Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Africa’s latest crisis: Shitty R&B

Ever get the feeling black Americans are letting down our brothers and sisters in Africa when it comes to musical inspiration?

Used to be, we would put forth a Dizzy Gillespie, and Africa would answer with a Hugh Masekela.

We gave the world James Brown; Africa gave us Fela Kuti in return.

Well, after the long, sad twilight of American R&B, wherein those two letters have lost all spiritual significance – (I say it started back around Al B. Sure!) – we and our effed-up record industry must take some blame for a young man called Ian the Kisser, and for his new single, “Rain of Wetness.”

Supposedly, Ian the Kisser is one of the hottest R&B/hip-hop artists in Ghana. With dreams of international stardom.

This song is horrible.

Supposedly, the “Rain of Wetness” video can’t be shown on TV in Ghana because it’s too damn sexy! (Ian the Kisser is nibbling titty at one point.) Sounds like a hustle to me. Anything to get people talking about something besides the music. Wonder where he learned that from?


jena6 said...

I stopped watching at around 1:20. Where's "Chocolate Rain" when you need it?

Maybe if R. Kelly could produce a track or two.... I mean he's knows a little sumptin' about "Rain of Wetness"/golden showers.

Ian's kinda cute, though.

daughterofthedream said...

Funny you say that!

One night a few years ago I was visiting my dad in South Africa and hung out with some young professionals.

We got into a convo about hip hop and man, they LIT into Black Americans about why "we" let the N-word export around the world in horrible rap music.

They told me we WERE letting down other blacks around the world since we were the source of the music.

"Why don't you all do something?" they kept asking.

I had no strong defense beyond, "some of us agree and are trying."

They were frustrated and I was getting tired of them venting at me like I was the singular representation of Black America, even though I'm half South African.

Undercover Black Man said...

Jena 6: You nasty! (But you ain't lyin'...)

Daughter: I love South Africa! Spent two weeks in Jozi in 2000, met a lot of people in the television industry. And fell in love with South African music of all styles.

Talk about global impact; what struck me was the lasting impact of Bob Marley. I was in a club that has a famous Monday-night open-mike scene. (My memory sucks... I can't remember the name of the place.) But when a singer did "Redemption Song," the whole club sang along. It gave me goosebumps.

SJ said...

Wow that was awful.

grace said...

heya u so called Undercover Blackman,(bet u ain't even black)
i just read your opinion about John Essiam (aka Ian The Kisser)and i totally disagree with you, i listen to his songs all the time (and it so happens that Rain of Wetness $ Mistake are my favourites), I think he is totally different from most artist coming from Africa and therefore shouldn't even be compared to them...i think his music is orignal and your reference to African-American influence in this context is very much overstated, and you must be really ignorant to believe that African music is shaped by African-Americans(if you may please do some research).And your comment about people singing along to one of the most famous songs once again proves your ignorance...I mean c'mon everybody, anywhere would sing along to a song they like and know whatz the big deal about "Redemption Song"???

Undercover Black Man said...

Grace, welcome. I appreciate your comment.

I'm happy you get some pleasure from Ian the Kisser's music. So there's nothing for me to say about that.

But I have to object when you write:

"... your reference to African-American influence in this context is very much overstated..."

Grace, come on... he is totally trying to write, sing and pose like an American R&B singer. Or am I missing something? What is he influenced by? Polish folk ballads?

Anonymous said...

i think you're being unfair. the song is actually really good and i dont think your "shitty r'n'b" label was justified. I don't see what your problem with his style of music and i think that his rise to fame could have great benefits for Ghana and its music scene. To me, it seems like you are just hating unnecessarily instead of supporting an African artist making it big.