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March
2

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Rumors of Iyanya coming to Cameroon were rife on social networks. Yes ! A brewery company yesterday unveiled their new brand to the Cameroonian public in an electrifying event which had Nigerian Kukere crooner Iyanya and X Maleya as guest performing artists , hosted by Tito Valery. Iyanya performed snippets of his hit songs and the concluded with the much anticipated ‘Kukere’ tune. We witnessed a drama when Iyanya called up a female fan to the stage. By the time she mounted, someone resisted , asking her to descend from the podium to Iyanya’s utter amazement. Was it her boyfriend? Je me sais pas. Now, why did X Maleya fail to show up on stage when the trio was announced by the host to perform ?

Dismayingly, Iyanya was the one who graced the platform for the Cameroonian group. This was a vivid evidence that the group desired a pride of place in their country. X Maleya were simply adorable , impressing the audience with a groundbreaking rendition of their new hit ‘mon ex’ featuring J Martins and other hits. The subject of who performs before the other, who is bigger or en vogue has been recurrent during concerts in Cameroon. Is that what ensued?

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This is not the first time this has happened in a concert in Cameroon. In an edition of Fomaric trade fair in Douala , there was a feud between Achalle and Duc Z on who is the man of the moment and who graces the stage for the other. On the 20th of December 2013 Petit Pays flagrantly refused to perform before the Nigerian guest artist Flavour in Buea. Of course we all know what happened. Flavour appropriated the stage for several hours , forcing the Cameroonian mega star to sneak away from the venue without performing in front of the anxiously waiting crowd after being paid. Habitually, the guest act is preserved for the last moment after all opening acts have performed. Seemingly, no artist is ready to be opening act for the other. Even the up and coming artists have this fever. Pride comes before a fall. Dunno what you think?


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December
23

The music industry witnessed a remarkable improvement this year with a plethora of outstanding audio releases and top standard videos. The trendiest Cameroon hit this year was by the ‘Bayangi Boy’ Stanley Enow who dropped a South-side patterned club-banger titled ‘Hein pere’. After severing ties with Tony Nobody’s Blaxity Label, the rapper hibernated for over a year refining his art.

In March 2013, he announced himself as ‘The KamerHip Hop messaiah’ and the dream became a fruitful reality. His branding , production quality and marketing strategies were worthwhile. ‘Hein pere’ rapidly proliferated across online platforms registering the highest number of downloads , Youtube views , and an endorsement by internationally acclaimed rapper 50 Cent.  His song  became a street anthem and parlance. Stanley also littered the streets of Cameroon with ‘ON EST HIGH PERE’ street wear and when his video dropped , it topped the charts on Trace Urban for over a month. ” You know what it is hah hah ! “

In a snail-pace growing music  industry in which most urban artist were almost discontinuing their careers, Stanley Enow’s tremendous success with just one hit ‘HEIN PERE’ raised the hopes that were fading embers. It was indeed a revolution that deserves an accolade.  Stanley Enow is a quintessence of an indomitable personality; I remember he told me a few weeks before dropping the song that ” the song will be a hit’. With the emergence of rappers like him and Jovi, street credibility is deeply embedded. The industry looks promising.


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May
21

Camer urban music: Craving a unique identity.

Posted In: Hip Hop, Polemic by The Administrator

Urban artists in Cameroon have been battling it hard for decades to find a unique identity. An identity that will differentiate their music from the popular Nigerian rhythm and parlance which has become considerably popular across Africa. It is absolutely undisputed that Cameroonian artists were heavily influenced by the escalation of the Naija rhythm and style. Songs written and produced by budding Camer artists between 2005-2010 were just a facsimile of Nigerian urban music , on the heels of the emergence of 2 Face, P Square, Faze, African China , 9ice ,2 Shot etc. We could get Nigerian languages and parlance   ”Omoge”, ‘Oga”, Chikala’, ‘ Nothing do you”, ”Wettin dey” , ‘Oya”, Ole ‘ etc inherent in Cameroonian songs. Nigerians had discovered their own ”Naija Hip Hop” which is a melange of their local dialects igbo, yoruba ,  hausa and pidgin . 

However, everything happens for a reason. That was definitely an eye-opener to Cameroonian artists, a journey into discovering a peculiarity and richness in African rhythm. Camer urban artists were therefore plunged into understanding that their parlance, slangs and dialects have not yet been exploited. It was and remains a virgin forest!

On the mainstream in Cameroon are songs that can be identified as proudly ”Cameroonian”as you listen to the lyrics of the song. We can today heave a sigh of relief as fans relate to the lyrics of songs by English-speaking Cameroonian acts. 

Jovi remains phenomenal for bringing to the spotlight the use of  ‘Camer pidgin’ ( renown Cameroonian artist Em’Kal calls it ”Njangaroon pidgin” ) while articulating in his rhymes and punchlines. ”Ask petit them for kwat, I dey for here for helep, … i dey veranda with chelep” is an intonation that gives Cameroonians a sense of identity.

