Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Soca lyrics & moral decadence revisited

Dr. Kwame Nantambu
Posted: March 04, 2009


This article seeks to clear the air as to my obdurate professional assertion that there is a direct correlation between soca lyrics and moral decadence, public pornography cum simulation of sexual intercourse and sexual promiscuity in T&T.

The stark reality is that when Lord Shortie introduced Soca music via his 1974 LP titled "Endless Vibrations", his lyrics were conceived/conceptualized within the context of love; hence, the "Love Circle." Sadly, some of today's Soca lyrics have completely transformed the original "Love Circle" into today's Soca public pornographic Sex Circle as patrons "get ready to juk, juk, juk".

The notion of winin', lewd pelvic gyration and/or sexual intercourse orientation, real or imagined, was non-existent in Lord Shortie's original Soca music incarnation. The primary focus of Shortie's Soca lyrics was a person's first brain, particularly the woman.

I'm sure that his wife and daughters can attest to this spiritual/human/respectful reality.

Shortie's message to the "little people" as in young people, was to be aware of ah fella called "Lucifer" with "ah bag ah white powder" who wanted "to spread shame and disgrace to the human race."

Shortie's Soca lyrics were not only steeped in finesse, class, taste, sophistication, imagination but also most importantly, respect for women. He never envisaged that women would ever be demeaned, devalued and defaced under the guise of his humane musical invention.

Sadly, today's Soca lyrics have completely ripped out the very, innate soul of Shortie's musical art form.

Indeed, things have changed and the sad tragedy is that some Soca artistes are in denial to accept the reality that the immoral lyrics of some Soca and Reggae artistes represent the same "bag ah white powder" prognosticated by Lord Shortie that then "Lucifer" but some of today's Soca and Reggae artistes, are using to bring "shame and disgrace" to the face of morality, human sexuality and female human respect/dignity in T&T Jamaica.

Some Soca artistes have not only literally created a human-sexual monster of Shortie's original Soca lyrics but have also shamelessly bastardized them to the nth degree.

Some of the Soca and Reggae lyrics put raw, explicit, classless, tasteless sex ":right in your face"; nothing is left to one's imagination. They automatically become the socially accepted, albeit legal, norm for public pornographic behavior with clothes on.

Indeed, Lord Shortie is probably crying in his grave to realize that his own people have relegated his respectful musical art form to such disgusting, disrespectful and degrading depths.

This article is a public plea for Soca artistes to become more socially-morally responsible. I am neither calling for a blanket ban on Soca music nor do I bear any putative "vendetta" against Soca music. Soca music is we, but it must be morally-socially responsible in the tradition of its originator, Lord Shortie. Nothing more, nothing less, period.

In this era in T&T where 14,000 plus of our citizens between ages 15-29 years are infected with AIDS and in the Caribbean, 330,00 people live with AIDS, while women comprise 51% of all adults with HIV. Now is the time for Soca and Reggae artistes to become sexual role models to our "little people." They are watching, emulating, imitating and acting out your explicit simulated sexual intercourse behavior per cell phone porn with their school uniform on, inter alia.

Back in the day, Denise Plummer told us that "woman is boss" in calypso lyrics. Sister Denise urged women to use the fortitude of their first brain. However, in today's Soca lyrics, some female Soca artistes are publicly urging women to use all the attributes of the cardinal points of their second brain in pornographic behavior with clothes on--- immorality has now surpassed its bottomless pit in TnT and Jamaica. In Soca music today, "Bumpers rule". Ergo, the woman's second brain is the sole focus as patrons get ready "to push bumper, plenty bumper."

The lyrics of some Soca artistes have re-assigned the original "woman is boss" Calypso concept to the Soca derived woman is bass, as in buttom--- the heavier the better. "We like it."

Soca artistes need "to look in de mirror" and check themselves.

Let us act as open-minded professionals and don't take things personally and myopic as we assess the bottomless moral cesspool created by today's Soca lyrics. "Morality is what we should raise."

In the final analysis, let me state quite categorically that I am also totally against the debasement of women in R&B lyrics as per Art Kelley and vulgar, immoral lyrics in Reggae songs. Debasement of women in any lyrical/musical art form is unacceptable, periodówinin' or "daggerin".

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies and University of the West Indies.

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