Thursday, July 7, 2022

Ja Rule among US artists of the 1990s wowing Botswana

With Hip Hop lovers excited with the coming of American ‘Living it Up’ and ‘Always on Time’ rapper, Ja Rule aka Jeffrey Atkins, one cannot help but notice the trend in American artists who have been hitting our shores lately.

Granted, Ja Rule’s ultimate success came in the early 2000s but like the rest of them, it was the 1990s that made him. Our local music promoters are going all out to revive the 1990s music and Sunday Standard Lifestyle wanted to understand why.

I have to admit, as a child of the 1990s, I am excited about this sudden resurgence. But how much of this is occurring because of popular demand and how much of it is happening because the artists come at a cheaper price than their currently trending counterparts?

Lapologang Molemele says it is not about the asking price. “It is not that they are cheaper than the new artists,” he insists. “We consider the market before we decide on the artist.”
Molemele, through his company G Boy Entertainment, is bringing Ja Rule to Botswana for the very first time.

“A lot of us grew up to Ja Rule’s music therefore he is more relevant to our target market than a lot of the new artists. He also has a vast variety of songs that most of us are familiar with,” Molemele says.

“If we were to bring a new act, like Tyga (US), he may not pull as much a crowd as an artist who has been in the industry for a longer period.” Molemele says Ja Rule will also be promoting a new movie and album which are scheduled for release this year.
The rapper is expected to perform in Gaborone in April.

Seabelo Modibe, also a promoter and the brains behind the annual Mascom Boosta Bash festival, concurs with Molemele although he does believe trending artists do come at a price.

“We have to appreciate the calibre of the artists who have been coming to Botswana,” he says. “They are all Grammy Award winning artists.” He says the big issue with trending US musicians is that they are signed under Live Music Entertainment which makes it even more expensive to hire their services.
“The only artists that we can afford are those that fall outside the bracket of Live Nation like most of the nineties hit makers,” Modibe says.

It was Orange Botswana who got the ball rolling in 2009 with the arrival of Shaggy aka Mr Boombastic. Like all the artists who followed him to Botswana he kick-started his career in the nineties which spilled over into the early 2000s with hits like ‘Angel’ and ‘Hey Sexy Lady’ before he disappeared into the oblivion.

Eve followed suit back in November 2010 at the Urban Legends Concert held at Boipuso Hall. Eve’s first album, Let There Be Eve, came out in 1999 and immediately sent her into superstardom with singles ‘Gotta Man’ and ‘Love Is Blind’ although it was with the release of her sophomore album, Scopion, that she became an international success. The album featured ‘Let Me blow Ya Mind’ and ‘Who’s That Girl’. Following Eve’s successful trip, 2013 saw the arrival of Joe Thomas who first made his appearance with the album ‘All That I Am’ in 1997.

But it was not until the release of ‘My Name is Joe’ in 2000 that the world began to take notice, with hits like ‘I Wanna Know’ and ‘I Believe in You’. And little did we know we would have to wait almost a decade for a follow up album, which came out in 2007. Still in 2013, Brandy Norwood also landed on our soil. Her music career began in the early nineties with the release of a self titled album ‘Brandy’ in 1994 which featured ‘I Wanna be Down’ among other hits. She has since released five more albums with her latest offering, Two Eleven, coming out in 2012.

The 1990s must have been, musically, one of the greatest decades. It is no wonder our local promoters are doing their best to revive the incredible memories of the decade. As people get older we tend to find it difficult to understand contemporary music. We tend to live in the past when it comes to music. New music becomes incredibly too fast and raucous, hence we cannot help but feel a strong sense of nostalgia at the sounds of music from our yesteryears.

The kids who walked around the streets rocking Walkmans/Discmans, and marvelled at the ‘VHS’ videos of their favourite idols now have kids of their own and bills to pay.

At the same time, we also have some disposable income, as well as some yearning for the timeless classics that were the soundtrack of our formative years. So what better way than to bring those idols here for the first and perhaps last time, just so we can brag to our own kids and say ‘those were the days’.


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