Mboko god…!! The statement that has sparked so much outrage and yet, so much support an acclamation. Forgive me Jovi fans but I will use a small ‘g’ as I reserve the capital ‘G’ for the God of Mboko god. That being said, I agree Jovi is a god he is THE Mboko god. The question then is why? What makes him a god? Can everybody just declare themselves god..?
To start off, what is a god..? Who is a god..?
- Gen 1:1 in the beginning God created… “Created”. First thing, a god is a creator. Hold on!!! I mean a god should have the ability to create. It is no doubt that Jovi is the creator of the Mboko sound. Don’t get me wrong, before Jovi came to the picture there was rap; French rap, Hip-Hop and all that but there was no Mboko. I don’t know why you are frowning as if I am telling lies or something.lol! But there was no Mboko until after Jovi dropped his 2012 hit single “Don4 Kwat” (watch video below) and his album HIV. He else could rep in Pidgin in that manner. Who else could speak the language of the ghetto in that manner? Pidgin English became a popular thing in Cameroon. I was personally so angry that I was denied pidgin while in school; tell me, how could I not be flowing those Rhymes like everyone else (ok that was an aside)
At this stage, he wasn’t Mboko god just yet, he was “Don 4Kwat”. It wasn’t until 2015 that Jovi was first hailed “god for this Mboko” in the first track of this EP Kankwe Vol2, NCNP. Where did the god come from? do you know?I don’t too.
After One album and two very influential EPs, Jovi was then confirmed and solidified Mboko god with the release of the MBOKO GOD album. The way he fused Pidgin English, French, and English, while blending original beats and sampling traditional African instruments and rhythms was Unique. This Mboko sound has broken linguistic and cultural barriers giving him huge following in French and English Cameroon, Africa and worldwide. This same album gave him international nominations. The KORA awards, MAMA awards and AFRIMMA. Is that enough to make Jovi god? Well he said himself “All I do is Epic-ish”
2. Also, a god is a higher power, something beyond the ordinary; something that gives us hope and a reason to believe. It might come as a shock to some of you when I say Jovi is a higher power, well I have a shock absorber ok? He is a higher power. It has been barely four years since Jovi left Mumak to start Newbell Muzic. Four years later, NewBell Music is easily the biggest record label in Cameroon, not to talk of all the influence the Mboko god has made in Cameroon and abroad. I am sure you took note of me using the word easily. Phrases like “Et P8 Koi” (watch the video below) are heard almost everywhere around Cameroon, Jovis music has been featured on BBC, Jeaune Afrique, Okayafrica.com, Miabaga.com, Jewanda magazine, notjustokay.com and other national and international media outlets.
His punch lines become Kwata talk and are even used by other rappers in their songs. The Big Vultures videos are frequent on big media stations and he is a well-known and respected name in Cameroon music industry, winning multiple awards. His influence is beyond Cameroonian boundaries with him being nominated for best francophone in the MAMA Awards, Best album for “MBOKO God” for the Kora awards and much more. More so, the “Jungle Book” rapper’s voice is being heard worldwide as he was interviewed by the Fader and vibe magazine, and was also listed amongst “The 15 Artists to Follow for 2015” and named amongst the “10 African Rappers You Should Absolutely Know.” by Trace TV. He has also written and produced for many other artists across the country and internationally, such as Akon, who released his video “Shine the Light” in January 2016.
I remember how people were ranting sometime back that Jovi is to Cameroon as Kanye West is to the American Music Industry. I was like no!! then I paused for a second and was like maybe but Kanye can’t rap and inch of what Jovi can but I guess Jovi can do some Kanye West. I know you are thinking am a fanatic now. No am not. Let me proof it to you, can Kanye do the pidgin twist on the beat same way Jovi does? in fact can he do the Mboko thing? haha ( all of this was an aside)Let us continue the real story.
3. In Jovis interview with the Fadar he said “One of the reasons I started the label was to regain the artistic pride that Cameroon has lost over the years”. Another attribute of a god is that a god is a savior. Brings hope to a hopeless situation. Cameroon was known worldwide for its makossa which defined Cameroon culture and music to other countries. As time went on, makossa lost its influence and new generation of Cameroonian and African music was being totally encapsulated by Naija. Everybody trying to sing like Nigerians (No offence towards Nigerians) and trying to rap like Americans and shoot “Munshong” videos. In all this chaos of lost identity, mboko god saved Cameroon music by being real. Mboko saved Kamer music from being lost in the crowd and gave it an identity. Mboko god’s words, “That’s part of the reason why I don’t often collaborate. I don’t want someone to take something that’s mine and own it. I want people to give due credit like, okay, this is something from Cameroon. Let’s see what happens when it mixes-up with this,’ as opposed to ‘this is the Nigerian and this is the guy from some other African country singing with him.’ That’s how it feels.” Let he who has an ear Hear.
4. Jovi has not only created music, he has created people. Yes he has created people in his own image. Does that sound like anything a god will do? Before the Mboko god happened, Reniss was a soul artist with a music of her own. She did contemporary music, precisely gospel music that did not have so much impact to the music market. Then the god created a new Reniss and Dans La Sauce (this is basically the most used slang in Cameroon as of now having President Paul Biya ranting to it) happened. Pascal is the existence of his image too. Listen to Jovi and Pascal in Check Sense as you cure your curiosity.
The production of Kiloh who is a producer at NewBell Music is of like manner to that of Jovi . How can one man be so consistent? only a god can.
That being said, I will want you to remember one last thing about god. Not everybody will believe in the existence of god but that does not in any way change the reality that there is god. I guess we will just have to wait till the day when Mboko god is revealed in full glory. As for me I believe. Do you…?
You are lucky to be here.Have a feel of Jovi’s hit single Ou Meme below and stay Tuned to Karawa Diary as we bring you a review of Jovi’s latest Album 16wives next.