I remember, “If you look at me I will dance like a butterfly.”
We live in a ridiculous world of microwave music. Globally, music albums are a dying breed. They are being replaced with hot singles that are making tonnes of cash for streaming sites like Spotify and ITunes. But every once in a while, one song comes out that trends for all the right reasons. Shatta Wale’s Taking Over is a case in point, same with Nana Boro’s Ahayede. Depending on where you stand on the morality spectrum, Tonga might belong to this craze.
Sometimes, these songs come with their own gyrating rhythms. I remember, “U Say Wetin” by Zigi. It was a crazy song that caught like wild fire in the heart of harmattan. That song had a line that said, “Everybody now make you dey craze.” Yeah! Here in Ghana. We also had Kokoveli and his Zaaza thingy. Zaaza probably was one of the earliest conscious efforts at creating a dance regime in Ghana.
And then Azonto happened.
From the moment it blasted on the airwaves, Azonto earned a cult following among serial dancers and soon became a sub-genre on the Ghana music scene. It was so pervasive that artists like EL worried he too was being put into that bracket of Azonto rappers. After creating/co-creating bangers like Azonto (with Sarkodie), One Ghana, etc., that people loved (and still do to this day), he was the architect of his own reputation.
But Azonto was more than a dance. While it was easy to recognize the dance routine by the hand gestures and two steps, it was even easier to tell an Azonto song from the beats it came with. Keche created Aluguntugui song on the craze, as did Dobble and Dr Slim with Seke. Sarkodie followed Azonto with Azonto Fiesta, while International Fisherman, Gasmilla, was hitting on the shores of Chorkor and in door party houses.
One Corner, on the hand, is little more than a twerk. What has made it popular is how ridiculous it is. In a world of crazy songs, it is the one that epitomises the growing trend of utter ridiculousness. It is funny in a perverse kind of way. And even though laced with a certain “Don’t put rubbish here,” “Respect traffic light,” lines, it seems one of those songs whose only life support is the dirty hook.
“Wobety dwii…One Corner, One Corner, One Corner…”
It was nonsensical like that. But One Corner doesn’t care about our feelings. Much like Azonto, One Corner is going global; Don Jazzys boys have been seen bonking studio equipment. The creator, Patapaa, is preparing for an international tour. See, it has even been blessed with the curse tag, making people show their affection for it for no other reason than to spite those holy men of God.
Of course, Azonto went even farther than that. For a few years, Azonto was the swag-on-point movement for whoever wanted to be fly. Perhaps the most beloved of Azonto disciples was the man ODG who managed to pull out a surprise by putting Wyclef Jean on the Antenna remix.
I mean, “One time, two time…Azontoo…” Damn, that was cool.
ODG also did the ‘real’ Azonto single with Tiffany and undefeated Azonto beats champion, Killbeatz.
Azonto was more than just a dance. At its best, it could be used to send almost any kind of message to a dance partner; from lewd sex gestures to bullish fist fight routines, the dance routine pushed boundaries like none other in Ghana music. It expressed different daily activities, some funny, some real, others down right meaningless.
Corollary to the Azonto sub-genre was the fact that it created an avenue for another popular dance movement: Akayida. Though different and favouring strong side-leaning, Akayida was almost a direct result of the scene Azonto created. And with the dance came the popularity that #BoysAbre gained. While others like M.anifest stayed away from it, Nigerian hit maker, Wizkid, was showing his love for the movement. What was more controversial was P Square inventing Alingo, a dance routine that was curiously similar to Azonto. It is a dope video, nonetheless. You should check it out.
Now, seeing people dry humping against an electric pole would seem funny. Seeing them twerking over an open drainage, or over the head of a sleeping mentally challenged man…that one I think is madness. But who are you to judge? The very nature of music lends itself to all forms of emotions. From love to compassion to freakish, loud, metal madness, music and the dance it evokes will draw curious observers and avid congregants. The world has given us Harlem Shake and “You Can’t Touch This.” It has given us Azonto and tricked us with Alingo? But now we have to wait and see if One Corner is the next sky scraper that will leave us dazed for years to come.