By Beaton Galafa
Urban music has for so long been described as lacking by minds that crave substance in art. Here, it’s all about mimicry of western beats with Malawian throats choking to make the owner sound like he’s been in America whole life. Good that’s just bad. It’s become worse these days with most local hip hop artists resorting to a mix of beats robbed from traditional dances. The fusing has been liked by many, save for the lyrics.
When I first heard of Cyantist, I was a little indifferent. Maybe because I knew the artist. But then, everybody knows an artist. Primarily though, it was because I set some principles way back that the only time I want to listen to some substance in Malawian rap, I should go for Third Eye or Fredokiss. This is despite the fact that my heart and their art fell out in the run up to the May 20 elections when they, along with others, did some theme songs for the then ruling People’s Party. It was suicidal acting griot for leadership whose looting had just been brought into some limelight. All seasons come to an end. It passed.
Cyantist was a roommate to Ralph at college. You should know Ralph. A close friend since form one. That’s how I learnt of his music. I used to find people listen to his songs. Spit bars along. We say it that way. Watch his videos.
Then I jumped in. I got hold of his music some day. I’m not that gifted in lyric extraction, but it doesn’t take the ear too long to make me recognize substance. I sensed battle in his music. Now I know it’s some real war. Cyantist largely rallies fellow rappers against snivel for fame. That’s the syndrome that’s usurped the music scene. Rappers rapping about rapping they brand it. That’s how “Blade of Death” was born. “This is a blade of death to all of ya wack rappers/This is a blade of death to all of ya back stabbers…”
An ear into Blade of Death makes you apathetic. It’s normal for urban artists home and in America too, to go into wars of words with fellows. But, with Cyantist, you go awry adopting the concept. It’s out of rage expressed in the other songs that he feels all artists ought to join hands and spit bars against all evil. You won’t slice him for hypocrisy once you get starched with his philosophy-filled Modern Day Aristotle. To the proverbial African, it’s impossible to leave once Cyantist introduces it. Yeah! He who walks with the wise becomes wise…
Cyantist speaks against evil in a poetic way too. He quickly rushes through detail, leaving you chew his philosophy. Like Muta, his music comes to an end leaving the audience still struggling to make sense out of it. This leaves you eager, ready to hear him talk again until you fully get the revolution behind Paul Mlaviwa’s face. His shyness betrays the power in his art. Yet the energy in his voice and the wisdom in the lyrics re-invigorate it. Modern Day Aristotle exorcises the pan African revolutionary out of the Lilongwe urban artist, Cyantist. It brings to earth the imperial evil conspiracies that point to the First Word’s role in Africa’s calamities. Could be Asia, or South America.
This is where Philharmonic, a fellow artist, features in. the movement has begun. “The world sleep under Luciferian hypnosis/ Smuggling drugs & arms in my continent /Injecting little kids with an H.I.V virus/Inhuman morals hazardous weapons /Tested on another man soil….” Now you see the light. Cyantist’s blade is still cutting open the earth’s crust to let all secrets out. This perhaps is the reason one fails to disagree with Modern Day Aristotle when he ends his bars with some pride in the selfie.
So if I had no pen and pad, I’d write on the asphalt
I’m trying to increase my knowledge
While you trying to increase your fans
So while you busy making tracks for ladies to dance
I’m busy making tracks for real heads to shake heads
You can’t fight a major war alone. Cyantist has had numerous collaborations with friends. He’s done songs with largely fellow budding artists. He’s done some with producers Khenai and Blak-1-Ame plus the Modern Day Aristotle he did with Philharmonic. He also regularly features Carol same way she features him.
And the lines fellow artists adopt whenever he invites them for a song always portray maturity. Since the day I fell in love with his music, he’s made it onto that list of mine. He’s a new Third Eye, a new Fredo, so concise, with extended metaphors rallying fellow artists to join the movement. Use talent to light people’s paths at night. Paul Mlaviwa. Yo! The mind of a poet and the mind of a scientist. Mind of a philosopher. The Cyantist is born.