Death of a genre

11 October 2019 | Columns

I am so disappointed and irked by the way R&B is being let down in Namibia. At the moment I have no favourite Namibian R&B song or album. The work rate by many of our R&B singers is disappointing and when they do put out new songs or albums they do not adequately invest money and time to promote these songs.

I am frustrated and I believe I am speaking on behalf of other die-hard fans of this genre who are suffering at the hands of the current state of Namibian R&B.

Artists like Bertholdt Mbinda and Desmond, when they first jumped onto the scene, gave us good music, but after their era this genre to a certain extent stopped being exciting. I am no hater whatsoever; I support talent when I feel it is worth the support. Let's revive the real R&B. Let's all stand up and talk to every so-called R&B singer right now and let them know what they are doing by not putting out enough good music is a step towards the extinction of the genre and they need to start saving R&B. Namibian singers you need to up your game.

On the other hand, I can't say that R&B is completely dead but I can say that most of the songs which are now advertised as R&B music are not entirely R&B.

In other words, the authentic R&B music which used to be popular during the Bertholdt Mbinda and Desmond era is no more popular, but still there are musicians like Y'Cliff, Michael Pulse and a few others who are still making R&B music. I think the last good R&B-style music that I enjoyed for a while was Dixon's Show Me Your Heart album. Certain songs on that body of work reminded me of the old R&B songs (90s and early 2000s).

I also think that what has contributed to this genre not being popular anymore is because it has been taken in and adopted by the hip-hop and Afro-beat phenomenon. I have to admit I love that fusion but only when it is done right. Sometimes hip-hop can feel too hardcore and so successfully fused with a bit of sleek R&B always produces soothing sounds.

Enough of R&B. This is my 30th tjil edition and sadly Yanna Smith's last tjil edition. I remember my first time working with Yanna, I was still writing for the Zone. My copy had so many errors and she threw questions at me so fast and furious that I swear it felt like the gates of hell had opened and thought I wouldn't survive being a journalist. I knew I was in the fury pits of fire and had to earn her respect – a theme which has followed my career at Namibian Sun.

I will remember her for the love, loyalty, compassion and commitment that she has put into polishing my writings and churning out issue after issue to keep the entertainment arm of Namibian Sun as strong as a Harry Simon punch. All the best in your new endeavours Yanna and thanks for the knowledge you have imparted on me.

[email protected]; @MichaelMKAY on Twitter

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