Encrypted Music Versus Plain Lyrics: Manifest and Sarkodie.

I just don’t get the point when music lovers and critics seek to paint the picture that some songs have no message. There’s no music that has no message. Music is an art. And art is about creativity. Just like poetry, some music may have encrypted or coded messages while many others may leave their messages bare and unlocked.

Comparing Manifest and Sarkodie, one will realise that, most of the former’s lyrics have that ‘poetic feel’ while the latter’s message is always so very plain. One may wonder why? Manifest has studied the art very well and perhaps, as a result of classroom and book experience, adds a bit of poetry to his lyrics, an ingredient which is always missing in Sarkodie’s lyrics and thus, renders his music too plain and raw. A comprehensive appreciation of Manifest’s GODMC and Sarkodie’s KANTA will help understand this better.

But, is poetic-music what we need in our bars, in our pubs and in our clubs? Certainly no! If Manifest really has a poetic message for Ghanaians, it’ll be in his own interest to drop music and go into mainstream poetry. Failure to do this will mean most of his tracks won’t sell as the majority of the people who patronise the ‘Ghanaian music’ are not interested in those poetic types of songs since, to them, these tracks do not make sense to their ears. We are not Jamaicans. Neither are we Americans who are so much interested in the heart and soul of music.

Here in our part of the world, we want the ‘Azontos’. We need the ‘Kukeres’. We want the ‘Amandas’. We need the type of music that will get us on the dance floor where we can do an acrobatic display of waists and butts. We need the beat to have fun and kill boredom and not the sort of lyrics that will rather add toothache to our headache by requiring of us to do an intellectual bisection and dissection of it before we can unlock the message. Perhaps, a couple of Ivorian and South African music will paint this picture better.

If we need deep messages, we’ll read poems. And how many of us are even interested in poetry? And how many of us have the ‘literary mind’ to appreciate a coded word and decipher the message?

Jet Alan.

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