One thing I have noted among many of my peers is that most never actually take time to digest the lyrics of a song properly. I’ve seen people ironically drinking and listening to the late Lucky Dube’s Slave; a song about being addicted to liquor (alcoholism). I could excuse those who do not speak or understand English but it also happens with songs sung in our Creole, Tok Pisin (pidgin).
Yes, a few years back a song by Leonard Kania reached the top of the charts. The song was called Black Pawa and was a ballad about black magic and sorcery – the kind that was used to attract the opposite sex. The irony was that the song established a strong following among a nation of Christians. Even now the message in the songs still eludes us.
If you watch the auditions of the Digicel Stars 2, you will notice a good number of those auditioning clearly do not know the words. This suggests that my peers do not actually listen to the lyrics; instead they focus their minds on the music. This is an easy trend to fall in. I guess it’s also a reason I love old school rap.
One of my favorite rappers DMX once rapped to a studio audience and at the end said ‘fuck a beat, listen to words of the damn song’. He made it absolutely clear that rap was not about the music – it was about the lyrics. Even the legendary poet Tupac Shakur (2Pac) knew the power of lyrics and all of his songs, although surrounded with profanity, had in its core, an underlying message of love, strength and hope.
The underlying issue is that we are no longer getting the intended message. Music (and poetry) is not something that should just be read or heard; it must be digested and broken down to its core in order for it to actually mean something.
The next time you listen to a song or read a poem, do not just lightly trod through, take a deeper look – you might just get the message.