The L.A.J.A. (Locally Acquired Jamaican Accent)

Or, as Wanlov Kubolor hilariously calls it, Mpatois. ( I like his term better :D)

I thought this was over. I thought we as Ghanaians had decided conclusively that we no longer tolerate nor need fake slangs or slurring to get ahead.

With songs like “Fake London Boy”, and general ridicule of radio presenters like Jeremie ( whose accent apparently developed in the chilly temperate climate of Asylum Down), we signaled to the nation that being authentically, and unapologetically Ghanaian was IN.
Heck, Azonto is proof positive of that; we can create a global phenomenon that others want to emulate simply by being ourselves.

So why am i hearing cringe inducing put-on Jamaican accents every time i turn on the radio? A trend that is on the rise in tandem with the growing popularity of “Afro-dancehall”. It’s as though growing dread locks grants you not Samsonesque strength, but new language capabilities. Tower of Babel steeze.

I don’t even mind Africans doing Dancehall music. The genre has grown in popularity to transcend Jamaica’s sole rights to it, in much the same way that Rap/Hiphop is no longer a dominion ruled over by Americans alone. Besides, Jamaicans are our ancestral cousins, and Rita Marley is an honorary Ghanaian, so i’m sure they don’t mind us dabbling either.

However, one does not NEED to pretend to be Jamaican to do Dancehall. I promise you this. No more than an American accent (or even English for that matter),  is a prerequisite for rap ( (and all hail the likes of Obrafuor, Reggie Rockstone, Okyeame Kwame, Lord Kenya etc for demonstrating this point)
Dancehall is in the rhythm and the melody. The lyrics could be in Twi. If that’s too tricky, we have a perfectly workable and unique Pidgin of our own. Why must we disgrace ourselves with this “cock it up, wine it aroun’, and bruk it dung” life?

Some of you have believed in your powers to the point where even in everyday conversation, not a beat in sight, norrrr mpatois.

Exhibit A.


I meeeean.. a wha dis???

I meeeean.. a wha dis???

(I noticed Blakk Rasta toned that mess all the way down when he appeared before parliament though! Ness time. lol.)

But mi cyaan tek it anymore. Mi sick an tired a unu. You know who you are.. and
some of the main culprits are people i love, so trust me this hurts my feelings to type.
(Like my bae Mugeez: Sleeping Beauty was lit.. but the mpatois nu..daabi kraa. “Matarala” for Motorola? No husband. No).
So gather round, and please pass this message along to your people dem.
Stonebwoy, Shatta, Kaakie ( Kaakie..grr), Samini,  Mz Vee, Jupitar, Episode, recent offenders like Eazzy and Edem. Name them all..

Dear Jafaican friends, permit me to give it to you straight in terms you apparently understand.:
Unu haffi stop di wash ova patois.. a eediat ting dat! A puppy show ting dat! Mpatois haffi dead! Fiyah bun! 

Was that grammatically accurate Jamaican patois? Does anyone care?
Seriously.. don’t do this anymore. You sound like Taye Diggs in How Stella Got Her Groove Back. And even if you don’t, you’re still doing the most. I beg. WE beg.

Im trying to find examples of Afro-Dancehall done authentically. I cant find any, but i’m sure some exist.
ETA: It may not be all the way perfect, ( and Nigeria is riddled with offenders of their own)  but “Bend Down Pause” by Runtown feat. Wizkid is on the right track.

Exhibit B

Notice Runtown’s opening verse:
“Who be dat girl with the big nyash.
She tell me say her name na Sherifat”

Or Wizkid’s, which includes phrases like “I no dey carry last”

It is an unmistakably Nigerian song. And that makes a HUGE difference in my opinion.

I’d like to hear from you though. Am i the only one who feels this way? Do you have an example of a Ghanaian Dancehall artist doing this right?
Let me know!


