‘Listen to the sound. There is a revolution happening.
A Switch from just regular instruments to drum pads and apps to replicate their sounds.
And now look at Pop, Trap and EDM.’
‘Music is all about transporting people, speaking a language which languages fail to express.’ – A.R. Raman
It’s obvious in this world that a lot of filters and divides exist separating the masses and the people into their various sects; race, culture, religion, language and the lot. Throughout history we see so many occurrences happening that have torn the world apart and thrown lives into chaos. And though people may speak up that Faith has been a gift to mankind through hard times, we cannot neglect the emphasizing power that we are all believers in, the power that is Art. Art has spread beyond borders in ways that even beats the logic of science; from the artworks that have been patronized by multitudes to the dances that have formed an integral part of a nation’s cultures, there is a story to tell. But we can now all attest to one great fact; holding a candle to the power of music is arguable, probably because of how much it has broken through all possible borders to hold our hands in unity, enjoying the synchrony we find in the beats, the melodies, the symphony, and the rhythm.
The truth is there are iconic sounds and genres of music that came to be specifically because of the ingenuity and the creativity that was applied by the artists. Artists; let’s take a minute to appreciate artists, their process and the goodness of soul-feeding art they keep giving to us in and out of season. Has it ever occurred to you how powerful and magical music must be for you to be able to connect with it on the level that you do? Emotionally, lyrically heck even spiritually! That’s how much power it carries. If you were born in the 2000s then you have to hit YouTube and listen to people like Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Fela Kuti, Beethoven, Mozart, Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Rolling Stones, Tupac Shakur & Biggie, Robert Johnson and Madonna. Trust me the list goes on and on about the legends who graced the face of the earth with their creativity and artistry in the language of music. However, ‘we live in an age where everything is staged and all we do is fake our feelings.’ That’s a line from Jonathan David Bellion’s Woke the ‘F’ up. The power of music hasn’t changed so much throughout the ages but its form and diversity have metamorphosed into so many things.
The age we’re in thrives on the triplets that married trap music and has made waves in Hip Hop, people all around connect with the Pop music style that artists like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Jon Bellion, One Direction, Twenty One Pilots, Meghan Trainor and the like are employing concerning their lyrics and the style that they have adopted to make their music work and capture listeners.
It’s almost impossible to recreate the modern musical atmosphere without the distinctive and unique sounds of the Roland TR-808 drum machine. When the Japanese electronics company Roland started releasing the 808 in the Eighties, the device quickly became indispensable within the genres of hip-hop and dance music, while also adding a new texture to the world of R&B.
Today, the sound of the 808 is everywhere. You cannot make a record without having that 808 sound, because we as a people have become so used to it that it’s one of the first things we point out when we are listening to a record unless we are familiar with the kind of artist and the type of music he does which may exclude the use of the 808 drums. Every so often, a sound becomes inescapable. The amazing sounds that have intertwined themselves within the core of our music have ranged from —the endless James Brown samples of Golden Age hip-hop; the Pixies-inspired, Nirvana-popularized “quiet verse, the loud chorus” dynamic of the 1990s; the Neptunes-led minimalistic funk of the 2000s. Each had its moment as a foundational trend in pop music. Take a listen now to what’s hot on a billboard or what banging on radios and you’ll realize that another trend is in full effect, From hip-hop to pop to EDM and beyond, the sound of trap music is everywhere. Heard of the artist who is arguably one of the most commercially successful artists of our millennium; Toronto born Drake? Heard of the 3 friends who go by Migos? But what, if you had to explain it, is the sound of trap? What signifies “current” to someone listening to music today? The simplest answer? It’s the hi-hat. The way trap music uses hi-hats is unique. The sound is a busy, short burst. The hats are programmed in complicated patterns, at rapid-fire speed—faster than any human could ever play it—usually contrasting with relatively simple and pared-down drum patterns on the kick and snare drum. Once you recognize it, you’ll hear it everywhere.
The truth is all of this has helped in the production of music and how much it speaks to us. Take a look at our part of the world, and you’d realize we are having a bit of a revolution ourselves with our music. Back then when High life was the vibe our parents and grandparents enjoyed, now rap in Ghana has a different definition mainly because of the infiltration of culture and the openness of the tech to produce stuff that people in other parts of the world are using. So the new generation of musicians seem to be breaking all the laws and doing their own thing; the beautiful thing about music is that the generation is enjoying it. They are learning, testing what they already know with ideas that they want to try out and they are making interesting music. Of course to talk about the industry and how it treats music is a different conversation because humans and systems albeit supposed to complement each other end up destroying the whole thing. The divide between actual good and unique music and what is commercial enough and would be patronized by the mass public is an issue not just here but everywhere. People have all sorts of reasons to give and points to raise when it comes to these things. The positive thing we can take away is the fact that these new kids are consistent, working and producing good work out there and no matter how disjointed or not seemingly traditional they may sound, their attempt is something we should applaud.
All in all, music isn’t going to stop being the powerful tool it has been since the beginning of time because of the changes that have occurred in the making of it. I think that at this point it has undergone its transformation to suit the generation and the millennials in this generation mainly because of the issues that are on the ascendency like suicide and depression, racism and sexism. Although he’s not the most popular when it comes to the things he stood for and the kind of declarations he made in his day, Friedrich Nietzsche made no mistake when he said ‘Without music, life would be a mistake.’