Archive for March, 2011

Bores by E.V. Lucas

Posted: March 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

Sometimes people ask me about books I read where I receive inspiration to write, be it lyrics or blogs or even photo comments on Facebook. The answer is always the same, EVERYWHERE. It’s a boring answer but the truth ism there are ideas in every place we look. However, the best advice I like to give is to read widely. Read books by every type of author on every type of subject matter (except of course the ghastly Mills & Boon series) and one not only acquires knowledge on a vast array of subjects, but also suddenly finds several sources from which to draw inspiration. The following excerpt is an article written by a brilliant writer named E. V. Lucas. The book was lent to me by a good friend who felt I would appreciate his writings. She was right.

Enjoy

 

BORES
An essay by E.V. Lucas

“It requires a sense of superiority, assurance and self confidence to write about bores at all, except as one of them. But since your true bore is always unconscious of his borishness, and indeed usually thinks of himself as the most companionable of men, to write as one of them is to acquit oneself of the stigma.
None the less, at some time, I fear, everybody is a bore, because everybody now and again has a fixed idea to impart, and the fixed ideas of the few are the boredom of the many.

Also, even the least self-centred of men can now and then have a personal experience sufficiently odd to lose its true proportions and force him to inflict it over much over much on others.

But bores as a rule are bores always, for egotism is beyond question the bore’s foundation stone; his belief being that what interests him and involves himself as a central figure must interest you.

Since he lives all the time, and all the time something is happening in which he is the central figure, he has always something new to discourse upon: himself, his house, his garden, himself, his wife, his children, himself, his car, his handicap, himself, his health, his ancestry, himself, the strange way in which, without inviting them to, all kinds of people confide in him and ask his advice, his humorous way with waiters, his immunity from influenza, his travels, the instinct which always leads him to the best restaurants, his clothes, his dentist, his freedom from shibboleths, he being one of those men who look upon the open air as the best church, his possible ignorance of the arts but certitude as to what he himself likes, his triumphs over the income-tax people. These are happy men, these world’s axle trees.
(I have been referring to bores exclusively as men. Whether that is quite just, I am not sure; but I shall leave it there.)

Bores are happy largely because they have so much to tell and come so well out of it; but chiefly because they can find people to tell it to. The tragedy is, they can always find their listeners, me almost first. And why can they? Why can even notorious bores always be sure of an audience? The answer is, the ineradicable kindness of human nature. Few men are strong enough to say, ‘For Heaven’s sake, go away, you weary me.’ Bores make cowards of us all, and we are left either to listen and endure or take refuge in craven flight. We see them in the distance and turn down side streets or hasten from the room. One man I know has a compact with a page-boy, whose duty it is, whenever my friend is attacked by a certain bore in the club, to hasten up and say he is wanted on the telephone. In ingenious device, but it must not be worked too often; because my dear friend, although he can stoop to deceit and subterfuge, would not for anything let the bore think that he was avoiding him; would not bring grief to that complacent candid face. For it is one of the bore’s greatest assets that he has a simplicity that disarms. Astute, crafty men are seldom bores; very busy men are seldom bores.

Of all bores the most repellent specimen is the one who comes close up; the buttonholing bore. This is the kind described by a friend of mine with a vivid sense of phrase as ‘the man who spreads birdlime all over you’. A bore who keeps a reasonable way off can be dealt with; but when they lean on you, you are done. It is worst when they fix your eyes, only a foot away, and tell you a funny story that isn’t funny. Nothing is so humiliating as to have to counterfeit laughter at the bidding of a bore; but we do it. The incurable weakness and benignancy of human nature once again!

Then there is the bore who begins a funny story, and although you tell him you have heard it, doesn’t stop. What should be done with him? Another of the worst types of bore is the man who says, ‘Where should we be without our sense of humour?’ He is even capable of saying, ‘Nothing but my unfailing sense of humour saved me.’ There is also the man who says, ‘“Live and let live” as my poor dear father used to say.’

