Revisiting the “kupera” narrative in the music industry
By Argus Mepo
Kupera has become a popular chant in the entertainment sector which is generally used to refer to artists who have faded, or those that are not perfoming well on the market.
Of late, the “Kupera” mantra is now being used to demonise artists and derail their projects which is both unfair and corwadice in my own opinion.
The big problem within the industry is that social media is being used as the yardstick to determine the success of an artist. Its now all about how many followers does one has, streams and views and there comes the terms either apera or arikupisa, arikubvira uyo, waona maviews nema followers ake here ?
This is clear paralysis of analysis because there is life off social media which can also advance the careers of the artists beyond the apera narrative. We have artists like Seh Calaz, Shinso, Dadza D and latley Killer T, among others who have been labelled as faded artists but back in the streets they are well loved and respected. We all know that these musical beasts cause havoc whenever they get on the stage.
Yes there are some artists who have faded for sure but in some instances the Kupera narrative is now being sparked by the polarisation of the music industry. Rivalries between artists and their fans has been spearheading this cause. Almost all the big artists have been labelled as haa vapera, even Winky D, Jah Prayzah, Takura, Freeman, not mentioning the likes of the late Soul Jah Love and Seh Calaz.
Artists have different targetted audience and niche markets. Many fans do not understand this and failure to satisy a certain market especially the youthful market that usually vibe with (partying,hustling, love, dating and sometimes flashy and sometimes gangsterism ) related songs can make an artist being termed as apera.
Yet we have artists like Tocky Vibes who has diversified his music to accomodate a diversified audience and aggravating towards a sound which does not cage or box him to dancehall alone. Because of this he was once labelled as apera but he later proved how big he is. As we speak he is in Dallas, USA on music business.
Sometimes its not all about having a hitsongs or receiving showers of praises under the guise of urikupisa, influence matters too. For instance Winky D’s strategy of starving the market and not releasing oftenly has also led some to refer to him as a fading artist, hanzi haaaa Gafa rapera boys, new schoool ikupisa kkkkkk! But the man is hella influential he has a battalion of troopers on Facebook and other social sites, attack him and you will receive a humiliating baptism of fire from the likes of Not Nice Gaffa, Prince Vigilance, Gaffa Lite and thousand others.
He is influential to the extent of trending on platforms like Twitter without releasing any work or project. He is a super infuencer. Such influence translate into lucrative endorsment deals which brings more income, its better to be labelled as apera whilst having endorsment especially during these Covid times when liveshows are prohibited.
The apera or arikupisa narrative is also harming the music industry. Artists are now working under pressure releasing substandard projects just to prove a point that l havent faded lm still there or lm the hottest artist in town. Especially the period 2020 to 2021 a lot of hyped yet substandard projects have been released by artists to convince the public.
~Unity is key for the growth of the industry
~Artists must not succumb to pressure
~Good works will overshadown criticism and sabotage
~Revisiting the fundamentals and strictly adhere to the creative process when making music
~Strategic patnership patnerships with other stakeholders is necessary