Malawi rapper Tay Grin lost his way in ‘Our Way’

Listening to rapper Tay Grin’s new single ‘Our Way’ – a rendition of the old Lucky Stars classic ‘Chinafuna M’bale’, one cannot but feel ashamed at the musician’s malicious rape of this favourite tune.

I will not waste time talking about the musician’s rapping skills because, one tends to note, this is subject to taste, opinion and affinity.

What I desire to tackle here is the artist’s contempt for Malawian classics if his performance on ‘Our Way’ is anything to go by.

Whereas the original song is warm and blissful, Tay Grin sounds cold and calculating in his remake.

Tay Grin

Tay Grin

Whereas the original song warns about the disregard for community and kinship, Tay Grin raps about being ‘the one’ which makes one wonder if the musician even took time to understand what the original is all about.Tay Grin rapping about “billionaire talk/poser/Racks on racks/co shire/Chips stacked/pocker big baller/mpwepwete/mphona/Africa on the roaster/stammer/G5 fly/ timayenda mwa thama” over ‘Chinafuna M’bale’ does not make him sound cool.

It makes him sound both arrogant and ignorant.

His feat of arrogance continues as he thwacks this verse: No sir in a league of no one/Doing in it our way/yep/Mfana okwana/bonya/Mwano/zonse kutsonya/Zakwathu tikuponya/Poster boy composure/Get down on the floor/lets party/First class/ motherland style/Trendsetters/yes we whiling/Doing it our way/go

If this was sung as an independent or solo track, most of us would not have had issue with the poster of Malawian urban music.

But to disrespect a Malawian classic is to insult all of us peace-loving Malawians.

What does him ‘getting down on the floor’ (whatever that means) have to do with the need for family and community as espoused by Lucky Stars in ‘Chinafuna M’bale’?

Without the requisite knowledge of what the song means and the context in which it was sang, Tay Grin sounds petty and tedious.

I, for one, do not believe that Lucky Stars would have allowed this remix to go ahead had they listened to what the rapper was going on about.

So while it is good for young artists to bring Malawian classics to life by way of remixes as Tay Grin sought to do in ‘Our Way’, it is always a good thing is they listened to the message before ejaculating on the track and creating a mess.

Our music is our culture. This is what defines us as a people. This is what we hold dear. Our music speaks to us; it speaks for us.

So anyone who seeks to use our music better understand why we play it in the first place. They have to understand the context and the message.

Otherwise this indifference to both the context and the message as Tay Grin has done makes a mockery of the great effort and talent that went into making these classics.

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