There was once an eccentric peer- I forget both his name and the place where I read about him- who had contracted, all unconsciously, the habit of thinking out loud; and in this world of artifice, where society is cemented and sustained very largely by a compromise between what we think and what we say, his thoughts were very often at a variance with his words. One of the stories in the memoirs in which I found him describes how he met an acquaintance in St. James’ Street, and, after muttering quite audibly to himself for a few minutes as they walked side by side, “Confound it, what a nuisance meeting this fellow. I’ve always disliked him. But now that we have met I suppose I must ask him to dinner,” he stopped and said with every appearance of cordiality, “You’ll dine with us this evening, won’t you?”
Well, as a sheet of armour-plate against bores, I don’t think we could do much better than cultivate the habit of thinking truthfully aloud. Unless we can do this or train ourselves to be downright offensive, there is no remedy against bores, except total evasion. No bore ever says, after no matter how many hints, ‘I’ll avoid that man in future; I know I bore him.’

So they will always flourish. But if a certain famous weekly humorous paper were to cease publication (distasteful and incredible thought!) there would automatically be a decrease in bore topics, because then no one could any longer repeat those sayings of his children which are ‘good enough for Punch.’

Advertisements

Urban Legend

Posted: March 18, 2011 in Hip-Hop

Today it’s raining and I’m feeling too lazy to write. So I’ll get one of  Uganda’s most earnest, playful and celebrated writers to do the job for me. This is the interview I did with Ernest Bazanye on Uganda’s wittiest website, Urban Legend Kampala ( http://urbanlegendkampala.com/2011/03/15/answer-me-this-enygma-on-competition-is-dead-rapping-and-outer-space )…

Enygma is fast-growing in reputation to be one of Kampala’s favourite rappers, even though we don’t really know what he looks like. The man always performs with a mask on. We got suspicious and went to investigate.

Q: Who are you?

A: I am a symbiotic cyborg sent from the alpha centauri galaxy in a parallel dimensia dimension. I am known as Enygma because my true identity is not known. Even my identity card doesn’t know me.

Q: Is that the same planet as Straka? was she your neighbour? Do you guys meet and bond? Wait. ARE YOU STRAKA?

A: My identity is irrelevant. Music is aural pleasure and not optical. Unless some people possess the ability to view soundwaves with the naked eye. Therefore, what I look like or who I am do not add or take away from what someone hears on the track. If my face really did matter, I would have zero fans. But I have a lot more than zero fans almost all of whom have absolutely no idea what I look like.

Q: Why do you be there rapping?

A: I realised that I wanted to rap was when 2pac died. Such a fuss was kicked up that I decided to hear some of his CDs. I was blown away. This was not Vanilla Ice or MC Hammer or Will Smith or Kris Kross. This was real, gritty, thug poetry. From then on I knew I wanted to rap. I actually penned my first verse in 2001, then in the same year I quit to focus on books and only started writing again in 2009 after coaxing from friends.

Q: Do you get tired of people hearing that you can rap and then telling you, “Eh, you can rap, eh? First rap a bit and we see.”?

A: It actually depends on who’s doing the telling and the mood I’m in. Sometimes I like nothing better than to randomly break out into song, just like a a Broadway musical! Other times I feel like the court jester being pestered to sing for his supper…

Wait are you asking me to rap now? Okay.

Enygma on ULK and I’m hot like incinerators/

I give frees all day just like refrigerators/

That’s ironic, I know, I’m so Enygmatic/

I spit bars like an uzi, semi-automatic/

You ought to panic, if you see me with Urban Legends/

I’m so fly, I’m the guy who drops turds on pigeons/

Turn ignitions, you can’t keep up with a Nascar/

I’m too cunning like the penguins off of Madagascar…

Q: You know we are not going to pay you for those rhymes/

Cos it’s a free style. Plus we have no dimes.

Yeah. I would have been an MC, too, except for the small matter of my being unable to do more than two lines at a time.

