It is only fitting that I make a quick confession. I never knew Da Grin.
But he was the embodiment of that little star, that shines, sparkling enough that you had to see it. Feel it. And then miss it when it finally fades away.
But to say I never knew him was totally incorrect. I had listened to Ewe Lowo
many times after coming in contact with the unquestionably 5 star collaboration - of a hiphop mix - featuring Oluwe, via djmightymikes
But having listened, and lived through the escape beauty of hip hop in the 90's when Tupac Shakur's genius simply elevated an incredible, oft misunderstood art-form - of music, multi-dimenstional expression, Holy rebellion and poetry to yet unsurpassed heights, I had always fought with the solemn voice that haunts deep within: This was not real. It was not that American hip hop did not connect, but the problem was that we were forced to connect to it. It was one way. Via 50 cents, through The Bone Thugs, down to JadaKiss and escaping via SnoopDogg into WarrenG into the DMX streets...It was art in the colours of the deep ghettos of America.
Then, HipHop was culture, but it was culture from foreign brothers. As we listened, Walkman in one hand, to some of the finest Dr.Dre's evergreen collection of West-Coast records, the real sub-conscious antagonised the distance, in the reality of it all.
That a day will come, when you would slam on a CD player, and listen to top notch Hip Hop mixes performed exclusively in Yoruba, dare I say Yorub-ish (my fancy expression for an eclectic mix of Yoruba rhymes interspersed in an arresting manner with authentic narrative of the tales of horror, dashed hopes, confusion, oppression and dreams - the stuff of the hinterlands of Nigeria's ghetto )was a pressing illusion that keep sketching itself mentally, yet one couldn't quite make up.
And then Came Mode Nine. Kai, enter 9ice. And then came Da Grin. And a host of others who simply mixed drums, synths and lyrical imprints in beautiful ways that makes you shake. If it did not get you thinking.
These new range of Nigeria's rap essemble simply brought that fantasy world of our-hip-hop alive.
I remember vividly playing up 9ice's street credibility over and over again and melting away at the awesomeness in the unhindered lyrical depth; The Yoruba was incisive. It was truly /out-of-9ija.
The patterns, pauses, the cheer intensity of the delivery was right on top of the pack. Totally different, yet conformist.
I have always found time to track the performances of these continental gems -of musical art, but to expect that such bundle of rap-phenomenon - Da Grin, would be gone today was an unthinkable proposition.
But that is the reality of today. And that is where the lessons, sad realities of the name-space we refer hopelessly to Nigeria begin to haunt you. I will not recount the horrors of the Da Grin tragedy here
It is bad enough that such a bundle of entertainment value would have to be rescued by police patrol vehicles after a car crash. By Nigeria's hopeless standards - and I say that with the deepest sense of regret - Da Grin was a lucky boy. You dare not ask me how it was we couldn't have a fairly decent rescue system in the dead system...
After-all, the substantive president ( I hope that makes Mrs. Turai happy meanwhile ) of Nigeria is currently housed in some random mobile Intensive Care Unit somewhere in the extreme corners of Abuja right now.
All of the supposed, University Teaching Hospitals in the entire x and y axis of Nigeria is not presidential enough to cope with the degree of his medical illness and complications. Forgive the diplomacy. And he has been dying to live officially since November last year...Ongoing Tragedy.
The real tragedy of the Da Grin shocking loss, is in the helplessness of the entire remnant of healthcare in namespace Nigeria to be useful.
And a bigger tragedy is in the notion that there are hundreds, probably thousands of folks who - somewhere in an artificially air-conditioned office in the fairy-tale Abuja capital - pretend to represent the face of government, and healthcare in Nigeria. I have since looked around for Madam reBrand's statement on the loss of one of Nigeria's most worthwile exportable product, of an artist, of a musician, of a genius and I am still searching....
She only gets to speak when there is some dubious rebrand project to sell, or some political calculus to compute. That is when she is not busy marrying off her lineage to the Americas...
They all have a face when it is time for the yearly distribution, heck! slicing, of Billions and Billons of Petrodollars in budgetary allowance. Most of the time, for doing nothing.
Rather, for superintending over the continual loss of stars, men, women, children and quite simply: Continental heroes! Some unsung; People of Da Grin's status and stature, people who connect with the daily experiences and rhymes of Da Grin. People who cannot be escaped to Saudi Arabia.... People Da Grin energised, gave hope in his compositions.
Still, following the reactions of Nigerians on the Internet-phere last night as the devastating loss of the Da Grin hit home, I could not but notice another tragedy.
The convenient ease with which too many Nigerians default every failure, in fact, every of our simple but pathetic realities to God. We blame god for everything. We let Iwu - that joke of a professor steal away votes, and then let them hypnotize us that only God gives power?
We let them send their children to schools in the Americas and the USA and the UK and then complain when they cannot be bothered that schools are locked up for months, non stop while we waste away in one church corner to another ?
It is most encapsulated in the summation that too many people throw around: God! knows best. Or its other variant, God is in control.
While I am not about, to stir up any undue tensions as to declare the non existence of a god who took away Da Grin, or who let it happen, or who could have or could not save him, Is it not time Nigerian Youths recognise that If there ever was a god - he is not saving Nigeria ?
Is it not time, Nigerians bond together to absolutely demand the barest minimum from the loonies who parade themselves as leaders ?
And Is it not time, that Nigerian youths recognise that the real tragedy of Da Grin's death is not so much of why it happened, but of the many tens of ways in which it was an exit that was pretty much ahead of time ?
Is it not time that we all demand the closure of this joke of a country - in order that we might begin afresh, If it has to come to that ?
Yet, In every tragedy, so long as there is the rest of us, who survive with the grin on our faces, there is opportunity.
As the namespace, Nigeria continue to struggle with the basics of democracy, the year 2011 is just around the corner.
The biggest lessons you and I should be taking away from our grinned faces, is that the collection of men who lord it over us by way of the PDP and their callous inattention to just how much of us - our very best - we lose to their collective incompetence, has to be defeated!
In the spirit of those three-liners that defined the glorious elevation of Barrack Obama to the highest of Offices in the United States, Yes, We Can!
Da Grin, lived believing just that... And He did.
Posted via email from dapxin's posterous