I Kwoth, the omnipresent God doth report to Olorun his findings on Mavado. And after close examination of the mortal and his work I Kwoth doth believe that Mavado takes his gangster persona a bit too far.
To be fair, toasting over a rhythm about firing an M16 rifle is one thing and singing about his suffering and travails on the gully side is another. But his song House Cleaning is nothing short of nonsensical, ridiculous, misogynistic and chauvinist to put it mildly.
In House Cleaning, Mavado extols the virtues of being a bad man who does no house cleaning. In fact, the lines go:
“Yuh mus be dreaming
How gal have badman a do house cleaning
How gal fi have man a clean from floor to ceiling?”
After reading and listening to the lines of this song I am wondering if Mavado’s woman is ill who will clean his house. Or if she is tired who will clean it? I am also wondering doesn’t he help his woman in household chores?
You see I am all for art reflecting society and your social origins. In fact, music, whether we want to accept it or not, is an effective medium of communication. And, maybe Mavado is just communicating his beliefs. But, some things ought to be left in the mind. And House Cleaning is a good example of a song that should not have taken up valuable resources such as electricity, money and internet broadband to be distributed on YouTube, Facebook or any other form of media, but be left in the mind.
Mavado has talent and only a fool will say otherwise. But unfortunately some of the most talented people sometimes settle for mediocrity and in Mavado’s case, House Cleaning is as mediocre as songs get.
You see Mavado’s bar is higher than Vybz kartel, Bounty Killer or Beenie Man because he has the potential of all four to go furthest. In fact, Bounty Killer was on the brink but didn’t crossover for a variety of reasons although he could have. Beenie Man has had limited success in that area despite all his posturing and Vybz kartel seems content in being ‘big a yard’. But Mavado is different. He has melody- something that had been missing from dancehall for a while and in all fairness the gangster image has worked for him. And, from the mere fact that he has had minimal crossover success, it is an indication that with better lyrics he will get there.
But, House Cleaning unfortunately is not the song that is going to take him to international stardom and I will sacrifice my god status for a year if it ever goes above 50 on the Billboard Hot 100. You see, the song may suit Jamaican men who are wannabe macho men but in the global context it is bound to offend many by assuming that a man who helps his woman with her chores is less than a man.
Although his sympathizers may argue that he is speaking of a man who is weak willed and hence his woman has decided to bully him, the fact is it doesn’t come across that way. And also, for one who has done songs such as Overcome, I’m on the Rock, and a slew of other good songs, House Cleaning is as backward as they come.
But, then dancehall is not always about quality but what is popular or what will appeal to a few of the artiste’s friends and followers. In this case Mavado has certainly struck a positive note with friends and followers.