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X9 Homies

Solomoni Biumaiono
Sunday, February 17, 2013

Faith struggled to find the right words for his venting and ended up pacing around the room with his passion stuck in his mouth. All his youthful frustrations all curled up like a fireball inside him and he needed an outlet to clear his mind and to find peace.

The main subject of his discontent is the state of the music industry in Fiji, something he says is dying a slow death which was brought upon it by commercialism where making money trumps musical creativity. The 26-year-old is part of the local hip hop group X9 Homies who has produced hits like Cava Tiko Mada Boy and Chaivatakalaka and he has finally found a willing set of ears to vent.

The group have been together for four years recording and producing some memorable songs and even their success has made them organise dance off competitions which has become popular with teenagers in urban areas.

Their songs have made the air waves and they were part of the hip hop movement that gained momentum and recognition in the middle of the last decade.

"We have many songs that we have recorded already but we just do not feel like releasing it because we know that the interest is not there. Hip hop in Fiji is like its underground music. They're still burying it.

"Even the songs we have produced before like Cava Tiko Mada Boy are not who we really are. We are more than that and we don't even like it because it is not what we stand for and what we really wanted to do but people they don't see that. They just want us to make songs like that.

"They seem to enjoy laughing at us rather than learn and appreciate the core of who we really are," Faith said.

One of his main points is the popularity of contemporary iTaukei music which he says has overrun the music industry here with their romance themed songs and their mass production capabilities.

"All they sing about is love. Lagati tiko ga na veidomoni (Only singing about love). What they don't realise is that after the vei domoni (love) and romance comes the struggle. That is something they should sing about because there is more to life than just falling in love.

"People focus on the smiling side of life. They don't want to focus on the realities," Faith said.

One thing that X9 Homies feel that has not been recognised is their principles which is styled closely to the ghetto themed songs of the late hip hop artist Tupac and his Machiavellian principles.

"There are many things that people can sing about apart from love songs. They should try and see that there are other things and people out there that they can sing about. Sing about their own lives or the struggle of a boy living on the streets…there are many things out there.

"You see people coming every day, na sutu e davo (they're dressed smartly) but the struggle e tiko e loma (is inside of them). "They will never say or discuss o au gunu ti raisi mai nikua (I had rice and tea for breakfast today) because to them they would rather gloss over it," Faith said.

Apart from their disappointments X9 Homies have even recorded an album in the iTaukei language just to find out what is there about iTaukei music that has bowled over so many people who have come to accept and fall in love with love songs.

"Yes but instead of following the love song theme, we talk more about what is happening within our society. We talk about eradicating poverty and advising young people not to go into prison because there is no life in there

"If musicians stop singing about love and start singing about the reality of life or talk about something good, something constructive," Faith continued obviously rankled by the fact that music, to him, is the food of life and not just love.

To him the lack of acknowledgement from musicians about the late Bob Marley's birthday just a few days ago showed that music is no more in Fiji.

"That is someone great. That is someone whom all musicians in Fiji owe a lot to because many music and musicians here in Fiji all had reggae roots and no one recognised his birthday was just a few days ago.

"That is why I say that music has been commercialised and we have lost our musical creativity and beginnings to recognise a simple thing like this," Faith said.

As lopsided as his comments may be and one could even say that it is just youthful venting, Faith still maintains that it is the way to see things.

"Hip hop is still struggling. Hip hop music is still going underground in Fiji they will keep on burying it. Koya dau tukuni tu na kena tukutukuni ya (as they always say), you can always keep a good man down," Faith said.

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