WHAT MAKES A SONG ‘WACK’?
The term ‘wack’ has been misused by listeners of music globally. Numerous times multiple songs have been written off either because the artist tried to include new sounds in his/her songs which were unlike their usual sigature sounds or because they made music different from the type that brought them to the limelight. This might partly be due to a mythical belief that musicians from one geographical area make better music than those from another. The case of the southern rappers as against West-coast and East-coast rappers comes to mind. The west-coast and the east-coast rappers are believed to be the best while southern rappers are labeled as WACK ab initio, but recently some rappers from the south have proven this obscene theory wrong such as Killer Mike and T.I. who is acclaimed to be the king of the south have all shown their prowess on the m-i-c.
Likewise in Nigeria songs are said to be WACK due to listeners’ subjective validation as most listeners actually do not give many songs a second listen to pick out what was really said. Mostly, listeners judge songs according to the comments they read on the internet or recommendations of the song by friends ignoring the fact that music tastes vary per head and no two individuals can actually share the exact same view on a song. An example of this is the recently concluded BET Cypher where Mode Nine, M.I., Naeto C, XO Senavoe and Ice Prince all participated. XO was brutally criticized primarily due to a comment on a popular blog.
The huge difference between a WACK song and sub-par song is nearly not been considered at all. While a wack song can be totally outrageous and unacceptable, sub-par songs can easily be traced to commercial sell-outs where an artist that churns out quality songs with concentrated arrangement of themes compromised quality for commercial success. These types of songs can easily be related to. A good example of this is Terry G when you compare his ‘Love you sexy’ days in relation to the recent ‘Free Madness’ and ‘Akpako Master’ tune and M.I.’s Talk About It and M.I. II; The Movie.
Nonetheless, market trends and label influence sometimes tend to pose threats to the works of an artist. For instance, a rap artist, who in a bid to reach out to a target audience outside his own genre of specialization may feature in a Fuji song. Chances are that the product of such a collaboration would leave the artist at the receiving end of criticisms from fans and critics alike who may label such a song as ‘Wack’ and accuse such an artist of selling out even if the artist in his own eyes was only trying to be innovative!
Another factor that can render a song wack is the beat upon which the lyrics are sung as this goes a long way in determining whether a song can actually be successful or not. It appears most Nigerian listeners are addicted to strong beats and danceable tunes at the moment. Also the general sound production of the song ranging from mixing to sound engineering should not be ignored. In particular, the voicing must be up to par because when listeners can’t easily hear what an artist says, there is a propensity that he/she is going to be termed ‘wack’!
The knowledge base of the listening audience also plays a role in determining the reception of the song. An artist therefore who wants to capture the ears of a heterogeneous crowd might have to water down the depth of his/her lyrics and produce the type the majority of the listening public can easily bump their heads to while singing along (I must say that it appears P-square have masters’ degrees in this). On the other hand, maybe it’s time music lovers worldwide learnt to adapt to emerging trends in music as many upcoming artistes try to create a niche for themselves in a fiercely competitive industry by creating their own styles. After all in the theory of evolution whatever doesn’t adapt would surely die, and as the great Shakespeare is reputed to have said, “Life imitates art and art, life…”
Original script from the hooded pens of Thots tha wordsmith
Rehashed by Tha Watcha.