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mercredi, février 1, 2023

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Chronicle : « Mboko God – The Positioning » by William Takor


This is a review, right ? Mboko God review.

So I should go for paragraphs and pages on how flamboyant the art behind Mboko God is. How big the music is. How deep the production is. You know, the themes it addresses, the intricate details behind the making of the album, the process, the crafting of the sound. Cuz you know, that’s what everybody is expecting a review to look like … expecting a review to look to be.

I could go on and on, and pick my favourite songs … and go on a ranting tirade on how each of these songs is genius. About how these songs will completely change the way Cameroonian rap is perceived by the world. About how just as much as the African Afro-pop sound is Nigerian, or the African House sound is South African, the African Rap sound, after the release of Mboko God will be Cameroonian. Then, using grandiose phrasings and high sounding lingua, I’ll paint the visual representation of what the music sounds like. You know, like how everyone else does it.

Then maybe I’ll go on to play the “objectivity” card (… you know that card the writer plays to convince himself/herself of the might and unfuckwitable power of his/her feather) … and pick out what I think are the weakest songs on the album. Songs he should’ve discarded. Cuz, you know, you’re not a real reviewer if you like the whole thing from top to bottom.

Cuz, hey: Who’s a reviewer without an opinion, right?
So I’ll pick about 3 songs I don’t like, jusfodefuckofit, and detail how differently he should’ve made them, to fit my superior eclectic-music-reviewer-taste-palette.

Like your favourite music writer will.

Then I’ll go on to place the art in context … juxtaposing it with the sonic textures of the time. To see how it jolts or fits into the status quo. You know, investigating whether or not Mboko God’ll be the culture-medium of Cameroon’s next generation of musicians.

Like your favorite writer/reviewer/blogger will.

Or like a lifestyle blogger, I’ll talk about Jovi. About how he’s basically creating and polishing the canons of content creation, distribution and consumption for the Cameroonian creative ecosystem of our time… and still pushing the art. About how his ideas, and methodology are the blueprint with which creatives are going to be working with over the next 5 years. How, in a digital economy whose main currency is content, he’s able to create and distribute so much at such a crazy pace.

You know … dah kine lifestyle analysis geste-technique dem.


Or like a music writer, I could delve nose-deep into, and yarn about, changing business paradigms and ideologies in our creative ecosystem … throw in a few technical words here and there to, you know, demonstrate how versed I am with the matter. Then go on to best illustrate how Jovi’s the first to fully bet on

the future digital, by sneaking up a Cameroonian digital entertainment empire on us all. About how every move he makes digitally, whether it is a song or a video, or a tweet, is a perfectly-designed-timed-aligned-and- calculated juggernaut of an event in its own right, capable of breaking our internet.

Or like any self-respecting pop culture critic, sink my teeth into EtP8Koi … and milk out how the biggest rap song on the continent, owing to its architectural brilliance, is a clear peep into the future of digital consumption patterns of African creative arts… about how it is the perfect tutorial on the creation of art with consumer, medium and distribution in mind.

Or I could go all music savant on y’all and talk about … the cultural phenomenon that Ca$h is. I could dissect the song and demonstrate how Ca$h is our first real foray into experimenting and tapping from the ocean- deep wealth of source material that is Cameroonian music, to creating a sound that best represents and sits with our generation (and the next)’s cultural habits. I could clock on-and-on on the fact that to make Ca$h, one has to be completely unbrainwashed into acknowledging the power and grandeur of the Cameroonian sound … the source material.

Ehen, we could do that.
Cuz this is a review right? … We could conform and do all that.

So I could paint all these pictures with all these words to trick you into believing that I really care … that I care about the artist … that I care about the culture … that I care about the music.

When, really, this is just a ploy to sound intelligent and relevant as a writer online. … But I am no writer.
I am no music reviewer. I am no blogger.
I am William Takor M.A., and I don’t care about relevance.



