Entre 2 album review: Chasing Ghosts

Track 8: Raison d’Etre (“Reason to Be”)/Chasing Ghosts ft. Jason Ntaro & Body of Brian 

As we progress further through 1Key’s eclectic album, the tone shifts once again. 1Key’s eighth track – Raison d’Etre/Chasing Ghosts – was inspired by the soulful, folky quality of Ben Harper’s single Please me like you want to (2011). The music opens with the comforting sounds of an acoustic guitar and the passionate voice of Body of Brian, who sings his verse in English.

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Kigali, Rwanda. 2016. 1Key performing on the #expericment. [Courtesy of Innovation Village]

As the artists on the track contemplate their “reasons to be”, the album’s entre deux (“between two”) theme reappears. Once again, 1Key articulates his frustrations with the entrapments of a capitalist society. In order to emphasise the omnipresence of money, the wordsmith inserts multiple variations of the word “money” throughout his verse: L’argent, thunes, money, maille, blé, pognon, fric, beurre (“butter”), and pain (“bread”). In French, the rapper asks the question:

“In a consumerist society even the dream is for sale

What’s the right choice between passion and employment?” (Translated from French to English)

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Kigali, Rwanda. 2016. 1Key performing on the #expericment. [Courtesy of Innovation Village]

The track – which is about selling your soul to make money – is reflective of 1Key’s unease with his position as both an artist, concerned with “speaking truths”, and as the Creative Head for an advertising agency, where he is paid to sell ideas – whether he believes in them or not. 1Key tells us “…I sold grams of my soul/When I put my pen at the service of capitalism/For little money, I lost balance.” (Translated from French to English)

1Key was excited to collaborate with his favourite Ugandan poet for this track. Jason Ntaro shares 1Key’s concerns with the ever-demanding nature of capitalism. In verse 3 he tells us:

“Now I’m convinced that I’m working hard

But hard enough is not even hard enough

And so I sit, watch my shrivelled shadows and laugh

And fall willingly into this crack…”

Like 1Key, Jason Ntaro feels burdened by the repetitive emptiness of a life chasing money, rather than a life enriched by authenticity and meaning.

In May 2016, 1Key quit his job in advertising to pursue a full time career as an artist. As a fierce promoter of Kigali’s live music scene – which is severely under-funded – 1Key has been organising a series of live shows: the #expericment. The first show saw the evolution of the storyteller. As one fan tweeted: “[1Key] Came in like a slave and left like a rock star…” Indeed, it is beautiful watching 1Key evolve as an artist, among his family and his friends – and with a fast-growing audience beyond that. The second show was simpler: a band, a stool and a storyteller, with 1Key using this self-made-platform to invite other storytellers (singers, spoken word poets and comedians) to the stage. 1Key oozes stage presence and his third show in the series – which he called “Sexpericment” – playfully explored gender themes and sexuality.

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Courtesy of Eric 1Key

In order to meet the financial demands of a live show, 1Key regularly appeals to his fans on social media sites, encouraging them to buy his album, and to purchase show tickets using mobile money. In January 2016, 1Key released The Free Song, with Don Nova, J Dub, Sickspits, Natacha, Arafat, and Khalil. (Prod. Jay P) 1Key’s opening line is unambiguous:

“I’m an artist, art is what I practice/If it’s free how do I eat? How do I survive?”

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Courtesy of the internet 

1Key’s perseverance in appealing for investors, and also for more creative spaces – there is still no national theatre in Rwanda – is relentless. In a recent blog post, he wrote:

“Special thanks to everyone who went out of their way to buy tickets with mobile money for the first time. Someone had said, “Rwandans don’t believe in pre-sales unless you are Stromae and they all don’t have Mobile money.” True! One fact though: About 60 Rwandans and non-Rwandans bought their tickets with Mobile Money (mostly pre-ordered) then skipped the Champions League final to attend the #expericment.”

Once again, 1Key proves himself a pioneer!

Entre 2 is available on Soundcloud – Entre2 and for sale on digital stores iTunesSpotify, and Amazon. 

Eric 1key is very active on social media where you can find him discussing and debating all kinds of things. For updates and live info, follow Eric1key on Twitter: @eric1key, Facebook: Facebook/eric1key, Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/eric1key or email for bookings at ericonekey@gmail.com

https://soundcloud.com/eric1key/raisondetre-chasingghosts-feat-jason-ntaro-brian-corpus

 

_______

Song lyrics and translations

Raison d’Etre (“Reason to Be”)/Chasing Ghosts ft. Jason Ntaro & Body of Brian [Track 8 on Entre 2 album] 

Prod. Lo Rider (Kampala); English, French.