From 2010 to present, there has been an automatic switch from the conventional ‘Naija’ or ‘Etas’ rapstyle to a well defined and unique ‘Camer’ rapstyle. A wide use of Cameroonian parlance are now noticeable . Artists like Magasco  make a tuneful referral to ”Ayaba hotel” in Lineloba, ‘Tifman for Kumba Market” , Stanley Enow – ‘Etangti mo mayang in ‘Hein pere’, Steveslil – ”Na ne muet, etchi sairey” in Ebangha , Wax Dey – ”Ma nga” in ‘Number One girl”, Denzyl – ‘Cherie coco esele nika” in ‘Monika’ , Dr Kapt – in ‘disorder” , Marc Eff in ”Ma fontioneur”  etc. 

An evolution will  therefore be inevitable if all Cameroonian artists can explore over 250 languages and cultures in Cameroon to derive more uniqueness and diversity.


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April
19

Music promotion and marketing are the tools that enable your music to get to consumers. Two promotion medium exist; Online promotion (Youtube, soundcloud, Facebook, Myspace etc) and offline promotion (Radio, TV, bars, nightclubs etc) .

There’s no gain saying that Anglophone urban artists are the most talented in Cameroon, yet the underdogs in the music business. Why are they effaced from the scene of ‘Hip Hop du Bled’?.

The absolute futility to get their music heard and their music videos watched all over Cameroon has been a major set-back, perceiving Cameroon at their own small corners. Some artists unveil high quality videos only to upload on Youtube and Facebook to gain international acclamation instead of exploring the local market to get a local fanbase in Cameroon. Record labels prefer to sign that artist who has 5000 local fans instead of that artist who has 5000 fans scattered in different countries across the world.

From my research, not up to 10% of Cameroonians are able to watch videos on Youtube or download mp3s with fluidity. Our bandwidth does n’t permit. So, why not endeavour to go to the basics of getting more local fans in your country by putting that video on popular channels in Cameroon. Start painting the picture of a  ”Cameroon” with 10 regions and not just South West and North West. The 24 hrs you spend on Facebook to chat could be used to impact your local area or gain local fans. Get out of your zones of comfort and explore Cameroon . Anglophone artists sometimes feel dejected when they are not nominated for Canal D’or or other reputable awards in Cameroon. It’s not a matter of segregation or the ”anglo thing”.

The simple truth is that you will rarely watch the videos of Anglophone urban artists queued on the popular channels like Canal 2, STV, Equinoxe, CRTV and LTM. These judges won’t go on Youtube or Facebook to search for nominees. The Anglophone band XLM Squad was the first  to win Best Urban artist category at Canal D’or in 2004. If Anglophone artists donot bridge this disparity, they might keep swimming in the same pool of doubt. They should n’t clamour ”foul’ but take a bold step of creating an impact in Cameroon. 

 


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February
6

joviThe news fell like a bomb, taking everyone by surprise and leaving many guessing as to the reason for the split. What could have gone wrong in paradise? Certainly nobody with even the slightest knowledge of the dynamics around the Jovi Jules Nya duo could have guessed in a thousand years that this wedding would come to a sudden end. Their last major outing at the Mega Jam Concert in Buea didn”t betray any hint of discord. The attempted  assuaging of fears contained in yesterday”s release hasn”t stopped speculators and conspiracy theorists from going into overdrive and burning midnight candles to get to the bottom of this mystery. Some contend that it is the prospect of being signed by an international U.S. label that has given Jovi solo dreams. Others, with more imaginative minds, have pointed at money as the root of all evil in this case. In the absence of any declarations from the parties concerned, whatever anyone says at this point is merely conjecture, no more no less. Without wanting to play the clairvoyant or astrologer, one cannot help but feel there

is something fishy fishy going on here. Somebody said what happened to Don Jazzy and Dbanj has happened to Jules Nya and Jovi. Please don”t shoot the messenger but what, if not deep discord, could cause a co-owner of a major label leave and create a new one . The answer is certainly not an excess of entrepreneurship hormones in Jovi? Yesterday”s release did not tell us what becomes of his share in Mumak. What speculators and conspiracy theories leave undone, observers and pundits take over. Some wonder loudly at how Jovi”s next album will sound like now that he”s his own boss. Others see dark days ahead for MuMak Records now that its protegee rapper and producer par excellence has left the boat. Only the future will tell. But permit someone ask a seemingly stupid question: can”t people just decide to amicably end a relationship which they amicably started? Must there be some sinister reason lurking beneath a separation. Am just saying. Whatever your stand, it is my personal hope that this separation culminates in the existence of two strong hit-producing and internationally respected labels from Cameroon.

I am talking about MuMak Records and New Bell Music.


