As the saying goes,”To dream is to have your chest filled with stars,a mind captivated with possibilities and a heart enveloped in imaginations”. Everyday living comes with expectations for those who dream bigger and being in the UNITED STATES, living the American dreams you’d think it’s easier to succeed there than anywhere else on planet earth well…used to be the case for diaspora artists until the birth of HIPCO. The very first Hipco Mixtape that saw Tom Holder as the brain behind the productions and kills Lu(and the Neighborhood all stars),Noy Z,Real Nigga as the heavyweights artists on it changed the game in favor of the home based artists for good. That first Hipco project left top diaspora artists like B Barclay(USA),Peter Cole (Senegal) stranded in the dark having worked tirelessly for a spot at the top.
THE HIPCO EUPHORIA AND IT’S DEADLY EFFECTS
HIPCO hit like a hurricane when it first dropped, sweeping every Liberian off their feet at the same time sending messages that this is the birth of something great in the making but it was obviously cleared that Hipco is a jealous genre, Join the movement and be famous or reject the concept and get kicked out of the spotlights was its hidden unofficial intentions even thou it didn’t say, however, you could tell it is so from few months and years on. The diaspora did not heed instead, the struggles for relevance and identity brought about the creation of Trapco,a stepbrother -like genre. Trapco was established to distinguish those in the diaspora from those doing music in Liberia, to give the diaspora artists a unique identity. What is supposed to be about creativity and diversities has created a negative impact and rivalries, lots of fighting, beefing, division and setbacks. the thirst and hunger for HIPCO has been surging every passing day, the raves, euphorias has been massive. Christoph,Vennybeats had to relocate before gaining relevance, same for Co Z, Cnote, DenG. Bucky raww is also enjoying the best years of his career up to date by being in Liberia, Home advantage. Meanwhile MUNNA, PITTY, TOGAR, FRIDAY need torchlight to make it out of the dark. Cruel reality.
THE FOUR FALLEN DIASPORA ARTISTS
(1) MUNNA: there was a time I joined the many who thought MUNNA is our best bet to International recognitions. she would’ve done what 2Face Idibia did and is doing for the Nigerian Entertainment/Music. MUNNA has everything it takes to be an A-list artiste Worldwide. She was and is that good, had the Liberian Industry supported her fully, MUNNA would be headlining concerts and filling out stadiums in different countries and continents. She would’ve surely taken most of the credits but our Industry would’ve benefited seriously from the impacts. MUNNA is a powerful songwriter, she’s a pro, there’s no grey area in MUNNA‘s abilities as an artiste. MUNNA had a dream, a bigger dream, her disappearance from the scene at this stage of her career was UNSCRIPTED!!!
(2)TOGAR HOWARD: TOGAR is a charm on stage as well as in the booth. From PIFF ENTERTAINMENT to CDT TOGAR kept getting better with song writings. TOGAR’s departure from PIFF left a big gap there only recently covered by Mai Myers. CDT Entertainment had a rough diamond at first,when TOGAR was polished, it wasn’t just about dance moves anymore. He started to develop and got matured all round. His vocal abilities improved tremendously. TOGAR at one time became most wanted Liberian artist in the diaspora. Arguably the best dancer among Liberian artists on the continent right now, TOGAR’s songs are instant hits, his visuals are premium but like MUNNA, he has been pushed off the spotlights. This too…was unscripted!!!
(3) PITTY D’BEST: What a pity!.it’s really a shame how things have turned out for PITTY D’BEST now. His case is liken to opening a bottle of coke, the instant rush of gas in it at first only to go right back down is typical example of PITTY‘s career. Pitty had a soaring career back in Liberia with massive fan base in and out of Liberia. The temptation to live the American dream had Pitty switching from Liberia to America in search of a better career. At first, it looked like the best decision until things started falling apart, gradually his name is disappearing in the Entertainment circles. He’s frantically trying to reconnect with his long lost fans but the dominance of home based artists are serious hindrance right now. Pitty didn’t see this coming,Unscripted!!!!
(4) FRIDAY THE CELLPHONE: they say “It’s better to be a king in a village than be a slave in the city”. Friday was at the pinnacle of his career,everyone wanted a piece of the cellphone man. He ran the industry,the Alpha of Liberian entertainment at the time. He headlined many shows in and out of Liberia. Every single he dropped became streets anthem. There was one route for the cellphone man,U…P UP!!!!. He succeeded in conquering his nearest rival SMOOTH THE KALO KALO MAN. Friday was an icon, a living legend. Whatever made Friday Jump from Liberia to America killed him off,whomever advised him to jump ships is a protagonist to Friday’s career. Friday specialized in Gbema (traditional Liberian music) and a little bit of contemporary/afropop songs. Africa’s best two at the moment Wizkid and Davido signed huge international deals. They are working from their country Nigeria. These guys are Afropop artists, afropop has already gone international, it’s internationally accepted unlike the Gbema sounds. What made Friday think he will go one step better by moving to America? Friday’s decision to move to the states has cost him his career. It was a foolish and rash decision. Chase your dreams but be realistic about it, calculate before you dive into it. Now the Name Friday the cellphone man no longer rings a bell. Unscripted!!!
We have to do more for the diaspora entertainment body. These guys have been working effortlessly night and Day but we pay no attention to their brands and contents. If we call it Liberian Entertainment Industry then, let’s do more for one another, it don’t matter whether your home based or in the diaspora. Let’s forge a stronger Bond, let’s promote, share every Liberian content. With every labor there’s an expectation, that a fruit will be the manifestation. The diaspora sectors are seriously starving out of the limelight, the Sky is big enough for us all, it’s a Liberian thing, division is only going to slow us down. Bloggers have refused to blog about those in the diaspora, promoters prefer to pay tens of thousands of dollars to have Tekno, Kcee, Flavor etc perform two to three songs in Liberia than book our own like Snoti, Nyae, TOGAR, Flex, Mai, AG Da Profit, D12, JODI, Shine P, 2C, Foreign Ward, Skylett White, Baroe, ConCcoins etc. These promoters make lazy excuses about revenues and income on booking Liberian artists in the diaspora when they have not even attempted it before. Let me say this, it is very much realistic and profitable,do your math, even a Big name like Davido could not fill out the SKD due to poor planning, management and preparations. Print and electronic medias has important roles to play In promoting diaspora content brands as it’s being done for local artists.
Long live Liberia, one Entertainment Industry,one people.