Stop the dagga whining about soca
February 19, 2009
The piece is by Owen “Blakka” Ellis. I am not sure what date it was penned or put into public circulation, although it was clearly done recently. I am also publishing it here without one iota of permission from him; I know he would approve though. You can also complain directly to him if you disagree with any of his claims: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whenever people offer critically conscious commentary on the lewd and licentious lyrical content in some dancehall music, a few frantic defenders of the crap always draw the old worn-out comparisons to soca.
My response, one long kiss-teeth and a longer yawn! Yeah man, I frankly think those comparisons are not only tired, but disingenuous.
Really now people,how can one compare ‘dollar wine’ to ‘daggering’? As a man, I can follow the singer’s instruction and dollar wine all by myself, but daggering definitely demands that I find a female counterpart (and whether she consents or not) I proceed to violently ‘dagger dat’.
How many soca songs you know where the lyrics directly and explicitly name and describe intimate female body parts in graphic, vulgar language without any attempt to cleverly disguise the denotation?
How many soca lyrics request that if you are not fond of the singer you are to do unspeakable things to your own mother?
Look man, I’m no big fan of soca music. I have actually delivered a paper at an international academic conference in which I publicly challenge our official promotion of that commercialised imitation of Trinidadian culture that we call Jamaica Carnival; and I argue that ‘passa-passa’ is among the more authentic exemplars of the ‘carnivalesque’ Jamaican culture.
But I think pickney fi stay a dem bed when big people a skin out at Passa-passa. That’s what I call regulation. I also totally support the view that, the same way how we wouldn’t put some passa-passa ‘bruck-out’ on TV during prime time, we shouldn’t put some of those Carnival scenes on either.
But I really don’t think we can justifiably defend slack dancehall lyrics by saying that soca songs do the same thing. That’s rubbish!
And I don’t think we should belabour the arguments against soca as a way of resisting attempts to regulate our airwaves. People, nothing is wrong with enforcing laws. And regulation works.
Whenever I’m in Jamaica and I have the time, I always visit that ‘madhouse’ on the Knutsford Boulevard hip Strip. I enjoying studying people and observing human social interaction – people display more truths about themselves when they are having fun – and Asylum is a great place to indulge that interest. I personally prefer going there on a Friday night when the after-work professional crowd comprises the main attendees.
That’s partly because the vibes is little milder than say a Tuesday night. Admittedly though, it’s also because my little brother has been one of the hosts for the ‘wacky Fridays’ interactive sessions for eight years, and I enjoy the opportunity to watch him work.
Now, depending on the night or the DJ in charge, some very explicit content can hit the airwaves inside the club, and crazy daggering gwaan! However, people who can’t handle that kind of content can still take their family for a meal at one of the many fast-food outlets in proximity to the club without being bombarded with what they view as inappropriate lyrics, because the venue is sound proof.
And the heavy security at the door ensures that no underage people are allowed inside and all weapons remain outside. Plus, once you’re inside you can’t miss the big chest, muscle-bound bouncers patrolling the space ready to throw out any guy who lights a spliff or bruck a fight. That is an example of regulation working.
So I suggest that more people support the recent attempts by the Broadcast Commission to enforce regulations. Yeah, it kinda belated, but better late than never; ’cause the current chaos can’t go on forever!