A: Mighty oaks, from one acorn, grow. Take care of your pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves. Little by little makes a bundle. Make a mountain out of a molehill.

What I’m trying to say with all those curiously applied proverbs, is that if you can come up with two bars, you can do 4, which means you can do 8 and if you make 8 then you can achieve a 16. I have faith in you. But I must warn you, once you join our field you become part of the competition and you know what happens to the competition don’t you?

Q: Heh heh. I sense we are going to segue into an introduction of that latest song you and your peers have been up to. So let me segue.

Enygma, since we don’t know who you are without a mask, I have no qualms guessing that you are a mortician or an undertaker or an assassin, because you recently declared that competition had passed on to the other side. Tell us more about the death of competition.

A: You are getting very close to uncovering my true identity. I’m wanted in several states for the audacious crimes of killing a beat, lyrical manslaughter and placing my competition in bodybags. So much so that my cohorts and I assembled to make a track about this called Competition is Dead. The track is especially deep because it was not only a retelling of the past, but the track itself also served as a foreboding of the future…

Q: I want to see this track. First introduce it kko like a radio dj and introduce the cohorts and please give Susan Nava mob props especially cos she’s fine.

A: The track was produced by Sam Lamara and includes a stellar hip-hop cast. Lyrikal Proof, Topik, The Mith, JB, Mun*G, BigTril, Saint C.A., Susan Nava, Mon MC, 2-Xtrim, Atlas, Pl@y, Don MC, Qrea-us, Enygma, Keko, GNL & Navio. A variety of languages were used, English, Swahili, Luganda, Runyankole and Japhadola! With such a devastating line up, it is not only the competition, but also the listeners who be dead!

Q: One last question. By which I mean two more questions. It sounds like a who’s who, the cast of this song. But if all the rappers are here, who is the competition? Is it Rocky Giant?

A: There are many good artists making great hip-hop music who are not on this track. Young Nick, JT, Lyrical G, etc.. So much as this is a line-up with big names, it would be wrong to say that these are the only good MCs in UG. But the track is already 15 minutes long. If every relevant MC was put in, perhaps the track could have been a hour long. So the question of who the competition is, is not answered by indicting every MC not on the song. I prefer to let the listeners interpret for themselves who the competition is.

Q: Well me I have decided it’s that guy IK from Big Brother. Mr Enygma, thank you for joining is this evening. We’ll just close by giving our readers where they can get a shitload of your music on reverbnation, they can also keep up with wasgono with you on your own blog, they can download C. I. D. here and we will close with Hustlers Anthem.

A: :-) Nice…

www.ReverbNation.com/TheRealEnygma , Enygma’s Youtube , and the blog is iamenygma.wordpress.com

And now, introducing the man who defeated not only competition, but Contraception and was born with his father wearing a condom and his mother on the pill, featuring Keko, The Mith and Navio, this is Enygma and Hustler’s Night. Runtings!

The Mask

Posted: March 15, 2011 in Hip-Hop

One of the most common questions I’m always asked, is why I cover my face. Some have speculated that I must be extremely hideous or perhaps in possession of a frightful  scar like Carlos Tevez. I just tell them that I’m the most gorgeous man ever made because my mother taught me that honesty is the best policy.

Instead of backing off for fear that their eyeballs may melt from exposure to pure hunkiness, I am instead still pestered to remove the mask and present myself. Well, that’s not going to happen. My reasons for this are simple and few and perhaps I can touch on them a little bit now…

One of my many disguises

Ironically for someone involved in the entertainment industry, I have no desire to be famous. Some of my fans have shared with me their dreams of appearing on magazine covers, billboards, talkshows and poorly Photoshopped nude pics. They’ve dreamt of wordlwide fame and recognition since they were young enough to excite Gary Glitter (just Google it). They want the flash photography, the autograph signing, the celebrity coupling, the yes men, the haters, the groupies, the stalkers, the endorsements, the bling, the rehab clinics, the critical acclaim, notoriety, everything. But to me none of it as appealing. Sure, it feels good to have people appreciating my work, but they don’t need to see my face to that. That’s what my inbox is for. I enjoy being an unknown face in the crowd and very importantly, it allows me to keep my work/family life completely separate from my hiphop life. Besides, it also has its unique perverse pleasures. Like when I get fanmail from people that used to sit next to me in class. There’s one in particular who will probably commit suicide if he ever discovered the identity of the guy he’s been praising so effusively…

