You want to bamba
You want to chill with with the big boys
Na you dey run kitikiti
You dey run Katakata
No fit drink water drop cup
Shey you see how the things goes
How the thing goes…”
Arising from the phenomenal success of this musical note, an elite team from TikTok – an app created in December 2016 for imaginative entertainment and to bring joy – is meeting Bright Goya as I write, as part of TikTok’s processes of deepening its presence in the Nigerian market. TikTok already has one billion subscribers.
Otherwise called ‘Ameno’ Amapiano remix produced by Bright Goya, ‘Goya Menor’ (a Nigerian emcee, hype man, singer and rapper), which also featured Nektunez (a sterling Ghanaian record producer), have become the rave of an ‘elongated’ moment spanning months of unvarnished hit.
Unbeknownst to millions of the fans, these pop musical notes that went viral as a lovely global tune was not produced by Goya as a major project. It was done as a joke. Then it became a hit first in Uganda, and on the heels of that, got into Jamaica in the Caribbeans, came back to Ghana in West Coast of Africa, then to Zambia and South Africa in Southern Africa, moved to Europe, hiting Sweden first, then sounded in Thailand in Asia. It is indeed an irony that the song had to go on many voyages before returning home to its base, Nigeria, as a hit. It’s unlike a Nigerian tune.
I remember in 2011 when I visited Lux, an exquisite night club, near China Town in Washington. I was amazed at the popularity of Nigerian music at the club. There was so much ‘hysteria’ and excitement, a strange feeling of nostalgia, among many people there, the moment Naija music sounded, beginning with 9ice’s. Though those present were 90 percent Caucasian, there was such a palpable presence of Nigerian spirit in all of them. While the songs rolled, I remember I could recall listening to practically all the songs while in Nigeria. That was the feeling I also got across West Coast of Africa a year later, from Banjul to Freetown, from Monrovia to Dakar, Accra and Lome where Nigerian musical rendition, irrespective of genre, are popular and caught people’s frenzy quickly. This mental picture, makes it more curious the time it took for ‘Ameno amapiano remix’ to get popular among Nigerians.
Precisely nine months ago on 16th June 2021 the original track was released and lots of money was spent in promoting the song. Like practically all earlier efforts of Goya, the promotional initiative failed, and the money went down the drain. By an interesting twist, the work became a success when it was experimented as a jocular undertaking. “It was a joke”, Goya told PREMIUM TIMES in December 2021.
My checks revealed the pop recorded 17,899,463 views on YouTube as at 20th December 2021. By February 10, 2022, the song had recorded 9.5 billion views on TikTok. For three consecutive days I skimmed through TikTok and found that on the average, the song is used by 3 or 4 out of 10 TikTokers. Yet, it remains a rave on Instagram.
Let me migrate to another instance of paradox. Though, TikTok has seen the need to meet Goya, the brain behind the pop music, those of us who listened to Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda and Farah Tukan yesterday, asked why TikTok has no office in Nigeria. Yes, the company has Nigerians on its team, in Dublin, Washington and elsewhere. I saw a couple of them yesterday. But the closest TikTok Office to Nigeria is in Johannesburg. Nigeria is not just the biggest country in sub-Saharan Africa, it is Africa’s most populous. This explained our modicum of advocacy yesterday, demanding a TikTok Office in Nigeria. If only to honour Goya.
Let me round off the paradoxes with the main contradiction. This song has been deployed variously, by the noble, the faithful, the elite, the lumpen, the bourgeois and even the deviant. Perhaps it’s been used more by the last group. Interestingly, this is practical sociology. Goya, 27, a graduate of sociology from Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, produced the pop to draw the attention of the young people to the evils of cultism and confraternal brigandage. The reason he asked: “You want to bamba?” “You want to chill with the big boys!”.
Interpretively, he asked a rhetorical question: why do you have to join cults? Why do you want to chill with the big boys? Do you know what they do to get money? So, as it reflected in the lyrics, you will be running up and down when the consequences dawned on you. Similarly, he asked latently, you do not have to chill with the big boys because you may be introduced to the wrong things, attitudes and behaviours. And Goya insists, as he puts it in his native Ishan language: “sèbi mekà tàmùwà?”, which means, “Didn’t I tell you before?” Indeed, he told us, in the unsuccessful promotional piece and repeated it in the Remix.
In essence, the Benin-born rapper of Ishan ancestry, asked the young people, indeed, all of us, to shun social vices that have arrested our development and holding us in backward conditions. Goya tasked our sociological imagination to challenge vices rather than embrace them. The version of the song I had earlier posted on the thread of my Facebook post, is telling and poignant in its dramatisation of the lyrics.
Therefore, isn’t it a seemingly challenging paradox of meaning exchange for even the bad guys among us to sing the great song enthusiastically and otherwise deploy a song that questions their conduct and inordinate fun-seeking behaviours, without seeking understanding and clarity? Indeed, it is the popularity of the song, even among the people Goya speaks to that make many to miss the inherent story.
So, let the music play!