[Verse 1: Body of Brian] [Verse 1: Body of Brian]
Wohhh! I’m losing myself Wohhh! I’m losing myself
It’s like I’m searching for something I don’t know It’s like I’m searching for something I don’t know
Could be the missing piece to my puzzled soul Could be the missing piece to my puzzled soul
My guts they tell me what I need is somewhere out there My guts they tell me what I need is somewhere out there
I have no clue where to look so I try everywhere I have no clue where to look so I try everywhere
It’s like whisky to an alcoholic, crack to a crackhead It’s like whisky to an alcoholic, crack to a crackhead
Except I’m missing something that I never had Except I’m missing something that I never had
[Hook] [Hook]
Eric 1key: Eric 1key:
Je cours après le vent dans ma quête I’m chasing the wind in my quest
Chaque jour je cherche ma raison d’être Each day I fabricate my reason to be
La Terre tourne et le cycle se répète The earth turns and the cycle repeats itself
Body of Brian: Body of Brian:
I traded my soul for a few notes I traded my soul for a few notes
Now that it’s gone up in smoke Now that it’s gone up in smoke
What reason to live and die for?       What reason to live and die for?
I feel like I’m chasing ghosts I feel like I’m chasing ghosts
Eric 1key: Eric 1key:
Je cours après le vent dans ma quête I’m chasing the wind in my quest
Chaque jour je cherche ma raison d’être Each day I fabricate my reason to be
La terre tourne et le cycle se répète The earth turns and the cycle repeats itself
[Verse 2: Eric 1key] [Verse 2: Eric 1key]
L’argentne fait pas le bonheur, la pauvreté non plus Money does not create happiness, poverty neither
Certainement parce que le bonheur existe depuis des lustres bien avant les thunes Certainly because happiness existed way long before “money”
No money, no life mais la maille n’offre pas l’immortalité No money, no life but then money doesn’t make you immortal
No pain, no gain alors on souffre puis on die pour le blé No pain, no gain so we suffer and die for money
C’est pas l’amour du beurre qui nous motive à gagner le pain It’s not the love of “butter” that pushes us to get “bread”
Mais surtout la peur de ne pas en avoir au réveil le matin But the fear of not having “butter” in the morning when we wake up
Le pognon est une drogue, impossible de rester lucide Money is a drug, it’s impossible to be lucid
On en devient accro et son manque peut résulter en suicide We all get hooked on it and its absence can lead to suicide
Société de consommateurs, le rêve est commercial In a consumerist society even the dream is for sale
Entre la passion et l’emploi, c’est quoi le bon choix? What’s the right choice between passion and employment?
L’artiste se dit heureux malgré sa vie de sutures So artists convince themselves they are happy, despite their miserable lives
L’employé est malheureux car s’il bosse dur And the employed are unhappy because when they work hard
C’est juste pour payer ses factures It’s only so they can pay their bills
Moi qui n’ai jamais voulu vendre mon art I never really wanted to sell my art
J’ai vendu quelques grammes de mon âme But I sold grams of my soul
En mettant ma plume au service du capitalisme When I put my pen at the service of capitalism
Pour un peu de fric, j’ai perdu l’équilibre For little money, I lost balance
Deux poids deux mesures Making the choice will never be fair and balanced
[Hook] [Hook]
Eric 1key: Eric 1key:
Je cours après le vent dans ma quête I’m chasing the wind in my quest
Chaque jour je cherche ma raison d’être Each day I fabricate my reason to be
La Terre tourne et le cycle se répète The earth turns and the cycle repeats itself
Body of Brian: Body of Brian:
I traded my soul for a few notes I traded my soul for a few notes
Now that it’s gone up in smoke Now that it’s gone up in smoke
What reason to live and die for?       What reason to live and die for?
I feel like I’m chasing ghosts I feel like I’m chasing ghosts
Eric 1key: Eric 1key:
Je cours après le vent dans ma quête I’m chasing the wind in my quest
Chaque jour je cherche ma raison d’être Each day I fabricate my reason to be
La Terre tourne et le cycle se répète The earth turns and the cycle repeats itself
[Verse 3: Jason Ntaro] [Verse 3: Jason Ntaro]
Chasing gold but no goal, so chasing ghosts Chasing gold but no goal, so chasing ghosts
Wasting life growing old Wasting life growing old
This is not the story that I was told by those of old This is not the story that I was told by those of old
Now I’m convinced that I’m working hard Now I’m convinced that I’m working hard
But hard enough is not even hard enough But hard enough is not even hard enough
And so I sit, watch my shriveled shadows and laugh And so I sit, watch my shriveled shadows and laugh
And fall willingly into this crack And fall willingly into this crack
So, I sell out So, I sell out
I sell my soul as I sweat and toil I sell my soul as I sweat and toil
Constantly planting crops in hard barren soil Constantly planting crops in hard barren soil
But I stress and I boil But I stress and I boil
In this system I am the clown In this system I am the clown
And now… And now…
Heavy this load, I try to cope Heavy this load, I try to cope
This tug and war has a slippery rope This tug and war has a slippery rope
Complacency replaces me Complacency replaces me
Ignorance embraces me Ignorance embraces me
My shadows stare into my periphery My shadows stare into my periphery
And I realize that I am empty And I realize that I am empty
[Hook] [Hook]
Eric 1key: Eric 1key:
Je cours après le vent dans ma quête I’m chasing the wind in my quest
Chaque jour je cherche ma raison d’être Each day I fabricate my reason to be
La Terre tourne et le cycle se répète The earth turns and the cycle repeats itself
Body of Brian: Body of Brian:
I traded my soul for a few notes I traded my soul for a few notes
Now that it’s gone up in smoke Now that it’s gone up in smoke
What reason to live and die for?       What reason to live and die for?
I feel like I’m chasing ghosts I feel like I’m chasing ghosts
Eric 1key: Eric 1key:
Je cours après le vent dans ma quête I’m chasing the wind in my quest
Chaque jour je cherche ma raison d’être Each day I fabricate my reason to be
La Terre tourne et le cycle se répète The earth turns and the cycle repeats itself
Brian Corpus: Body of Brian:
Mmmm feel like I’m chasing ghosts Mmmm feel like I’m chasing ghosts
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