The other major reason is something I’ve discussed before in this blog. The role of image in marketing a musician. I HATE IT. I understand that many people are more likely to buy a CD if the artist is good looking. I understand that people are more likely to believe that someone is gangster if he survived a few gunshot wounds or went to jail. I understand that many people like to identify with success and if they see an artist with a flashy lifestyle, he becomes their idol and therefore record sales increase. I am aware that this phenomenon exists in the world and I absolutely abhor it. I believe it to be a very high form of stupidity to buy music because the artist wears fashionable clothes or drives a Bentley. I’ve argued this point with people who disagree with me, but to me music is received through the ears and my ears alone decide who has good music and who doesn’t. A lot of my favourite artists are people who’s faces I barely know. Dr. Dre had no idea that Eminem was a white dude when he was trying to sign him up. Many people tried to convince Dre not to risk his career on a Vanilla Ice gamble, but Dre believed in the talent he heard on radio and his faith was repaid overwhelmingly.
If your work is good it will speak for itself. If it isn’t, then no amount of marketing gurus can convince me to buy your shit. Susan Boyle is very unbeautiful but she proved to the world that you don’t need to look like Beyonce to catch people’s attention in the music world. Yet still, the talentless Lady Gaga will sell more albums, generate more YouTube hits and have more ‘likes’ on Facebook just because of image and marketing alone. It makes me sick. I refuse to participate in this charade and therefore opted to not have an image at all. In fact my original plan was to have no photographs and do no interviews. To be completely unseen. But that proved completely impossible to maintain and so I had to pull out the hoodie/bandana thing. Some say that the whole no image thing is an image in itself. Perhaps they’re right. But it’s a better option to putting myself forward and having people’s eyeballs melting 🙂

Bathroom Beef

Posted: March 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

Alright, who invented this beef about the toilet seat? It seems that the whole world has bought into the belief that men are retards who deserve unquantifiable punishment if they dare commit to horrendous atrocity of using the toilet and then… *gasp*… leaving the seat up!

An NGO is being formed to deal with survivors of such terrible crimes.

For goodness sake ladies grow up! If the seat is always supposed to be down, then we shall assume that the man has to lift it to use it. You’re a big girl, when it’s your turn to use it, bring it back down yourself. The world won’t end. The water in the ceramic bowl will not swirl into a vortex opening up a portal to a parallel dimension sucking you in to some kind of bizarro world.

Men have never complained about finding the toilet seat down and having to lift it up again. Because it’s not something worth complaining about! It’s like complaining because you find the domestic laptop lid closed when you’ve come to use it. If you want to use it, open up the laptop and use it! It’s not a technical challenge requiring complex algebric algorithms to decipher, if you want to use something that’s been lifted, bring it down and vice-versa!

I really have no idea how woman have kept this nonsensical non-argument going on for decades. They must be laughing their cute little asses off at all the silly men who live in perpetual fear of leaving the toilet seat in the wrong position.

Ladies, I've invested in these. Buy two get one free. Inbox for details...

Now if there was a real reason to beef in the bathroom, it would be for squeezing the toothpaste from the MIDDLE of the tube! I’m actually, literally at a loss for words as I attempt to comprehend why anyone would do this. Picture me gasping for air as I search for words. None there.

One of the major criminal acts of the 21st Century.

If I had any desire to be President of a nation as fine as this one, it would be so that I could amend the penal code to make it a felony to squeeze toothpaste from anywhere apart from the bottom. This should also apply to bachelors and bachelorettes living alone. No point in letting them get accustomed to evil habits before they settle in with families.

