I linked up with my brother GudNtentionz and he indeed has been up to some “good intentions”. He recntly featured on a song by RayZe’ Em which features Mode 9 and Mickey titled What’s Happening?
Very lyrical and conscious offering. It mainly questions why Africa is in poverty amidst plenty. Here is a long explanation I got from the artistes:
Considering Africa’s vast natural and human resources and after realizing its massive potential to become a global giant, why is Africa the poorest continent on Earth?
By carefully observing factors that have led to its retrogressive development 50 some years after its independence, it’s even harder not to ask the question, What’s Happening?, thus “What’s Happening” is a rhetorical yet very important, broad and valid question expressed through song in a way that seeks to reawaken African consciousness and inspire Africans and the black diaspora to engage in conversations that will help us (Africans)find and tighten the lost connection between us and our African environment.
To “spark up” a sense of social responsibility in every individual to man up and take urgent action in breaking off the chains of underdevelopment, poverty, corruption, dependency, hegemony, unemployment, racism, exploitation, tribalism, religious and ethnic wars, poor leadership, autocracy, political sanctions, insurgency, health scares, etc.in order to ascertain a bright future for our youthful generation and the ones to come is the ultimate goal of this hip hop track.
“What’s Happening” being the first single off the upcoming Zim Meets Africa (ZMA) collaborations album, is a prologue to a project set to not only promote artists and artistic relations by bringing Zimbabwean and African artists together to showcase their talents and abilities on a “one album” project but to spearhead an African SOCIAL Revolution aimed at mostly identifying, enlightening, addressing, clarifying and tackling African social, cultural, economic, political, religious, health and lifestyle issues from different internationally diverse artistic perspectives using hip hop as the medium of communication.
Taking us back to the essence of hip hop in a somewhat new“old school” fashion ,“What’s happening?!” is a vision initiated by RayZe’Em (a Zimbabwean native) that touches on a subject matter that is barely touched on in mainstream African music, i.e. REALITY!
With the core of its content centered on this close link to reality, this track features a very powerful Rwandese chorus whose words are cries of children asking, “when will the sun return above us, who will reveal it once again to us” (a common African question) sampled to represent the cries of the abducted Chibok girls in Nigeria as well as to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.
It also touches on African civil war issues,unemployment, racism and the abuse of African/black people in the diaspora in a way that makes it stand out as a very relevant song at a time when the majority of music releases are washed down, vain and “ignorant” as it is an “EDU-TAINING” track that takes one back to the positive fundamental foundations of hip hop music.
Realizing that conversations of say for instance, Ebola and the Boko Haram insurgents are as common and dominant in Nigerian society as are the discussions of the hottest dance songs, latest trends etc. promoted on various entertainment media platforms,it became ideal to make fresh and socially conscious music whose content is based on our immediate realities so as to fuel up common conversations in mainstream society to action level thus encouraging the emergence of a socially responsible generation of youths.
Seeing that the music industry is focused more on partying (like Colonel Mengistu did during the 1984 Ethiopian famine) than it is on providing solutions that will take Africa out of the dire straits the continent is currently in,RayZe’Em stepped up to the task and setup a team that acknowledged the cohesive powers of their common needs, dangers and possibilities namely Mode9 (Nigeria), Mickey the Messenger (Nigeria) and GudNtentionz (a Zimbabwean based in Malaysia) on a beat produced by Nigerian producer (Von D) to create WHATS HAPPENING?,a music piece meant to reach out and open up dialogue beyond African social circles in a fashion similar to the approach Harry Belafonte, Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie used in addressing the Ethiopian situation through the release of WE ARE THE WORLD.This track, backed by the vision behind it, is a breath of fresh air to socially conscious hip hop heads not only in Africa but in the world.