27/12/2012

LISTEN: 'Chop My Money' (2011), by P-square, feat. Akon & May D


 
Sexual corruption - cos I'd kill anyone for your time."


God, how deliriously unpleasant is this? 'Chop My Money' distils all the helplessly evil symbolism from our club hits, delivers it concentrated. Things indirectly championed in R&B (the blaming and objectification of women; the naked materialism and unbridled egoism) are here openly endorsed, with a smile, ten hooks, and a ready-made irresistible dance move.

On first listen you could mistake it for a lovely Beatlesy theme - "oh, just take the money - I don't care about it...only you." The actual story: "you, girl, are desired by many. Go out with me; I have more money than them. I have so much money that it doesn't matter that you are a grasping she-devil; I am confident my balance will soak up your avarice. Again: I don't care ...cos I gettin plenty."

I took the line at 1:40 to be the baffling, terrifying: "You know dem believers gonna die, die-e-i..." - which made the song's nihilism a more general and inspired sort, as if the narrator's lust and materialism had turned antitheistic - but it turns out to be much less interesting than that ("You no gon' believe, this girl na die, die-e-i..."). Still such smiling brutality!

The Marxian theory of marriage (that monogamous couples are constructions for maximising productivity, subordinating women, and ensuring property rights; that wives have generally been domestic slaves and a socially acceptable kind of prostitute) sounds strange at first. But don't P-square give us here a direct expression of it? "Even though I make real dough, you're the reason there'll be more." (There's also a charming money-sex identity at the end of May D's slightly naff bolt-on verse: "And when I’m done, done / Tell me if you want some more baby.")

I like May D's Yoruba bit: "Farabale ko ma lo le / Omo ele I get pepper / Je n ba e soro, kilon sele", but it's just more of the same "Relax! Baby, I earn money" stuff.
I really hope the phrase "Chop My Money" is just a nonsense idiom they've invented (Nigeria being one of the main sites where Global English dies and is reborn). I don't want to think about anyone ever saying it to their lover sincerely, in disquotation.
 
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I probably wouldn't care so much were it less catchy. A lot of contemporary Afropop (and globalised pop in general) shares its nasty worldview, but only a few songs speak the universal language Crossover Hook Magic. ('Chop My Money' was pretty big in the UK for a couple of weeks last year.) It sucks to force one's feet to think again, but the alternative is not on.

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