Squeeze from the bottom and work your way up. It’s as simple as that. You don’t want to be in Guantanamo Bay with people who’ve committed real sinister crimes like having Islamic names, or growing long beards and then telling them that you’re in for toothpaste misuse. The inmates will just laugh at you. If they could see you from under their hoods.

Do it like this.

Alright, I’m back! I initially wanted this blog to be at most a  once weekly affair, however, death threats have since persuaded me to contribute a little more, so here we are. Thank you for appreciating my writing so far, surprisingly a large number of people seem to agree with my eccentric views. There were one or two who felt I was harsh on the Mexican hunger striker, but I wasn’t harsh enough. In fact, if I was stationed at the embassy where she was camped, I would have made the fullest use of my diplomatic immunity to smack some sense into her. Emphasis on smack…

Anyway, moving on. In this edition I want to talk about lyrics. I’m an MC and as such lyrics matter to me a lot and had always wanted to make use of my blog to touch on this often misunderstood subject. I’ve been reading Jay-Z’s brilliant book entitled ‘Decoded’. It’s somewhat of an autobiography of his life tied into his lyrics. In each chapter he selects a few songs relevant to that phase of his life and then proceeds to explain some of the lyrics. This inspired me no end. Any MC you can think of will have gone through the process of explaining one of their songs line by line to a listener who is not as cultured in the art of hearing hip-hop.

Don't fear the Illuminati cover image. The book's a nice read.

So, I figured, if it’s good enough for Jay-Z, it’s good enough for Enygma! I’ll pick apart one of my recent and very short verses so that people can realise we actually do put in some thought to our words and try to communicate a little more in our lyrics than what is immediately apparent upon first listening.

Conglomerate Black & Yellow K-Mix (Enygma Verse)
I got a black Visa. And some yellow notes./
I always come correct but this isn’t pillow talk./
I’m providing food for thought but y’all are on a diet,/
Operating on a different plane you couldn’t even fly it./
I beat you black and blue, plus the pus, black and yellow/
And your blood makes it so UG, red, black and yellow./
Representing Hip-Hop when you see me you know everything,/
Only studio you doing good in is Megapix.

Okay, that was the verse. Now to dissect the lyrics and shed a little more light one what I said…


I got a black Visa. And some yellow notes.

Seeing as the theme of this song was black and yellow. I wanted to incorporate that into my verse in ways different from the obvious, for instance talking about bumblebees. So I decided to separate the two colours to bring out two items that were different but still significantly connected. One of the major themes in rap music revolves around competition. Competitiveness can be based on who’s better on the mic, courting ladies, making money or anything else. Generally the rapper will seek to show you how great he is by establishing that he is successful. I generally hate bragging about money in lyrics, but I feel if it is relevant to the track or can be done in an interesting way, then it’s okay. The Black Visa is among the world’s most exclusive premium credit cards. One has to be of significant financial standing to acquire one. Also locally, in Uganda, you can get a black Visa debit card at Barclays if you are a Premier customer. In Uganda, the yellow bank note represents 50,000/= which is the highest denomination we have. So these are two separate items, black and yellow, but they both revolve around money and infer that the narrator is a person of financial clout.

I always come correct but this isn’t pillow talk.
This is Enygma being naughty 🙂 In urban slang, to come correct is (1) to do something properly, the right way. It can also refer to (2) someone being respectful and/or having good manners. Now we also know that to come/cum has sexual connotations. So in one way, I’m implying sexual prowess, but then I take it back to the original meaning by saying this isn’t pillow talk (the post coital conversation lovers have in bed). The pillow talk is important because I want someone to think about the sexual part which they will miss if I didn’t mention it. Which is beautifully ironic since in Africa it is taboo and bad manners to talk about sexual issues, thus tying in with the second definition of “to come correct”.

