Runtown, Like Kanye West, Has The God-ComplexAugust 12, 2018
Runtown prefers to be called ‘Sound God’, but he is only a proven music genius and not a god. Calling yourself a god isn’t something one does because he likes how it sounds. The ‘god’ title is reserved for people who have proven to have God-like features, particularly the power to create not just ordinary things. Artists like Kanye have had to justify their existence as deities through the impact of their art.
Kanye West started proclaiming himself as a superhuman since ‘Graduation’, when he rapped about his subject bowing in his presence. He named himself “god over everything (else)” on the GOOD Music compilation album of 2012: ‘Cruel Summer.’but he began to manifest as an almighty an album later, on ‘Yeezus’, where he seemingly invited the supreme being to come down from high heaven to make an input on a song which was assertively titled ‘I Am A God.’
Before that, art in music had been expressed using different angles but that expression by Kanye was new and although he settled for being a close-high to God, his brilliant creative expression convinced a lot of people to be less opposing and more attentive to his ideas, at least on the conversation of his god-status. Famous actor, Will Smith spoke about the creative greatness of Kanye West, saying “Kanye West’s ability to create music that elevates other people makes him great” and the world (at least a significant mass) agreed that Kanye West is a special one.
Runtown, in his case, has only shown consistently how much of a brilliant song composer that he is. Since his earliest hit he has impressed with his mastery of music. He creates music characterised by sweet melodies; from ‘Gallardo’, to ‘Baby Answer’, to ‘Banger’ and ‘Lagos To Kampala.’ Runtown comes forth, usually, with a balance of good sound and purposeful song lines. As a singer his worth is proven but as a god he still has to earn reverence with a creation that surpasses the skill of ‘mortals’, like he almost did with Afro Dance Music (ADM), otherwise referred to as ‘pon pon’ sound.
PON PON SOUND
Until the pon pon sound became a trend on the continent around the start of 2017, Runtown maintained a good profile as a pop star but upon the release of ‘Mad Over You’ his profile soared, shooting him to the seat of dominance in the Afro-pop music community. The sound template of the hit song is the ‘pon pon’ sound, which is said to be characterised by soft synths that comes mostly in pairs and accompanied by Ghanaian hip-life influences. The sound became a wand in the hand for Runtown who used it artfully in creating music magic beyond the creative width of other artists. Asides Davido, Runtown made the most of sound, almost owning it and turning it into his genre. He caused the rave to spread across the continent through hit inter-national collaborations like ‘Pain Killer’ and ‘Said.’ Unfortunately that was about all the ‘pon pon’ could achieve – a sound that got the entire continent hero-worshipping Runtown long enough for the invention of a new trendy sound – ‘Shaku Shaku.’
It is mostly true that one trend takes over from another trend, particularly in the music industry, but perhaps the reign of the ‘pon pon’ sound might have stretched longer if its ‘god’ did not take a break from the music scene, a decision that is suspected to have come as a result of his battle with his ex-label, which caused a court injunction against the release of contents for him. The reign of the ‘pon pon’ sound began to near an end when good samples of the sound in public scape became few, while fine materials remained locked up in Runtown’s shelf because of the court embargo. With the fervour of ‘pon pon’ waning, it was easier for a new sound to take over.
Runtown later released ‘Energy’ at the tail end of the ‘pon pon’ year but it was met with cold reception perhaps because the town had a new sheriff and it wasn’t Runtown. Although the song grew in acceptance, it still felt short of its potential – the ‘Mad Over You’ status. It is almost certain that ‘Energy’ would have been another instant hit if it was put out in the ‘pon pon’ season but it wasn’t. Runtown however appears to have returned to his booth of creation, hoping to discover the next big sound and finally claim the title of “sound god.” He is cutting off ‘distractions’ of label drama by announcing a new label, a ‘devoted’ team as well as taking more creative freedom to help him achieve his goal. He put out his first material titled “Unleash” in June, 2018 and the result of his experiment with electronic music likened to that of French music duo, Daft Punk, can be heard. The sound is new around here but it sounds good and refreshing. Perhaps with a couple of follow-up songs the sound would stick and Runtown can then quench his burning desire to create a sound that would stamp his authority as the “sound god.”
Written By: Ibironke Toluwanimi Emmanuel