13 responses to “The L.A.J.A. (Locally Acquired Jamaican Accent)

  1. I can always count on you to give me the realness! Thats why I love you. haha. @ Dear Jafaican friends. You have me over here dying. And im supposed to be working. But this benddown pause video visuals are on point oh… errr… minus some of the video vixen moves. But why? TGIF!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha thank you for commenting.. most people send me private messages to comment. It makes me laugh…
      Bend Down Pause is lit… but there is a whole nother discussion to be made for why we always run and put some exoticals in our videos the minute we can afford to. I’m yet to see a popular Chinese artist with a Ghanaian background
      Anyhoo.. yes some of the moves were a question mark, but over-all.. dope visuals


  2. Ewuradi… Lol…when I see the title of the post, I always start feeling sorry for whoever may be on the receiving end, Ms. A -tell- ’em! I also thought we were past trying to be like everyone beyond our shores. It does pose a bigger question, which is why do we feel the need to be anyone else but ourselves?! Is it miseducation or did colonial rule just brainwash us that bad.
    Darling I love reading from you as always because like Dee said you keep it real. Unfortunately for those on the hot seat today you do know your stuff on this subject matter and have every right to be offended by it all lol.
    Well done and keep it coming please, a compilation into a book and sold would be wonderful. You know I’m all about making $$$ Kisses

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha thank you for this lovely comment. Im sure people are sick of me and calling me 2known.. But oh well, at least they can’t call me a liar!
      Yess bring the ideas!… Money haffi make lol. I’ve been thinking about a book cataloguing the ongoing saga of being a returnee. We shall see.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Just read this…Well on point… Hmmm our Gha-maican brothers n sisters are difficult to understand. I listened to a shatawale collaboration with some Jamaican guy n was wondering where is the korlegonno Godfather. My man had gone more Jamaican than the Jamaican… Eiiii ey3 asem Ooo…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I started laughing just from your user handle alone! 😀
      Permission to add this fantastic term to the lexicon? lol
      Hmmm. I’m not sure if you are in Ghana, but a few months ago, there was entire Ghana vs Jamaica Dancehall concert. I asked myself just how the heck that was going to work. You cannot out-jamaica a Jamaican, so why try? Ofcourse Korlegono Godfather was representing live ( per the flyer at least, i didn’t step foot there lol)
      E hard oh!


  4. I really don’t have a problem with that. Maybe cuz I never really understand Patois as much as I understand English. Plus I don’t know if speaking Patois is what makes a song a Dancehall song. And maybe singing in Patois is the same as singing in English. I bet you you wouldn’t have a problem if the song was sung in French. Would that also be a locally acquired French accent? You made a great point but the truth is it doesn’t really matter as long as the song is great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well i guess different strokes for different folks. I think its embarrassing, and negatively impacts your message.
      If a Ghanaian artist decided to be the next Kanda Bongoman or some-such, and proceeded to start singing songs in a terrifying approximation of “french” that he learned from listening to french songs on youtube,and also used that language and accent during interviews i would think that was ridiculous as well.
      Unless you are adding your own unique twist/stamping your individuality on it, its just imitation.
      Thank you for reading , and commenting though.. and i peeped the retweet too. Good look. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fiona has me in stitches. Ah? You paaaa. I Taya oo. See the way you describe the thing make I feel. My feelings exact. I love Kaaki & her plenty same-sounding music. But her interviews dey toss pass day old tuna sandwich. Me dey tell you. I blame Samini for all this. Sia 😂😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Day old Tuna sandwiches though?! 🙆🏽🙆🏽🙆🏽😂😂😂😂.
      I hope Kaakie wasnt in your class or sumn.. I hear she’s a Motowner hmmm..


  6. hahaha OMG it’s a wide spread phenomenon, as dancehall music takes over Africa……
    I have locks and people walk up to me and start speaking with that Jamaican accent all waagwan rasta!!
    I have locks but I am not Rastafarian or nothing I am just allergic to the barber *end rant *
    Anyhoo I was listening to the radio the other day and the radio presenter was interviewing an international Jamaica artist who had just landed for a dancehall concert…. I could not help but cringe as the artist spoke near perfect English I am guessing for the benefit of us locals but did the interview take the hint Nooooo he kept talking with the fake Jamaican accent purely executed, I really wish it was a TV interview so I could see the expression on the artist’s face.


    PS once upon a time I googled YouTube tutorials to learn how to do the Azonto whoop whoop,
    *adds multi-culturally exposed to CV*

    Liked by 1 person

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