If you’ve been following me on social media over the years or have been to any of my concerts, you know I hail great talent when I see it. I enjoy good music and appreciate the talent of those who do music well, for I truly believe all the stars shine in the sky at the same time. I was never one for the feuding and bullshit. You have one life to live and neither of us brought anything with us into the world saving the gifts and talents we are given. It is up to each of us to use what we have been given to the best of our ability.
My Take on ‘Message Music’
For me, ‘message music’ is only as good as the artiste’s delivery paired with the skillful combination of musical elements like rhythm, tone, pitch, tempo, etc. The music will make or break the ‘message’ for me as it is the last thing I consider when appreciating music. Consider, for example, Whitney Houston’s cover of Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You: the same lyrics combined with the different use of musical elements results in all of us connecting with both versions in very different ways. For me, the musicality of a piece often determines how I connect with the lyrics. If the essence of music was the message, I may as well read the ‘message’ in a book *kanye shrug*.
This is why I am excited to feature one of my favourite songs from one of my favourite talents in this month’s pop culture life hack feature. Agent Sasco’s Winning Right Now – is a brilliant combination of lyricism and musical genius. This man knows his music. His understanding of the vagaries of language and musical nuances has allowed him a mastery within the dancehall space that sets him apart from many of his peers.
The Amazing Agent Sasco (a.k.a. Assassin)
Recently, I had the pleasure of seeing reggae and dancehall vocalist and performing artiste Agent Sasco (a.k.a. Assassin) in concert. I then got a second opportunity to speak with him after doing so for the first time at a music business conference years ago. I once again praised his work and presence as an artiste in the international dancehall space. His work truly inspires me. I’m always taken aback by his precision as a vocalist – never flat, never sharp – always on key. His ability to emote and use his voice as the instrument it is is second only to his humility and graciousness.
Anyway, this post is really about Agent Sasco’s latest single – Winning Right Now – which I LOVE! I did say he is inspiring right?
The Many Ways He’s Winning Right Now
Winning Right Now is a BIG TUNE from start to finish. Going far beyond the stereotypical (and often corny) “you can do it” inspirational song, Sasco’s Winning Right Now inspires listeners from the seat of the overcomer who’s reminiscent of all that the journey has been about so far. Though intimating that a profound journey has taken place, Winning Right Now does not detail this journey. Instead, the storytelling becomes special on account of what is not told. Instead, with his usual turn of words, Sasco ensures that the unsung understanding that the journey has been a significant one is made clear. By turning his “L’s” (losses) to “W’s” (wins), it is clear to all within earshot that he is winning right now in spite of hailing from places where failure is expected.
The African drumming and smooth, chanting, background vocals complement the acoustic components of the composition well. Unsurprisingly, Sasco’s uncanny ability to interpret musical nuances and use vocal delivery to enhance the best parts of compositions makes his song on this riddim a standout. This, he manages in spite of the track’s largely repetitive nature. His vocal prowess on Winning Right Now shines. This is an artiste who understands that the lyrics – even when good – can fall flat and mean very little unless supported by an immaculate delivery. With Winning Right Now, Sasco transforms what could have been an ordinary song into feel-good inspiring music merged seamlessly with hard-hitting truths. His soulful, raspy tone and skillful inflections ensure that Winning Right Now is a soulful reminder to keep going and to celebrate every win. I expect this song to be in rotation for a long time to come.
On the final note, y’all really need to go watch the video! Is wah kinda 500K view from August 2017 till now!? Go fix that shit and get this man his coins! Let’s support and celebrate the best among us while we still have them. You’re welcome.