In the beginning, it seemed like an innocuous piece of social media banter between two musicians whose knack for controversy and public entertainment is well documented.
But it soon transformed into something serious.
A fully-fledged beef. A charged lyrical war featuring back and forth shots that are as emotional as they are entertaining.
And, well: Offensive too.
Yaa Pono, a.k.a Ponobiom, one of Ghana’s biggest rap artistes, burst out in anger and dared Shatta Wale to accept a beef challenge after he was allegedly denied from performing at the latter's recent concert in Cape Coast.
According to several reports, Shatta Wale’s management denied Yaa Pono of his performance time at the concert, replacing him with the former.
It, as expected, didn’t go down well with Pono and the stakeholders from his ‘Uptown Energy’ corner.
Ashley Brobbey, his manager, fumed on Facebook: “It's disrespectful to let people pay gate fees just to see our performance and the you block us from performing. After the show too nobody calls us to apologise meanwhile you have an after party where you insult the Uptown Energy crew.”
While Brobbey’s frustration was only a civilized expression of his artist’s anger, Shatta Wale was having none of their whining.
He threw caution to the wind, as is his trademark, and went live on his Facebook page to threaten Yaa Pono: He’d beat the rapper up if he dared dissed him.
Pono, tired of exchanging words without doing it via the medium he knows best, decided to hit the studio and fire the first musical shot: A diss song titled “Noko” (a Ga word meaning ‘nothing’).
"Noko", of course, heavily featured both obvious and subliminal digs at the Shatta Wale and his entire Shatta Movement (SM) camp.
Most music lovers and critics bashed Pono for literally saying nothing in “Noko”, and they right.
In truth, the song feels dry and weak in terms of lyrical content. In “Noko”, Pono claims Shatta Wale buys cheap food. He calls him names that are as unprintable as they are unnecessary. It is basically an impulsive rant painfully missing any sense of artistic investment.
"Say Fi" sounded, well, very Shatta Wale-like - the normal, known Dancehall aggressive tone, barely moving or innovative. In the song, he claims Pono is gay, poor, and has gonorrhoea. Lyrics supposed to be clever punches come out as meaningless mean words. He only plunges the the whole profile of the beef deeper into the abyss of mediocrity.
Pono, meanwhile, had more in the basket. He replied him with a second diss song titled .
However, unlike the previously released songs in the beef’s brief history thus far, "Gbee Naabu" seemed to hit home, gaining the most traction - perhaps because Pono seemed to be opening up Wale’s closet of skeletons.
In the song, the rapper calls Shatta Wale a traitor over his recent rift with several hardcore members of Shatta Movement, supposed to be the constituents of his inner circle. He goes on to tease Wale’s physical looks, then alleges he has HIV Aids. Pono further alleges that Shatta Wale’s young son, named Majesty, isn’t his biologically because his wife, Shatta Michy, has been cheating on him constantly.
“Girls girls Shatta Wale gets Aids oh/Wo ma no fa wo a, you are ending you days oh/…Shatta Michy knows say he dey spread oh/The pikins (kids) you born no bi your own oh…/Nkurofo fa wo fa wo yere daa, nti ky3ki wo mma ho records,” Pono spits.
All done? Not quite.
Pono also accuses Shatta Wale of seeking the fortification of juju (black magic) from Ghana’s Northern neighbours Burkina Faso to push his music.
“..Wo k) gyee nduro w) Burkina (Faso) no, I so it through your anus,” Pono goes hard again with no fear.
After “Gbee Naabu”, Shatta Wale took to Facebook to ostensibly end the beef by saying he won't be responding. This statement - which would turn out to be a lie - would prove to be the perfect set-up for a hot release just a few hours later.
The surprise song, “One Man Killer”, is full of abuse directed not only towards Pono, but towards fellow dancehall act Iwan.
The song desperately pleads to be accepted as a diss piece of substance but it is in fact a poor effort concentrating too much on the emotion of retaliation rather than the painstaking art of creating entertainment with meaning and relevance. The song is underwhelming, barely containing any diss of note and ending up disgracing its author, who probably should have stuck to his plan of not furthering the beef with any new releases.
Do you think the diss songs we have had so far between Shatta and Pono are the worst? Share your thoughts.