Desmond Blackmore, with the moniker D-Black in music, has arguably become the most-vilified and ridiculed rapper with regards to his work rate in the rap game and in the Ghanaian music industry in general.
No rapper’s proficiency in his/her songs has been questioned, scrutinized and chided as D-Black’s – and he falls at the bottom of every rap lovers’ list of top rappers, or doesn’t feature at all.
He is trending, again for the same old reasons; getting debased for having his name on MTVBase Africa’s Hottest MCs (Ghana) list.
His inclusion has sparked yet another round of banter with some arguing that, he is not a good rapper, he is not a skillful rapper, blah blah blah.
Some have even posited that he is not a rapper/MC. Really? If he’s not a rapper, what is he? A ‘vulcanizer’? Or perhaps, a farmer or an electrician!
Lack of Respect
Since 2009, D-Black has always been about the grind, the survival and the relevance – essential features needed to survive in the music industry.
With 3 albums, close to 20 hit tracks, over 15 quality music videos, over 50 nominations (home & international), close to 10 major awards, close to international 50 features and a lot of stage performances – he is not accorded the recognition he truly deserves.
How many of the so-called skillful rappers even have mixtapes, not to mention shooting quality videos?
He was the 2nd Ghanaian in history to attain nomination for the BET ‘Best International Act’ category and one of the first Ghanaian acts to get critical mention at the Channel O Africa Music Awards. Did he not rap his way to such honours? No? I guess he farmed his way to such platforms.
Is he a rapper/MC?
Yes, he is a rapper and an Emcee/MC; he doesn’t do lullabies in the songs, he raps – damn it!
In the book, ‘The Art of Emceeing,’ Stic.man of of the legendary rap group,Dead Prez writes; “A rapper is to an emcee what an average street fighter is to a trained martial artist. They are both fighters but the degree and depth of their skill is very different.”
Another hip hop legend, Kool G Rap notes, “Masters of ceremony, where the word ‘M.C.’ comes from, means just keeping the party alive.”
So, the MC is that fellow who raps to inspire people with well-written, crisply-delivered, clear and concise lyrics and is able to excite any audience.
Is he a rapper? Of course he is!
Just like there’s Gangsta’ rap, there’s also what many rap aficionados call laid back rap, which has been done and perfected by hip hop royalties like Rakim, Slick Rick, Guru (The original Guru from the group, Gang Starr)and others like Mase and Fabolous.
If you pay critical attention, you would realize that just like another laid back rapper called Omar Sterling; D- Black is ‘deep’ and ‘conscious’ rapper.
Does he deserve a spot on the MTV Base List?
The list stated the ‘Hottest’ MCs, it did not say – ‘the Skilful Rappers’ or ‘the Best Hardcore Rappers’.
According to research conducted by www.entertainmentgh.com, MTV’s description of ‘Hottest’ looks at those who made headlines within the music industry and deserves mention.
MTV based the criteria of judging on six pointers by which the panelists weighed up against, which are – impact, lyrics, sales, buzz, style and other ‘intangibles’ – everything else outside the recording perimeters, achievements and what was done that other MCs aren’t.
How the heck would you have such a criteria and D-Black won’t feature in such a list?
Let’s just assume without admitting that he is whacky, has no lyrics and style, however, when it comes to everything else outside the recording perimeters and achievements – D-Black should sit on top of that list.
He has a record label, Black Avenue Muzik; that label that projected other stars like Joey B, DJ Breezy to the limelight. You think it is easy to operate a successful label?
He owns and operates a marketing/advertising/events firm, Black Avenue Works, which specializes in corporate and social events, product/brand marketing and advertising. There’s Black Avenue Clothing, Livewire Events and Black Avenue Productions (TV shows and movies).
No, wait, there’s more!
D-Black is also the CEO of Club Onyx, an upscale nightclub located in the plush Cantonments neighborhood of Accra.
He is one of the first Ghanaian artists to pave the way with regards to corporate endorsement, with deals with Electronic giants RLG, VIVA brand of phones and then, an advertising deal with Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodka in 2014 and a brand Ambassador deal with the Diageo owned brand in 2015.
For his 3rd album, he made a big move by signing a 2-year digital distribution deal with Universal Music, Africa.
With all these achievements, you want to frown at his position on the list? Please, shut the heck up!
Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo, www.entertainmentgh.com