The Shuffle: Revisiting Trybesmen’s “Plenty Nonsense” as a reflection of the African youth’s everyday angst

featuring the original formation: Eldee, Freestyle and K.B

Nearly 18 years ago, Trybesmen, dropped their debut album L.A.G style, following the success of classic club hit, “Shake Bodi”. The album also housed “Plenty Nonsense”, a heavy-bass set rap song, featuring verses from the group’s earliest members, Freestyle, K.B and Eldee.

“Plenty Nonsense”, is the Trybesmen’s take on some of the frustrations of being young in an African society. Though the Trybesmen speak in broader terms of the hard knock life as a whole, the social commentary embedded in the track captures uniquely African experiences. Following a chorus simply decrying how there are many everyday realities that shouldn’t be a norm, Freestyle, starts off with a story about a typically Nigerian Police checkpoint stop by officers looking for any reason to harass and assault young people seen driving flashy cars. K.B takes the next verse, to church, only to subtly play out a narrative of how blind faith in religion is used to keep the poor, impoverished. Eldee’s for his part, reflects on how the intense competition for public universities left a lot of young people stuck in the JAMB/WAEC limbo between high school and college in the 90s, while also managing to infuse a correlation between marital abuse and poverty.

On “Plenty Nonsense”, all three Trybesmen deliver verses that carry some of the familiar post-teen angst of a society where random hardships are normalised because of the surrounding situation.

Freestyle’s crime was being a young person driving in a car he probably didn’t look like he could afford, his experience recalls some the familiar instances of police harassment often cited on social media till date. K.B does the more daunting task of challenging the popular belief that blind faith in God is a requirement for prosperity. He exemplifies how the few rich of the church who are testimonies to such tenets of spirituality, encourage and entrap poor members in this flawed mindset by exploiting their situation.

Agreed, unlike Eldee’s poignant final verse, the increase in number of private universities has reduced some of that needle’s eye difficulty of getting a higher education, but not much has changed today either in terms of ease of admission process. And though, abuse against women is being discussed more publicly today, there is still a long way to go in terms changing beliefs and attitudes, which especially difficult in a continent where a lot of people are still poor and uneducated.

“Plenty Nonsense” recalls some of the frustrations that are present in the life of anyone under 40 in Africa, in a sense, this also reflects the general chaos of life itself. How else do you explain, a Zimbabwean coup being the only way out of thirty-seven years of an unpopular Robert Mugabe regime? In 2017 for that matter. Or how does one explain veteran actor Sadiq Daba who should be a national treasure, beckoning to the public via social media for funds to treat a series of terminal ailments? In fact, how does anyone explain to an alien that has never been to earth, how Donald Trump is president of the free world? It’s really all a just a world of “plenty, plenty nonsense”

Stream “Plenty Nonsense” via Apple Music below.

Toye is the Team lead at Native Nigeria. Tweet at him @ToyeSokunbi

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