THROW BACK THURSDAY: VIP MUYI WASA

vip

The tales of the music group VIP (now VVIP) would be written in golden ink by music journos and historians in the future. Since bursting onto the music scene almost two decades ago, they have evolved into a force, surviving turbulent times in the process. They can be compared to the proverbial phoenix which rises out of its ashes, soaring higher and staying stronger. For VIP, their longevity and survival had been rewarded in plaques and respect among fans and industry watchers. Their success story is the stuff reserved for legends. (Note: I’m using VIP instead of VVIP because the song was released before the renaming of the group).

VIP have a solid musical catalogue spanning many hits. It’s often uncommon to find a group enjoy this level of consistency in the course of their career. And one of their biggest and memorable tunes back in the day-at the beginning of the new millennium was ‘Muyi Wasa’, a Hausa phrase that means Let’s Dance or party. The three verses of the song were all delivered in unadulterated Hausa lingua by the two ‘zongo’ rappers in the group- Friction and Lazzy.

Around the new millennium, hiplife was a genre seeking to establish its own identity-distinct sound and culture. Before that stage was reached-somewhere in 2005- most of the songs released sampled hits records from the American hip hop or Western pop scene. VIP also did same for some of their songs including their two big hits Muyi Wassa and Rana Sallah (which sampled Buster Rhymes’ ‘Dangerous’) all produced by Nana King of Ashanti International (I stand to be corrected) at that time.

For Muyi Wasa, VIP sampled two well-known tracks for this song. First, the beat was from Busta Rhyme’s ‘Dangerous’. The melody for the hook was borrowed from ‘Hot Shot’ by Jimmy Cliff. Armed with these samples and lyrics that appealed to their ‘zongo fans’ (mostly hausa speaking moslems), VIP crafted a song that became a favourite for both mainstream radio and everyone-even non-hausa speakers were singing along the catchy hook.

As the title of song suggest, Munyi Wassa was a ‘call to party’ tune which was made clear in the lyrics of the song; calling on all to put aside their problems and come have fun as Friction inquired in the song: ‘gentleman, where are you looking so hopeless like a corpse? Wear your shoes and let’s party’. The song also broached the subject of eschewing all forms of jealousy and envy whilst calling for unity.

An interesting bit of the song was contained in the bridge delivered by Friction, where he intoned ‘stop thinking, both old and young folks/ cos everybody has their time (to be successful)/ some may have their turn in the morning whiles others might see their success in the afternoon/ that’s why we (VIP) say, forget everything, step up and let’s party.

Listening to the song again these few days, I realized how timeless the song is and how important the advice resonate with current times-where the stress of life is constantly taking a toll on mankind for the worse making one forget what it means to step away from the pressures and catch a bit of fun means.

Muyi Wassa also showed how VIP, despite creating a song driven by many factors including banging beats and the theme of happiness, found a way to assure people that, their good days will surely come; that, their ‘current’ (hard) circumstances are transient.

 

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