Cuz that’s what the underlying spirit of what Mboko God is: fuck conventions; fuck their expectations; fuck rules. Why let skewed social conventions enslave us.

Why be Kings … when we can be Gods? Why fight and stumble over each other to fit into manmade, time relevant conventions of what success, on any platform, is “supposed” to be? Conventions that trick us into thinking our incessant need to fit in as Cameroonians, is aspiring to greatness. When real greatness really is having an unabashed sense of self, transcending and existing above what convention says the cool is. Being Cameroonian is creating our own cool … being our own cool. Leading the pack

With Mboko God, Jovi creates a universe, both visually and sonically that’s the ideal breeding ground for The Idea. A universe that literally “unwashes the brainwash” … whether it’s with the album’s unapologetically Cameroonian opening track, Positioning, as producer he treats everyone into a very peppered broth of severe

North Western and Western textures and melodies, on soothing Reniss and Shey vocals, through female rapper Tilla’s energetic chest-thumping manifesto of a verse, chanting repeatedly with hair-raising masculine assurance: “Mboko na place wey, all man di fear am. Cut ma café, because sey na ma maison” … to an instrumental flip at the end revealing Jovi, in all his glory: … BARS … for … days.

He then throws us knee deep into jungle-expeditionesque journey with “Nyongo Money”, as he taps into the Congolese lingua and vibe, cloaking these in percussion patterns from the Sawas of the South Western region with raps about hard work and the reward of success, to pick us right up and shove us through the brash hood-trap anthem of kwatta braggadocio that “B.A.S.T.A.R.D” is; through one of those head-bobbing “Beat Tape Sessions” you’ll have in the studio if you’re Jovi and you’re surrounded by talented up-and-coming rappers, Tilla, Teddy Doherty, Pascal and Inna Money spitting their hearts out in Mboko to boom-bap thumps; to “Comme Moundi”, a beautiful Makossa ballad with Shey as an ode to Petit Pays and his fight to emancipate Cameroonian mindsets, following a pattern Jovi picked up with his freshman album H.I.V. where he named- after and dedicated a song to, the Late Lapiro De Mbanga.

Mboko God Album Jovi-JeWanda

Mboko God – Status, comes in the middle of the experience with an infectious uptempo hip-hop anthem, with a cocktail of bars and verses in Franc-anglais, pidgin-english and local dialect, and transitions through to Track 7 with Jovi unapologetically claiming rap-G.O.A.T status with aggressive, step-on-your-coach-with-my-muddy- boots “Top Level” flows, to the cocktail of Bikutsi guitar-riffs and Bensikin percussion patterns that make the monster smash, Ca$h.

The experience then pivots seamlessly into Man Pass Man (Part 2); sequel to Man Pass Man off his freshman album, H.I.V; sees Jovi reminiscing on his journey so far, wishing those who paved the way (Lapiro & Kotto Bass) were here to share in his success; as he swings from the braggadocious, albeit socially conscious continental hit; EtP8Koi to land on the swingy Makossa-esque ballad Jungle Book, with signature Cameroonian Makossa guitar riffs and Shey serenading away into the experience’s curtain call: Mboko God – Reality, whose production is as deep and intricate as Jovi and Reniss’ performance. With beautiful set of piano strokes to close up the 12 song experience

But Mboko God is beyond just a beautiful kaleidoscope of sonic textures, notes and songs, genius production choices and decisions. Mboko God is a physical manifestation of an idea. A mindset positioning that lets you believe, that just by virtue of being Cameroonian, you’re bigger than a brainwashed society’s agenda to keep you humble … to check your self-esteem … to keep you from reaching (and surpassing) your potential. It’s the mindset that emancipates you to a higher place that allows you say:

“Fuck Keep your handouts, I’ll do it myself.”
“Fuck Keep your disrespectful cheques .I know my worth, you can’t buy me.”
“Fuck Keep your platform; I am my own platform; I built myself.”

…. without flinching or thinking twice

You’re welcome.

Follow William Takor on Twitter.

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