For the past few months, many of us have been impatiently waiting for Cameroonian born rapper Jovi’s highly anticipated debut LP,H.I.V (Humanity Is Vanishing. And I hope it won’t be an overstatement if I said it is arguably and undoubtedly the most awaited album in Cameroon’s brief hip hop history. I’m delighted to say that having been chanced to listen to the whole H.I.V album, my verdict is… He killed it !
An album that face lifts the Cameroonian urban music scene
From an artistic point of view, it is an album that I would deem complete, trendy, respecting the codes of the genre,very smartly conceived with well schemed collaborations, like the vibrant tribute to african classics «Pitié» feat. Tabu Ley Rochereau, «Bush Faller» featuring our own Eko Roosevelt…, or even in ”Achombo House” with big brother Krotal (pioneer of the genre). Also peculiar to the album are intelligent doses of a unique ingeneous and authentic Cameroonian sounds.
H.I.V is an array of variety, from the Pidgin English, the instrumentation and the audacious themes that only gives the album the much needed global and local appeal that was previously missing in Cameroonian hip hop. Simply put, Jovi’s album is a true born refined mboa product with adequate usage of popular infectious Kamer lingos like Cerelac, Nido, Mabanda, Ndolo, Donatien, Bobolo, Peppe Soup, Koki, Eto’o, Tuborg, Bosco, Mbutman, Sentiment moko, Njangui, Faroter, Cameroon Oye, Achombo… that give fellow Cameroonians or even Africans a sense of pride and belonging.
Those who do not speak Pidgin English will not be left out since most of the songs are just the perfect melange of both English and Camer pidgin. Some of the lyrics though are explicitly blunt containing strong language depicting a tough reality, in which many of our fellow ”paysans” will recognize themselves. Guys, you need to check out these politically incorrect camer ghetto punch lines ! My favorites : «Don’t need to know how much everything will cost me, just know i got the bill, Cosby». «My flow is so dope, what the f**k is marijuana. Ok, ok go smoke it if you wanna», or «I s**t on beats, Motoh».
After listening to the album, my favorite tracks are : Don 4 Kwat, Man Pass Man, Pitié, 2 Much, Bush Faller, New Star, and You Never Know.
Beware, when i say it is the first of the kind, it is under specific criteria such as the quality of the work, the product availability, the communication strategy, the album cover art, the album title, the videos, the presence on social networks and the broadcasting on international music channels.
I wouldn’t want our elders to get pissed for this does not call into question their talent, without them «Jovi» wouldn’t even exist in the first place. Let’s just say that he takes it to another level, and we wish others will do the same one day.
More than a hip hop album; a symbol of hope
I see a harbinger in this album; the hope that Cameroonian music will shine again on top of the world.
This album is a salient proof that the place you were born should never define who you are, neither what you become. It completely redifines and puts into question hip hop from an african perspective ! It is a vivid message that says it is high time the world listened to hip hop from an African direction.
Another remarkable feat is that the Don 4 Kwat as he’s fondly referred to by fans will probably succeed in making our parents listen to Camer rap due to its rich enchanting musical variety. The other day can you imagine my mother listened to it and absolutely liked it ! Though not her usual taste. Yes, he succesfully creates a melting pot that will no doubt appeal to various generations of Cameroonians, Africans, «Anglophones», Francophones etc. And most importantly is the fact that, Jovi aknowledges that there were talents before him, and there will be after him.This can be noticed clearly in the difference in generations of the various artists that featured on the project.
In my opinion, 3/4 of the album will probably be hit songs for different categories of people and markets.
I personally followed the creative process of the album these past months, and I can testify it involved countless studio hours, lots of sleepless nights, sacrifice and resilience. A concrete proof of a great determination and an unshakeable faith on his part. His record label MuMaK have adopted innovative strategies for its artists and do apply them profesionnally. To me, it’s the cameroonian Young Money Cash Money ! And when you know the path of YMCMB, you think very good things are about to happen !
H.I.V, a future successful album
Hence, I predict a great international breakthrough for this album, and even future collaborations with internationally known artists. Don’t be surprised to see Jovi at the MTV Africa Music Awards or the BET Awards one day, because he’s got it !
The only regret, I had when I was done listening was that it finished too soon even befeore i realised. Jovi’s H.I.V is a highly infectious and addictive album.You would want to hear it over and over trust me, pipo. Funny satires, blunt explicit lyrics, and club banging productions is what the listener gets after going through this masterpiece.
Thus, it is with great pride that I confidently recommend you to buy (I say wuna buyam eeeh) this long awaited album. First because it is true authentic ”pays” art, proudly Kamer in all its ramifications and secondly to appreciate the immense work put in so far by this musical maverick and super gifted Kamer artist/producer.
Let’s consume Cameroonian, let’s consume African !
Good luck ”ma broda”, and hope you bring back lots of awards and nkap* ! It’s about time we started making money off Hip Hop in Cameroon and Africa at large !
RELEASE DATE : August 30th 2012 on iTunes and other online stores.
* money, dough
More on Jovi.