You want bamba
You wanna chill with the big boys
Na you run kitikiti
You run Katakata
Drip cup not suitable
Shey you see how things are
How’s it going…”
Stemming from the phenomenal success of this musical note, an elite team of TikTok – an app created in December 2016 for imaginative entertainment and to bring joy – meets Bright Goya while I write, as part of his development processes. deepening presence in the Nigerian market. TikTok already has a billion subscribers.
Otherwise called ‘Ameno’ Amapiano remix produced by Bright Goya, ‘Goya Menor’ (a Nigerian entertainer, hype man, singer and rapper), which also featured Nektunez (a sterling Ghanaian record producer), has become a rave of a ‘lying’ moment spanning months of unvarnished success.
Unbeknownst to millions of fans, these pop musical notes that went viral as a beautiful global melody were not produced by Goya as a major project. It was done as a joke. Then it became a hit, first in Uganda, and in the aftermath it entered Jamaica in the Caribbean, returned to Ghana on the west coast of Africa, then to Zambia and South Africa in southern Africa, moved to Europe, hitting Sweden first, then sounding Thailand in Asia. It is indeed an irony that the song had to make many trips before returning home to its base, Nigeria, as a hit. It’s different from a Nigerian tune.
I remember in 2011 when I visited Lux, an exquisite nightclub, near China Town in Washington, United States of America. I was amazed at the popularity of Nigerian music at the club. There was so much ‘hysteria’ and excitement, a strange feeling of nostalgia, among many people there, as the Naija music sounded, starting with 9ice. Although those present were 90% white, there was a palpable presence of the Nigerian spirit in all of them. As the songs were rolling, I remember remembering listening to virtually every song in Nigeria. This is the feeling I also felt across the west coast of Africa a year later, from Banjul to Freetown, from Monrovia to Dakar, Accra and Lomé where Nigerian musical interpretation, whatever the genre , is popular and quickly caught people’s frenzy. This mental image makes it more curious how long it took for ‘Ameno amapiano remix’ to become popular among Nigerians.
Exactly nine months ago, on June 16, 2021, the original track was released and a lot of money was spent promoting the song. Like virtually all of Goya’s earlier efforts, the promotional initiative failed and the money was wasted. In an interesting twist, the work became a success when it was experienced as a playful enterprise. “It was a joke,” Goya told PREMIUM TIMES in December 2021.
My checks revealed that the pop had garnered 17,899,463 views on YouTube as of December 20, 2021. As of February 10, 2022, the song had garnered 9.5 billion views on TikTok. For three consecutive days, I scoured TikTok and found that on average, the song was used by three or four out of 10 TikTokers. Still, there is still praise on Instagram.
Let me migrate to another example of paradox. Although TikTok saw the need to meet Goya, the mastermind behind pop music, those of us who tuned in to Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda and Farah Tukan on Wednesday wondered why TikTok didn’t have an office in Nigeria. Yes, the company has Nigerians on its team, in Dublin, Washington and elsewhere. I saw a few on Wednesday. But the nearest TikTok office to Nigeria is in Johannesburg. Nigeria is not only the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa, it is also the most populous in Africa. This explained our minimal advocacy at the event, demanding a TikTok desk in Nigeria. If only to honor Goya.
Let me end the paradoxes with the main contradiction. This song has been deployed in various ways, by the nobles, the faithful, the elite, the lumpen, the bourgeois and even the deviants. Perhaps it was used more by the later group. Interestingly, this is practical sociology. Goya, 27, a sociology graduate from Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, produced the pop to draw young people’s attention to the evils of the cult and brotherhood robbery. The reason he asked, “Do you want bamba?” “You want to relax with the big boys!”.
Interpretatively, it asks a rhetorical question: why do you have to join cults? Why do you want to chill with the big boys? Do you know what they do to make money? So, as reflected in the lyrics, you will run up and down when the consequences come your way. Likewise, he asks latently, you don’t have to relax with the big boys because you might be introduced to the wrong things, attitudes and behaviors. And Goya insists, as he says in his native language Ishan: “Sèbi mekà tàmùwà? which means, “Didn’t I tell you already?” Indeed, he told us, in the unsuccessful promotional track and repeated it in the Remix.
In essence, the Beninese-born rapper of Ishan origin, asks young people, in fact, all of us, to avoid the social vices that have stopped our development and keep us in backward conditions. Goya instructed our sociological imagination to challenge vices rather than embrace them. The version of the song that I previously posted to my Facebook post thread is revealing and poignant in its dramatization of the lyrics.
So isn’t it a seemingly difficult paradox of meaning exchange for even the wicked among us to enthusiastically sing the great song and otherwise unfurl a song that challenges their inordinate conduct and behaviors of seeking pleasure, without seeking understanding and clarity? Indeed, it is the song’s popularity, even among the people Goya speaks to, that causes many to miss the inherent story.
So, let the music play!
Dr Ibietan contributed this from Abuja
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