I’m providing food for thought but y’all are on a diet,
To provide food for thought means to supply intellectual nourishment. Saying something that causes mental stimulus. This is my lament that much as I try to provide this with my lyrics, too many people are on a diet and not eating the food I’m serving. Plainly speaking, my lyrics often go over their heads because very few understand my wordplay.

Operating on a different plane you couldn’t even fly it.
To operate on a different plane means that I’m on a completely different level. I try to bring in the metaphor of an airplane and me as an engineer “operating” on this plane but the person I’m talking to is incapable of even flying it, which is easier to do. This is the disparity between us, how much on a different level I am from the person I’m referring to.

I beat you black and blue, plus the pus, black and yellow
To give someone a savage beating is to beat them black and blue. When the beating is so brutal, one can even end up seeping pus from the skin, which is always yellow. Thus I have gone back to the theme of black and yellow. Of course I am not discussing a literal beating, but a lyrical beating.

And your blood makes it so UG, red, black and yellow.
When a song like Black & Yellow is going to be redone by 6 Ugandan rappers, there was always a chance that one or two of them at least would get the idea of comparing it to our Ugandan flag which repeats the pattern of black, yellow and red. So if I were to include it, I needed to apply it in a way that I was sure would be different from anyone else (sure enough, Lyrikal Proof and Nava both mention it in their respective verses). Sticking to the idea of the savage beating from the previous line (black and blue/yellow pus), I now include the ingredient of blood. Aside from the graphic mental image that is given to the listener, it allows me to combine black, yellow and red which represents our Ugandan flag. A small footnote to this line, I deliberately used the term “So UG” as a nod to The Mith. He, along with Lyrikal Proof and I, all belong to Klarity records and since he was the only one not on this song, I decided to include him in this small way.

Representing Hip-Hop when you see me you know everything,
Black and Yellow was originally done by Wiz Khalifa. In the chorus he says “Rep up in my town when you see me you know everything.” Wiz is not renowned for being a lyricist, but I really appreciated this line. Deceptively simple yet effective in painting a picture that when you merely glance upon him once, you know everything there is to know about his hometown. He’s basically wearing his town on him from the way he walks, talks, dresses, etc.. I chose to re-apply this line but make an even bolder statement; that I am the truest representation of hip-hop! Some people will say that is debatable. I’ll say they can lay their own claims in their own songs…

Only studio you doing good in is Megapix.
People often ask me why I wear a mask. There are three reasons I always give. 2 of them are unimportant right now, but one of them is the fact that I hate the way an artists image is seen as a critical factor to his/her success. I don’t care how many times you’ve been shot, whether you’ve been to jail, whether you drive a Bugatti Veyron, whether you have expensive clothes and jewellery, whether you are the hottest hunk/babe etc.. None of these factors mean that your music will be better! I was once interviewed on UBC by the lovely Lauryn and the Calvin (he’s a cool dude but I’m not going to call him lovely), and I was asked what I thought about the Bebe Cools and Bobi Wines buying expensive cars and who was winning the battle over nice cars. I answered in two words – “Who cares?” The cars will not climb up on stage and sing for you. Music is a medium that we enjoy through our ears. Your image will not make me enjoy your music more, or less. One of the greatest rap songs of all time is Luoe Fiasco’s ‘Hurt Me Soul’. If that song was done by the Grandmaster of the Klu Klux Klan, I would say “God I love that song! The guy who made it is a racist piece of shit, but damn the song is so dope.” So that’s where I stand on image promotion in the music industry. This line basically touches on that. As recording artists, we spend a lot of time in the studio making tracks. But I am denigrating my opponent by saying he doesn’t create anything useful in the recording studio, rather, he is more focussed on marketing his image by spending time in photo studios instead. As opposed to me, who as stated in the previous line, is the embodiment of what hip-hop is all about 🙂

Apologies to all. This was more long-winded than I had intended. I’m also rushing out of office to attend Friday Night Lights basketball at the YMCA so I’m not going to do any spelling/grammatical checks for now. I shal jsut turst taht evreythnig is fine…

Oh and by the way, here’s a link to the song… http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/song_7276835