Release of The Worst Thing might not be such a bad thing FeaturedWritten by Ryan Swano
Fresh off their European tour, Afro-Punk Hip Hop group Dookoom fronted by Cape Town Hip Hop stalwart Isaac Mutant, this time featuring internationally acclaimed Mississippi Hip Hop artist David Banner, have released another onslaught of pure anger that will probably be (mis?)labelled once again as a racist attack on all whites, but is it?
Opening up another hornets nest, piercing a festering wound, which if you care to listen, they seem to hope you will come to the conclusion that the wounds are real and need to be opened before it can be treated.
Following the huge amount of controversy which saw them recently threatened with legal action by a white Afrikaans civil rights group for raising issues of inequality, land ownership and structural violence in the wine growing regions of South Africa with their track ‘Larney Jou P#@s!’, Dookoom have joined forces with Dirty South hip hop legend David Banner for the release of their new single, ‘The Worst Thing’.
It is no coincidence that ‘The Worst Thing’ was set to be released in the middle of Black August, a hugely significant month in the history of the struggle against white supremacy, colonialism and imperialism.
The IOT Records webpage for the song runs a slide show of photographs, artworks and other depictions of incidents of oppression that happened during the month of August from as far back as the 17th century to the present day.
The song, which in Isaac Mutant and Dookoom's trademark style is peppered with expletives is straight up venting and an expression of rage and anger. This is not for the feint of heart or for sensitive ears but lets try and see what Isaac Mutant and David Banner are really trying to get across.
One possible interpretation is that they are angry, very angry, that there is not enough anger from black people all around the world towards the custodians of a sociopolitical and economic system geared to perpetuating the the benefits accrued to whiteness through centuries of slavery and oppression.
Non-White South Africans themselves are becoming more and more disillusioned that the 'peaceful transition' from Apartheid which the world praises our country for has never allowed them to express their personal pain and anger that has accumulated over generations of oppression and that 'freedom' has brought them none of the benefits accrued to whiteness over many generations of privilege.
According to the IOT Records webpage, "DOOKOOM and David Banner, from South Africa and Mississippi respectively, two places that are separated by many thousands of miles, but united by a shared history of black oppression at the hands of white supremacists, have come together to vent their anger, over a hard turn up beat, and remind their black brothers and sisters to embrace the principles of unity, historical and political education, and resistance."
They go on to say that "The song also demands that white brothers and sisters hear black anger, confront their own history and contemplate the effects of colonialism and white supremacy across the globe, in order to be part of the solution, not the problem."
The hard hitting beat and and the attack mode structure of the song certainly is captivating. With Mutants almost hooligan style of lyrical onslaught and Banner's anthem like hook (and of course Banner's verse as well) coupled with chants that is reminiscent of the toyi toyi, everything seems to come together like the theme song of a modern day civil rights revolution movie.
Personally I do have a few reservations about the song, but those reservations of mine do not detract from the fact that it is a well executed banger.
Though one has to accept that Dookoom uses their artistic license to the fullest, and is a group that specialises in the shock factor, the superfluous use of F-bombs, instead of simply enhancing the imagery of anger, distracts from what could be an even stronger message to those who do not quite understand the reason for the rage and anger. Those easily annoyed or offended by too much cursing will probably not listen long enough to find any meaning in the lyrics.
The other reservation I have is that though according to the IOT Records website they claim to seek that our "white brothers and sisters hear black anger", it may for many whites who may have possibly tried to understand the anger, come across as pure hatred towards all whites, instead of anger towards the perpetuation of a system of white supremacy.
Whether the song makes ordinary South Africans, including whites, sit up, take note and also become angry against the systemic oppression of black people across the world and in SA, still remains to be seen.
What we can however say with a fair amount of certainty is that after already taking a few European cities by storm while on tour, this hard hitting track will most certainly draw much more international attention to Isaac Mutant & Dookoom.
The song is available for a limited number as a legal free download on the IOT Records website and the download pack includes a PDF transcript of the lyrics.
Visit the IOT Records website or listen to the track below.
BEWARE - EXPLICIT LYRICS
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