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January
29

ponce2Lady Ponce is

making headlines for all the wrongs reasons unfortunately. In fact, the Bikutsi star is alleged to have been arrested and detained in Yaounde due to her supposed involvement in human sex organ trafficking.  Other reports however followed to contend that these stories are baseless and untrue. Her manager has been quoted as saying that the artist is in Paris to shoot a video with big names like Manu Dibango and others. Stories like these, whether true or not, are surely not good for anybody”s reputation at a time when we are witnessing an increase in crimes with ritualistic undertones. “Wouna leave Lady Ponce yee name for dang”. Innocent until

proven guilty.


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January
18

nicoleIn a recent interview granted to a Cameroonian site, makossa singer  Nicole Mara contends that other forms of music are copies of Cameroonian music. Such a declaration is not very strange and joins a long list of other such declarations by other

Cameroonian musicians. This situation begs the question whether the waning popularity of Cameroonian music and musicians hasn”t made these artists feel inferior to their international counterparts from Nigeria or Côte d”Ivoire? Or is just resentment from losing the favour of Cameroonians – who are normally supposed to be their number one fans? These questions arise because when quizzed about the dwindling fortunes of Cameroonian music, many Cameroonian artists make statements like Nicole Mara”s. Be it an inferior complex or resentment, one thing is clear: our artists are not happy with playing second fiddle to international acts. But strange enough, there seem to be doing nothing about it except make hollow declarations like Nicole Mara”s. Most are still trapped in the 70″s when makossa ruled supreme. Wake up people and smell the roses. Even if other music forms get their rise from makossa, our artists should endeavour to be in sync with the sounds of the times which happen not to be makossa. Let me ask again: do Cameroonian artists have an inferiority complex or are they just resentful or ah hah are they just frustrated with the situation?


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October
23

At this pace, fans of the Microcapmillionaires.com – $27 Monthly Recurring Commissions!pan style=”color: #800000;”>Indomitable Lions won’t get over their disappointment easily. The latest concerning their beloved squad involves, surprise surprise , witchdoctors. Information which first appeared in the print media and reached the webosphere suggest that witchdoctors, allegedly contracted by the Sports Minister Adoum Garoua to mystically concoct qualification for the Lions, are threatening to strike if the monies promised them aren’t paid soonest. The story goes that the minister promised the 10 witchdoctors about F.CFA 25, 000, 000 for victory and gave each one million up front to buy various ingredients like eagle wings and viper liver oil amongst others for their spell – making ventures . But despite the victory, the witchdoctors accuse the minister of turning around to say the deal was for qualification, not only victory. One of the witchdoctors is quoted as saying ,” We worked day and night. And you know the stadium is haunted by evil spirits…….I worked, worked, sometimes till 3:50 a.m…….” Whether this is just another paper – selling stunt pulled by pressmen or not is still to be seen. But one thing is true: stories like these irrespective of their veracity only compound the new – found infamy of any Indomitable – Lion related issue. This leaves one wondering what is the next scandal?

 


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October
1

Marseille's Cameroonian defender Nicolas N'Koulou has found himself thrust into a pre – match speculation battle with PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. This is after the Swede claimed not to know the Cameroonian defender. This response came during TF1's football program Telefoot. It was triggered after the show host suggested that N'Koulou was the only person capable of stopping Ibr

ahimovic' s recent  scoring run when their respective clubs clash next weekend. As if conscious of the implicit slightful nature of his declarations, the PSG striker quickly added that he wasn't being disrespectful although when he doesn't know a player he doesn't know him. Whatever the case, it is only hoped that come match day, the Cameroonian makes himself known to the Swede loud and clear during their highly – anticipated clash. N'Koulou is widely regarded as one of the best defenders in not only the French league but also Europe.

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September
28

Samuel Eto'o has once again made his way into the headlines. After a meeting with the Prime Minister along side the head coach and team manager, the Anzhi frontman has ended his boycott of the Indomitable Lions and can be counted on for the do- or- die match against Cape Verde in Yaounde. While his imminent return has been greeted by a  groundswell of  hope and enthusiasm , for some it has triggered some troubling questions. One is whether his return and the surrounding circumstances aren't going to resurrect old demons. In return years, the Lions were plagued by what can be called the Eto'o dependence syndrome, with some players resenting Eto'o's  huge , some say overbearing,  role in the team. Is his return, after intervention fro

m high State authorities not going be to be as unsettling as before? Given the context, his return can be interpreted as the transformation of the Eto'o dependence syndrome into the Eto'o idolisation, a worse form of the troubling Eto'o dependance syndrome. This leads to another issue: can and should an entire nation cast all its hopes on the shoulders of one man ( It is another feather on his already – crowded cap but what does it say of the country and its values generally)? Let's remember that his return is no guarantee that we will slot three goals with no response from the modest but lethal Cape -Verdians. The urgency with which State authorities have hurried to lure the errant Lion back into the pride seems to suggest the team will undoubtedly sink without him – is that true? These are just questions but they seem to once again betray our love for palliative and not curative solutions in the face of  a well-known  opponent like non-qualification. Below is a copy of Eto'o's letter to say he will return to the national team.

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