Maanaa unfolds the Black I journey

For the morally-conscious individual, it is very easy to write off dancehall music because of the disturbing lyrics (often violent and near-pornographic) that have come to characterize the genre. Those who understand the music however, will contend that this is not a true reflection of the original dancehall music that started in Jamaica as a sub-genre of the conscious, liberating and righteousness powered reggae music. Like a normal child, dancehall became more morally decadent with every step it took further away from its mother genre. In the process, love gave way to hardcore pornography and the rant for justice gave way to wanton violent lyrics strong enough to shock the unprepared mind.

The situation is however, not hopeless as the genre also benefits from the work of both young and veteran artiste who are championing what is referred to in reggae-lingo as roots and culture. This breed of musicians, are working hard to bring moral sanity into the music while pursuing the restoration of true African values that are in sharp contrast to the now mainstay. In Jamaica, musicians like Anthony B, Louie Culture, Bushman, Capleton, Buju Banton, Jnr. Gong and many others are senior officers in this Special Forces unit of the Army.

The scenario is not that different in Ghana. Since dancehall music slowly begun to gain mainstream attention, it brought along the violence and the explicit sexual lyrics. Indeed it is this kind of content that has defined Ghanaian dancehall music with the conscious soldiers having to strive harder to project the positive, progressive, youth-conscientizing, love-promoting and nation-building aspect of dancehall music. This is what can be referred to as the “clean-up exercise” now being championed by Atlanta based Black I aka Nii Quarcoo. On the Ghanaian scene, he is the commanding officer in this unit of the Army.

Black I shot onto the scene with the bellwether-ing Tininii Kwano (the right way) that effortlessly forced a fan base into place leaving them yearning for more. His latest offering; Maanaa is a love story like no other. It is a commendable reverence of the African woman through the Rastafarian cultural conduit leading to the much needed heavy dose of consciousness for the neutralization of the debauchery in the music. The lyrics glorify culture in countless ways as much as it upholds the powerful image of the African woman. It promotes the unadulterated version of her character and bares the often not so evident African man’s love for his woman. Maanaa is a masterful work of art not only in lyrics but also in sound and quality. It is a well-crafted crossover born out of a fusion of traditional dancehall and hip-hop that is guaranteed to win the hearts of even non-dancehall enthusiasts. This great piece was produced by the young Golden Kid under the guidance of the indefatigable Atlanta based Kaddafi who has been behind the many hits from the Black I camp. Maanaa is bound to shift the Black I engine into 5thgear leaving many behind as far as Ghanaian reggae and dancehall is concerned.

In Ghana and Africa for that matter, talent abounds. The bane of artist has always been character and discipline. Black is a combination of talent, discipline and sound reasoning and this is demonstrated not only in his lyrical dexterity but also his choice of sound. Maanaa epitomizes all three into one work of art. If you haven’t heard Mannaa yet, get ready to be wowed out of your skin. If you are not a dancehall fan, prepare for your baptism. Maanaa is juts that song and Black I is just that artist. Listen to maanaa here

About Markus Kennedy Katey

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