Kom­manda un­leashes ‘con­scious’ sin­gle

Sunday Express - - People -

SOUTH Africa-based rap­per, Kom­manda Obbs, preaches pa­tri­o­tism in his re­cently re­leased sin­gle, Ma­bele­bele, em­pha­sis­ing “how much peo­ple are eas­ily fooled by the glitz and glam­our, bling and fly by night trends” of west­ern cul­ture.

Ma­bele­bele was re­leased last week as a buildup sin­gle to his up­com­ing self-ti­tled of­fer­ing whose re­lease date is yet to be re­vealed.

It is a low tempo Hip Hop track with Kwaito in­flu­ences on the beat which al­lows the con­scious rap­per to flow in his sig­na­ture deep-rooted Se­sotho verses. He does not mince words about stand­ing his ground and never stoop­ing down to be in­flu­enced by shal­low trends.

The track is cur­rently avail­able for stream­ing on mu­sic web­site Sound­cloud where it was streamed at least 1 000 times within the first two days of be­ing up­loaded. It will soon be on sale on other dig­i­tal plat­forms such as iTunes and Deezer.

Kom­manda laments how Ba­sotho have be­come spoilt by free mu­sic down­loads to a point where that is killing the lo­cal mu­sic in­dus­try. He said only new­com­ers could give out mu­sic for free as a mar­ket­ing strat­egy but the ul­ti­mate goal was to make money out of mu­sic.

Ma­bele­bele was in­spired by the chil­dren’s folk song Ma­bele­bele a Sekhooa (loosely trans­lated to mean ‘west­ern berries’) which con­cep­tu­alises Ma­bele­bele as the per­ceived stan­dards of the good life.

Kom­manda uses the Ma­bele­bele con­cept to ad­dress the is­sue of west­ern stan­dards of the good life. The song com­mu­ni­cates a mes­sage of de­fi­ance of the west­ern dream, which he views as merely the pur­suit of riches, fame and the ma­te­rial pos­ses­sions that come with it.

“It is true that for decades the west­ern in­flu­ence has had the up­per hand over our be­liefs whereas as Africans, we have al­ways been very rich with our re­sources,” Kom­manda said.

“It is re­ally up to us as to change that or sim­ply ac­knowl­edge that west­ern trends have taken over and we should just fol­low suit as our fore­fa­thers also did.

“It is up to us to de­cide whether or not to fol­low suit or take it from where Sanko­mota (a lo­cal mu­sic band that fea­tured Tsepo Tshola) left. They may make us feel in­fe­rior but the whole world is look­ing at Africa, trick­ing it to take its re­sources and make money out of them.

“It’s a mat­ter of be­liev­ing in our­selves, ac­knowl­edg­ing that the likes of (Malian) Salif Keita, (late Nige­rian) Fela Kuti and other mu­si­cians who through their mu­sic em­braced who they re­ally are. The big­gest chal­lenge is get­ting to the point where we are not ex­ploited. We need to know the es­sen­tial el­e­ments of our craft.”

The Ma­put­soe-born rap­per clearly states that his be­lief in the ‘African Dream’ which is putting Africans first on their own land.

“Iron­i­cally Robert Mu­gabe has re­cently been ousted as the Pres­i­dent of Zim­babwe, but then him and the late pres­i­dent of Libya ( Muam­mar Gaddafi) ad­vo­cated for the African dream- an Africa with­out bor­ders and one con­ti­nen­tal cur­rency, thus, putting their coun­try­men be­fore the West.

“I am not try­ing to di­vide or iso­late peo­ple but it’s about stand­ing our ground and not be­ing made to feel in­fe­rior. We are a gen­er­a­tion of in­tel­lec­tu­als so the idea is to ex­pose peo­ple to the rich­ness of our cul­ture, and de­sist from be­ing a com­pro­mised peo­ple,” he said.

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