The Ghanaian culture frowns on criticizing elders especially in public. It’s deemed reprehensible and uncouth. No matter how wrong or disingenuous the actions of the elder, it’s often the duty of the young person to keep quiet, tolerate their actions and go on as if nothing has ever happened. After all, an elder is wiser than a young person.
But, there are times when the elders make it impossible for the young ones to keep mute, tolerate and hold back their feelings. The famous Twi mantra ‘if you don’t speak your mind, you get treated with contempt’ becomes the truth in such situations.
Often, when you hear a record from a veteran or an old voice on the scene which falls below average, one gets worried. Questions swirls in your head like what’s amiss? Why did they put out such flaccid tune? Who advised them on such a move? In short, you blurt the ‘what the fuck is this?’ line.
These questions and more filled my head when I heard Gemini’s new song “Tempted”. Featuring the new sensation on the dancehall scene, J. Derobie, “Tempted”, compared to other songs by Gemini is, to be more charitable, sub-par.
The dancehall casted song has J.Derobie delivering a memorable hook and a verse. J.Derobie set up the perfect alley-hoop for the rapper courtesy his voice, cadence, and solid delivery. However, the shot flew faster than Gemi could stretch to grab.
A song about stealing and dating someone’s girl despite having a girlfriend, “Tempted”, spare the J.Derobie hook lacks verve, is slack and very disappointing. The first verse sounds like a verse a friend who’s trying to prove to a bunch of friends that he is cool would deliver. Gemini sounds unenthusiastic: his first verse, which sounds more like a freestyle leaves you shaking your head while listening. A line like ‘’Play with me and when I say play with me/play with me/ don’t play games with me’’ is not a line you would wish to hear from a rapper like Gemini, who gave us verses like those heard on ‘’Dare To Dream’’ by EL, ‘’Go To Church’’ among other tunes.
I’m not oblivious of the fact that a rapper might not always hit the mark with his music. There are days or times when their output is questioned, debated and trashed. Even the greats do suffer this kind of criticism. With these greats, the output is usually not as lame as the critics make it sound. Their crime is feeding the world with great songs or albums overtime. That high standard for which an artist is held must be maintained at worst, or improved at best. This was lacking in Gemini’s ‘’Tempted’’.
Why would an artist spend time and money to record a song and even shoot a video for the song if he knows he won’t put his best foot forward? Or was he dumping it down for his fans and listeners? ‘’Tempted’’ doesn’t follow the Gemini template: fast (sometimes with a tongue-twist), lyrically packed and interesting lines as well.
What such slack performance does is to open an artist up for mockery. And with how social media work nowadays, respect is valueless and your previous works won’t save you from savage remarks. It’s therefore incumbent on an artist with a reputation to protect to be very careful and calculative when dropping a song. Simply put: don’t be lame with it.
Sometimes, the pressure to ‘follow the trend’ does not always help an artist especially when he or she is not cut for the ‘mainstream’. Staying and playing to your strength is always the best option. There are times when one of your records would cross over into the mainstream. Gemini has enjoyed such success in the past with his pop, trendy songs ‘’Okay Okay’’ with Lousika and the E.L featured ‘I Will Do’’ released in 2012 and 2013 respectively. These songs embodied the azonto spirit and earned him radio rotation during the period.
If chasing a trend is what you are seeking, it behoves on the artist to do it with a touch of excellence. ‘’Tempted’’ is not an entirely bad song. What Gemini failed to do is proving that he wanted to make a very good record. J.Derobie did his best but Gemini let both himself and the young dancehall act down.