Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Anal-ytical Appreciation: Karl Wolf "Africa"

In case you didn't know, I currently reside in Canada. I'm happy to be living in such an awesome country. It let my immigrant ass in after all. So I don't lose my shit over the fact that this song is #2 on the charts over here. It's a small price to pay.

But let's talk about the price tag on this one, shall we?

This song is called Africa. My very first reaction when I heard about this song was: "Oh yet another African singer making an ode to their homeland. Yawnsville." But then the video popped up on MuchMusic and I noticed that the singer Karl Wolf was actually some tanned white dude (He is actually Lebanese, for the record). I was about to burst into a glorious WTF but my conscience kicked in with a 'Dude chillax.' Other people have sung about and/or appropriated the glories of Africa. Plus, its not like you have to be African to be appreciative of African culture. So I decided to continue watching.

But then it got kinda weird coz the song kept going and I never got where the "Africa" title fit in. I mean aside, from the fact that the chorus has a line that goes "I bless the rains down in Africa" (Seriously?), lyrically its pretty much a standard love song.

Even weirder, this dude decided to NOT include a single black chick in the video. Not even a light skinned token! Closest thing to someone black in this video is his budget line, Fat Joe-during-lent lookalike of a weed carrier, Culture (Btw peep his dance moves, they will brighten your darkest days). Weirdness continues: Culture's dancehall raps are on the song, and he's on screen a whole lot but for some reason, they never show him spitting the lines until the last minute. As if making a love song titled 'Africa' but making no mention of the continent or its people wasn't weird enough. In a strange way, it seemed like a pretty ballsy move (pause?) that I had a bit of respect for. Nonetheless, my restrained WTF had already begun loosening its shackles.

So I decided to take a breather. I'm not the brightest crayon in the box. Maybe I was missing something, maybe I wasn't reading between the lines. I think to myself - Maybe he didn't want to make a big, pompous statement about Africa. Maybe I should take in to account the fact that he subtly celebrates Africa by shooting the video in Africa. Until I realized that
the video was shot on Muscat, Oman. LOLercoaster goes off the rail. Muscat? Muscat ain't gully, fool! Man, I have family in Muscat. I was actually there once to visit them in Grade 3. It's a nice little city. When I was there, I actually went to a farm, drank fresh goat milk and took a dump around a date palm. Karl is probably two-stepping in my fermented poo. Just thought you'd like to know.

So yeah, basically this 'Africa' song has nothing whatsoever to do with Africa. Impressive.

P.S I am aware that this is a remake of Toto's
Africa, but my wtf will not budge.
P.P.S Here is a tremendous line off of
Karl's wiki "Word of his talent spread quickly, with such stars as Christina Millian, Glenn Lewis, and Mya requesting that Karl send them material. However, at the time, he was busy at work on his first solo album, Face Behind the Face" LOLmeter on a hundred. thousand. trillion.


Daniel said...

WTF is right. LOL at the album title "Face Behind the Face"--that's fucking unreal. There's no way this song would be a hit without the Toto hook. But why not steal a hook from a song that would make some kind of sense in the context of the song? I mean, the original song at least mentions the Serengeti.

Jay Deff Kay said...

Dude. I'm so tempted to get "Face Behind the Face" tatted on my face. That's just too classic. The whole process of the title's existence fascinates me. He actually thought of it, then actually had the guts to present it, then somebody approved it...just WOW

Well, Toto's Africa isn't ridiculous and I do agree that at the very least we can make a decent case for interpreting it as Africa-related, however vague it may be.

But I don't see how this makes sense when swiped out of its context. It's like ...say...if I made a gospel song using T-Pain's "I'm in love with a stripper" as a hook. Well, you could argue that Jesus in his dying moments, stripped of his dignity and most of his clothes, was "a stripper" but ..eh you'd be reaching