By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
Diaspora Gambian Rapper based in Texas released a new track Dekabi 69 condemning “corruption & negligence” which led to over 70 children being killed from Acute Kidney Injury (AKI). One person who won’t be buying the song is the outspoken Minister of Tourism and Culture Hon Hamat Bah who believes that the rapper’s song is “just for him to please his audience — but I totally disagree with him”.
Both the rapper and Minister Bah spoke to Coffee Time with Peter Gomez. Our reporter also held an exclusive interview with the rapper to understand what inspired him to release the song Dekabi 69.
Holding no punches Jay O Jay’s song mentions former President Jammeh whom he calls a prolific killer. The song refers to both UDP Leader Ousainou Darboe and PDOIS Leader Hon Halifa Sallah for not supporting current President Adama Barrow. He blamed ego for the two leaders’ reluctance to help the former Coalition Leader whom he says is clueless.
Radio host Mr Gomez questioned the rapper if his song suggests that “the Gambian” in us would have done the same thing that our current leaders are doing if given the same opportunity. To this, the rapper said “no that is not what am saying, in Leadership I mean our government, they lead and we follow. You don’t expect the people to behave any differently from the people in charge. Their actions and behaviours be it good or bad not only affects us but infects us as well. But people are different we’ve got some people who really put the people, the country before anything else”.
Probing further Mr Gomez referred to the rappers’ lyrics on the infiltration of Whites, Chinese, and Indians into the Gambian economy which he compared to the Diasporan Rapper living in the United States. The Coffee Time Host asked the rapper “you don’t mean to come across as a xenophobe?” In response O Jay says the lyrics “ends with we let them come treat us like hey massa, as in a slave master. So am not xenophobic maybe if you understood the line or the ending of the line you wouldn’t have seen it come across as such”.
Articulating himself confidently he explained that the song refers to “the ones that want to take and take back to theirs and treat us however in the process”. In his view, this is not only a problem in The Gambia but across the African Continent.
Soon after firing questions at the rapper, Peter turned his attention to the Minister of Tourism Hon Hamat Bah asking him if he would buy the song to listen to it. In response, the outspoken Minister argued that “I heard the song but you know Peter when you don’t understand how government works, you have no idea what International Trends of Economic is, you don’t understand what’s happening in the world, you can say whatever you want to say. It’s a democracy people have a right to speak but then those listening will know the facts”.
A defiant Hon Bah added that “you can insult me about issues but those who know the facts will always be there to listen and be genuine and make a balanced opinion”.
Perhaps turning his attention from the main focus of the song to the general economic challenges affecting the world which is still reeling from the impact of Covid-19 and the Russia-Ukraine War the Minister made reference to the challenges affecting other countries.
Minister Bah turned his attention to “Ghana” and “what happened in many countries in the world, this is not peculiar to The Gambia. It’s a crisis of the world, these are crises all over the world”. However, in an exclusive interview with the rapper currently residing in Texas the song Dekabi 69 was inspired by the “utter disgust of how our corruption & negligence led to bad drugs from India killing our kids. I thought, even though I’m far away, I have my music which I can use to reach out to people and have an impact on them whether be it through entertainment, bringing them joy, to teach, preach, heal or incite some type of self-reflection or reaction from people”.
Nonetheless, Minister Bah is not impressed and concluded his interview by retorting: “for someone to sing a song like that. I mean that’s just for him to please his audience that’s his opinion but I totally disagree with him”.
Jay O Jay wears a mask in his music videos and goes by the name John. Our next publication on John discusses his mystery-masked identity and if he’ll be launching an album soon.