The schemes of politicians are well documented, especially African bred politicians. The promise to serve the country and better the life of their people has, forever, remained a big hoax. Where such promises had been fulfilled, it had been a pale of what was promised. The interest of the politician, under this political dispensation called democracy, is not one to serve the people in its truest form. It is to serve their very own interest once they get elected to office.
Once the elections are over, and the reins of power is handed them, what immediately get satisfied are their selfish cravings: obscene corruption, neglect of the welfare of the people, abuse of power. Politicians literally take the people who queued to vote for them for granted.
A lot has been discussed about the (in)actions of politicians by people of different creed: writers, academics, poets, playwrights and of course musicians. Over the weekend, as it has become a new past time, I revisited the album of one of my favourite rappers. One song on it reminded me of the uncanny ways of the politician.
The artist is RUMOR. And the album, #FFF (Fans, Friends and Followers). Released in 2012 (I recall missing the album listening session despite being invited), RU showcased, on this 10 track debut, his lyrical brilliance and enviable intelligence. Off FFF came songs like Well Well, ME (the lead single), Love Starved and Can’t Let You Go. One song off the album that fit or captures the moment we live in; this political season, is Political.
Produced by the talented Paapa and featuring Lady Jay (on hook), Rumor wax poetically, in two verses, from different perspectives, the ridiculousness of the political system when it came to how the principal actors; the voter and politician, perceive their roles.
I’m riding through the city/Windows not rolled down
But, I can hear the silent chaos of the whole town/
Hawkers selling, trotro conductors or mates as we call them down here/
Yelling/Angry mob lynching a felon/They said he stole a fowl and it was foul
So, they beat him till he cried out loud/
But really, what about the sinister Minister who robbed the nation
Of its ever pesewa and cedis? – RUMOR
The first words that greet your ear, after the mellow jazzy beat dictated by keyboard chords and flute (or is it harmonica?) sounds, is a question: they say the power is in your thumb. And knowledge is power so if it is not in our heads, that’s it make us dumb?
Rapping from the perspective of the common man (voter), RU mourns the disdain the politician accord voters: you can have the good lands, leave us in the slums. You can have the bread, just give us the crumbs. Look what our thumbs have made you become. The lyrics, as sad as they are reflect how resigned we have become to, accepting our plight as a hopelessness one.
The privileges that accrues to the politician is enormous whiles he wields power. And RU points them out. From them becoming like ‘Donald Trump’s with Swiss bank accounts and multiple pied-a-terre’ and a sharp picture of public school system where kids ‘scramble for chairs’. And when the term of office draws to an end, they tell us ‘what we want to hear and we’ll make sure they win’.
On the second verse, RU raps through the lens of the politician. Getting voted for connotes love from the people. He is also aware of the responsibility to ’provide the needs of the ordinary people’. However, his aim is not to serve the people but rather to ‘rob with the help of the government bureau’. In his eyes, ‘democracy is on vacation’ once elections are over. He does what he wants with the taxes from the people with his mind on the ex-gratia he stands to earn after his tenure.
As we have come to know, politics is serious business due to the many benefits one stands to accrue. The quest to stay in power is similar to a strong and addictive potion where giving up is a no brainer. For those with thoughts to challenge or protest against his actions, RU reminds them that ‘they’ll get beat up’ or imprisoned or killed because ‘I’m guilty of treason. Can’t give the power up for the above reason’.
Lady Jay’s hook encapsulate it all when she ask ‘should we pretend everything is alright?’ She calls on her people to ‘shift the paradigm in our minds’ for the governments aren’t there for the people’s interests. RU is heard musing about the state of the country, specifically about the different shades of justice administered when an ordinary citizen and a politician are involved.
For me, it is sad that Rumor has quit music. Whether it is temporary or for the long haul, losing such a brilliant rapper, a favourite rapper hurts more than anything. His two albums –FFF and Poetic License plus the many singles he dropped- shall keep me company until he returns fully with new records. Until then, listen to Political.