With Libianca’s name in the global music conversation, every Cameroonian artist must be thinking they too can be there. One to one in any category from music to sports and to education, Cameroon will beat any other nation in Africa.
Recently, Abdon Atangana was trending as one of the world’s best mathematicians. The reigning regular season MVP of the NBA is a Cameroonian. The biggest MMA fighter in the world is Cameroonian, the best African football player of all time is a Cameroonian. A Cameroonian, Dr Mathias Fobi, known as Hollywood’s weight loss surgeon developed his own patented medical procedure that is widely used across the world. How many African countries can boast of a Roland Garros champion? James brown copied a Cameroonian’s music, Michael Jackson sampled a Cameroonian’s music.
If we have so many great people topping different fields, why can’t we produce even more? The answer is simple – there is no system in place to capture and develop those talents.
There is a reason why this country is called Africa in miniature and it is because Cameroon has the capacity to represent Africa in any sector and do it as the best. However, for the past 40 years, we have embarked on a road that has led us to mediocrity which we now dearly embrace and defend.
Cameroonian artists are quite capable of dominating the world stage instead of just being contented with the French market. There are two things holding us back:-
- The quality of the production
After listening to most of the new music coming out of Cameroon lately, it is easy to see that the music producers need to go back to the drawing board. The quality and depth of the productions is lacking. The compositions and arrangements are elementary at best. The main reason why this is happening is because many producers have totally skipped the theory part of music. Many actually do not understand what is happening in the music they are making. Even some of the songs that become hits, the producers will not be able to tell you in musical language what they are doing.
I remember working with an artist and I had a live band playing the artists’ music. The artist kept complaining that the band is not playing the music well. The artist was however unable to explain what the problem was. Was the bass player missing a note in the melody? Was the tempo slow? Was the drummer not timing a snare properly? Music has a language and making great music starts with understanding that language. Many beat-makers even come up with melodies that are impossible to play on an instrument by a human -which is fine. You just can’t expect that to appear in the live version of that music. Even when it comes to song writing, there is a language or more appropriately style that you must first understand even if you decide to bend the rules later.
2. The second thing that is holding us back is our shallowness. We do not seek knowledge and we do not go deep into anything we claim to be interested in.
I have seen many artists wearing clothes carrying a Gucci logo but you won’t find that design in any of Gucci’s collections. You will see the same person trying to talk about their sense of fashion. Fashion is different from style. You can have a great style and not be into fashion.
The music industry is funded by brands so at the global level many of these things are more serious than many will imagine. People sleep outside stores to be the first to get a new Yeezy release. Some designs are sold out within minutes. Some items go for four or five times the price on resale. People are collecting these things. To say it is serious business. Too serious for you to try to pass a knockoff. You don’t get to meet Virgil Abloh(RIP) and relate with him if you don’t take these things seriously. Kanye went to intern at Fendi after he was already a superstar because to be in certain conversations, your knowledge must be deep.
We have developed a poor mindset over time. It is that mindset that has brought up this idea of Cameroon being a continent. We are doing everything to remove ourselves from the global conversation so we don’t have to operate with the world standard but yet we keep sharing our desire to be part of things that require us to perform at the world standard.
I’m not saying you must know everything about cars, watches, and clothes. You however have to know what you know and what you don’t know -and act accordingly. I can bet my life that if you meet Burnaboy and you have a fake AUDEMAR on, he’ll avoid you in the future or kick you out of his circle. Just like greeting the chief with your hand is a sacrilege in many cultures, there are many things that you don’t do or that you must know if you are to be allowed in certain rooms.
There is no other way to get this knowledge other than to research and read. We are however in a country where people ask “who is going to read this long thing?” and have people defending them.