One thing with Western Music is that it spins fast in evolution. By the time Disco fizzled out, we had not had enough of it. It lasted from the early eighties to the mid-eighties that coincided with the hatching of Hip-hop music.
I have always thought that a style of music should become extinct only when there isn’t interest in it anymore: it doesn’t make sense to end the raving of a genre when people are still in love with it, buying every single copy of the music genre in the market. That was the case with Roots and Culture brand of Jamaican music. As root reggae was getting abandoned, late South African reggae legend, Lucky Dube, said he carried out a research and discovered people loved the genre. That emboldened him to embrace it as the genre of the music to play. Today, we are all aware of how successful Lucky Dube became before his death in 2007. He traveled to every nook and cranny of the world since the love of his music was globally omnipresent and rose to become Best Selling African Recording Artist in 1996.
Today, the genres of Disco and Roots Reggae are still been played on radios around the world and still being and downloaded online. These are proofs that something else was responsible for the sudden “death” of these genres.
The worst that can happen, however, is for the music to evolve to something that is less attractive. I think that this is the situation in which we find ourselves today. What is called Hip-hop, which is considered the raving genre, has become indistinct, lacking in gusto, and without much artistry, unlike what it was from the mid-eighties to about the mid 2000s.
Since American music influences popular music around the world, one could see the chaos around the world. Here in West Africa a new genre, a close descendant of Hip-hop in the genealogy, has emerged. It is known as Azonto Music. It is a genre of music that I can describe as more of noisy and “toy-sounding” music, characterized by lack of meaningful messages and emphasizing on rhythm. It is hardly a style of music that can intellectually inspire.
I have thought that perhaps the notion in my mind that the influence of America music was diminishing was merely my imagination. Sometime in the middle of this year, I was writing an article to underscore the need for government to support the music industry in order to create jobs. I was looking for statistics to back my claim that the music industry can generate a lot of jobs and foreign revenue. That was when I discovered that revenues from American music exports have actually been plunging down since 2011. It became my proof that the music isn’t able to influence people around the world as it was in the past.
My word is that a music genre should only be buried when it is truly death.