Jovi, proud B.A.S.T.A.R.D from Cameroon

Bastard: informal, an unpleasant or despicable person”. According to the Oxford English dictionary, a Bastard is a contemptible person. Anyone should be ashamed to be called a Bastard. Yet, Jovi, 34 years old Cameroon rapper sings his pride of being a “B.A.S.T.A.R.D” in his 2014 single featuring singer Reniss. In fact, Bastard in Pidgin (dialect of the song) means “cool”, “great” or even “fantastic”. It is in this Cameroonian English-based creole (also known as Kamtok, from “Cameroon-talk”) that the rapper expresses his resistance facing harsh living conditions, as a young urban man, echoing numerous African “Bastards”.

Ndukong Godlove Nfor, known as Jovi or Le Monstre (producer name), is a Cameroonian hip-hop artist, rapper, songwriter and producer. He was born in Douala in 1983. Jovi started his national career in 2012 with his famous single “Don 4 Kwat”, followed by “Pitié”, a controversial and yet original single where he sampled traditional African rumba singer Tabu Ley Rochereau. Jovi’s particularity remains in his ability to rap in Cameroon official languages French and English but also in Cameroon slang such as Pidgin-English and Francamglais. His music blends hip hop and local Cameroonian music such as Bikutsi or Bend-skin. In fact, the mix of three languages is an asset for the artist to promote his culture and to translate the struggles and misfortunes of the population of his country.

“B.A.S.T.A.R.D” depicts the daily challenges of Cameroon youth such as unemployment:

Inside don kwata self licenciers dey don turn be na mboko

{The hood is so tough that even “licencier, (slang for bachelors degree) are struggling}.

Jovi. Lyrics to “B.A.S.T.A.R.D3. Genius, https://genius.com/Jovi-le-monstre-bastard-lyrics

With singer Reniss, the video features young urban Cameroonians. It creates a realistic representation. Beat and rhythm give feeling of frustration while the chorus evokes local music such as the sound of the xylophone or more precisely of the Cameroon balafon instrument.

Thus, with “B.A.S.T.A.R.D” Jovi reaffirms his position as a rapper who is able to combine both local culture and hip hop culture especially through the use of language and sounds.

Link to the music video Jovi B.A.S.T.A.R.D ft. Reniss, New Bell Music Channel, January 16 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8c3ifLePcQ

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