre and in relation to the general music/entertainment industry in Uganda. They discuss a range of issues including originality, creativity and the professionalism within the genre and the entire music and entertainment industry.
“Lets talk for a while, I want you to face this,” goes one of the lines, questioning, “What happened to the good old poetry ages?” These Lyrics are described as a wake-up call for Mcs to bring back the “black and white days,” when raps carried substance. Instead, “We got niggas on the evenin’ show…Talkin’ big cribs, big dreams, I don’t even know.” In the song’s opening verse, Ziyanda took aim at the contemporary rap lyrics, which didn’t make any sense, because “all that people rapped about are materialistic aspects of life.”
Sulfuric then opens the second verse in an intransigent mood. “Trying to prove a point only proves that man’s weak.” He spits, before inviting his would be verbal adversaries to look up his list of accomplishments, in the line. “Call me Mr. Bean, I just let my acts speak.” Sulfuric, a solidified MC in the rightful, thought to use this platform to address un-founded information making rounds in the media at the time. According to a source “There was a lot of trash going around, fake news in the media. A lot of crap on social media.” His delivery takes on a precautionary intonation. Helped by a quick-witted reverence to the ancient African wisdom, testament to his inveterate wordsmith.
Lethal then puts the wraps to this piece of rallying advocacy, by calling out the persistent pay for play tactics upheld by many in the media houses and outlets. His plight is muraled in the lines,
“Radios won’t play you unless you got the paper. TV’s the same…presenters b like haters…All I see is Nigerians heavy on the airwaves. It’s like they segregate us. But that’s the status of hip-hop in Ug.”
As a Pioneer in the game, Lethal bemoans this persistent corruption, lack of professionalism and obscure copyright laws. “There is no love and respect for the game here (Uganda). Everything is corruption. So I was trying to put a point out there about the things done behind the closed doors. At the end of the day, you pay these presenters and program directors to get your music in rotation. At the end of the day they play your songs a few times and task you to go out and promote your music all over again. These guys have taken a lot of money from a lot of artists. Even with the copyright laws, it’s all confusing and we don’t see nothing.” He hopes that his voice can help spark a debate among necessary stakeholders so that upcoming acts do not have to experience the same struggles that they had to maneuver in the game.
For a vision inspired by the need to debunk rumors and fallacies in the media, the producers could not have picked any better artists for the task. “Radio (was) playing shit. Even forcing sane rappers into doing fake shit. We had to address this.” A mind behind the track said, echoing feelings of the trio on this song.
“I was so cool with the idea because my views about contemporary rap were exactly the same.” Ziyanda revealed. Lethal, having worked on a plethora of past collaborative projects, also made an easy meal of the concept. “When they reached out to me, i was like why not. Every one knows me as a dynamic rapper. I can be Aggressive and slow. So when I listened to beat,…I just knew I had to go aggressive and let people know what is and what is not. That is me. That is what I am about.” Word play, skill and lyrical craftsmanship aside, Ziyanda, Sulfuric and Lethal were perfect because of their relevance to the concept at play. These three draw their authority from a combined experience of close to 3 decades in the game, stretching to as far back as the very foundations of the hip hop underground movement in Uganda.
This however is not your classic dis track. It is more of a pat on the back. A call for artists (veterans and new), producers, promoters, journalists and fans to embrace originality, get more creative and re-embrace hip hop as a tool for good. In the words of Ziyanda, “the album was also supposed to bring together most rappers in the country. …a great way to envision everybody being together as opposed to dissing each other, which aspect was borrowed from other cultures in the first place.”
This is a reminder to all the Hip hop fraternity (artists, producers, promoters, media and fans); to get back to rappin’ for the love, rather than the fame. To increase in dedication, motivation, and concentration. To ditch mediocre (and unfounded) conversations. To be progressive by embracing professionalism and transparency in the support for genuine local content. Enough with the nonsense!