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A Jesse Dele Series: Music and it’s complexity

A deep look into the music industry with a keen light on how music lyrics affects our lives as well as the lives of the various artists.



We all listen to music. Be it Christina Shusho with her Bible-based music, Wakadinali’s outspoken & hitting hip hop bars or Youngboy’s Never Broke Again; gritty, mysterious yet melodic and introspective tracks…. everyone listens to some form of music.

A case study.

“When a kid hears a song and repeats it over and over, from the alpha state and into the subconscious mind, it can have power over the mind.”-Micheal Jackson.

There is some truth in Michael Jackson’s words. For instance, children emulate their favourite rappers and everyone in general. Is it possible to shape the thoughts, opinions, decisions and actions of a person? Yes.

This is why parents have to teach their kids early that they have to be disciplined. Doing abc….. avoids certain outcomes. Getting older; new things are introduced with a gradual increase of seriousness. Listening to songs for instance “Drills”, which are senseless murders of people who live on a different street; may cause one to normalise violence and want to become like these artists.

Dayvon Bennette “King Von”, was a famous rapper who rose to fame in 2020 during the height of COVID. His music is primarily about murder, running a gang that deals drugs and robbery; putting sex, money and substance abuse first. Despite making millions Dayvon paid dearly with his life. Most of his friends have ended up in jail. He is connected to at least 11 murders in Chicago.

Photo Courtesy – Dayvon Bennette

Watching his documentary got me rooted to the spot as I thought about the power of music. Have you noticed every male wants to be a “gangster” these days due to this glorified and normalised lifestyle?

Hip-hop and rappers mostly show us that being materialistic is all that matters. They live dangerous and fast lives portraying a lavish lifestyle and how they can attract any female. These are negatives. Kentrell Gaulden “Youngboy Never Broke Again” said recently, “he isn’t big on fatherhood.” Ironically he has 11 children.

On the other hand, Jahseh was trying to change his life by making meaningful music as seen in his final album “?” with popular tracks like “Moonlight” which talks about a woman. However, he was a domestic abuser of his girlfriend at the time. His lead single ”Sad” (a personal favourite) speaks of his experiences with depression and suicidal thoughts. He talks about regrets and his romantic turmoil in his lyrics; I gave her everything she took my heart and left me lonely…

Photo Courtesy-Jahseh

The many negative connotations are devastating but as with anything in life, there can’t be light with darkness. All these people also have some positives we can learn from such as Kentrell’s work ethic, he drops more music than your favourite artist and all his stuff is fresh & X’s slow transformation was inspiring and his versatility was unmatched.


We should be aware of the messages hidden within songs, their ultimate agenda, what the artists promote and their character as well. All these can affect our lives. Be it fashion, sexual orientation, substance abuse, morals, beliefs, religion and overall character. Balance is key as with everything and as adults, we know what is right and wrong. Enjoy your music and artists.

Jesse Dele.

*This article is originally written by Jesse Dele.

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A Jesse Dele Series : Unveiling the Good in the Bad

In life we have both the Good and the Bad. However taking Positives from the Negative goes a long way .



While in Kisumu Boys High School, I played for the school’s football team until the beginning of Form 3. By played I mean 2 matches, but that still counts! During my time, we chose between Geography and History. Our Geography teacher was a beast. He would whip us scathingly for not knowing the formation of a volcano daily. Everyone feared whenever it was his turn on the timetable. Too strict!

Mode (Teacher) wa Geography made us choose between sports and his subject as he would teach during ‘games time.’ This was to catch those still in sports. I gave up on my talent to chase the grade and although it hurts to this day, I wouldn’t have passed without doing so.

Often rap and hip hop are scrutinized for their negative promotion of senseless and petty violence, philistinism, substance abuse, and misuse of sex just to name a few. However, there are innumerable positives that our favourite artists tell us regardless. Romans 3:10-12 King James Version (KJV) as it is written,’ There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth.’ Why are we quick to judge?

Positive Ego

Churchill Mandela, better known by his stage name Scar Mkadinali from ‘Wakadinali’ had a great point during his interview on Switch TV in May of 2019. He was asked why hip-hop artists have to have an ego. His response was, “If I came here and was an agreeable person you would forget about me and no one would talk about me.”

Screengrab courtesy of Switch TV

This teaches us that confidence is key and knowing one’s worth will save you from disrespect, ‘low ball’ offers, and negative media coverage as this means being real, true to one’s word and having honor and accountability. My take from this is you can’t please everyone. No matter what you do others will envy, point, ridicule, judge and so on. Ambition and persistence while believing in one’s ways and sticking to them is commendable. We learn through Scar’s wise and indirect answers to 2 things. Nothing is ever as it seems as the question of “who do you listen to” by Sami Flinch during the interview tests whether Scar will give anyone any radio time. He doesn’t by saying he only listens to Domani Munga sitting next to him. Second, we can always bend the rules in our favour. Sami sensed tension and decided to de-escalate the pressure by promoting Scar’s #KovuChallenge. At the time his breakout hit ”Kovu” Was the talk of the town. We learn from Sami that sometimes it’s okay to back down.

Bad fun

Any elder you speak to will tell you life is short, and value friendships, little moments such as walking on the beach or laughing with your partner while being responsible and a good person in general. Also, our elders tell us of their fun days as youth. The mischief they got up to. They remind us to not be so serious! Most times I’m on public transportation the music is so deep, so sad. Other times it’s wild or happy. Sometimes introspection is good but in the words of James Edward alias, Babytron, “So many people make music for being sad, my music is meant to have fun.” He is known for his wordplay, unique 80s beat selection, punchlines and sharp lyricism. James has been known for fraud since he was in “grade school.” He raps, “ I been scamming since the iPhone 6” on the song “Area 51” which suggests he started scamming at 14 years of age. He has never caught a case of fraud but was booked for possession of a controlled substance on 8th February of 2023. Otherwise, his squeaky clean police record leaves fans questioning whether he lives his raps but I think he’s all facts.

Babytron -Photo Courtesy

In high school, he has numerous high-end fashion such as Burberry shirts, designer shoes, goyard bags, wads of cash in 100-dollar bills and so on. He was earning a lot more than the average high schooler. He dropped out of college and began seriously rapping and he already had a chain when he was signed. He brags about only ever eating 100$ dollars plus meals, wearing 10,000$ dollar fits, and throwing his air forces on the wire (as seen in hoods to represent a drug sale point) once they get creased and so on. His music is generally meant to brag, have fun and play around with new sounds such as stuttering while rapping which James calls “Stutter Flow.” His creativity, lingo, fashion sense and unique appearance make him stand out. He seems to not care about anything; sometimes we all feel like that and do need to tune out.

Robotic work rate

Kentrell Gaulden, alias Youngboy Never Broke Again released his first mixtape in 2015 after releasing singles on Soundcloud in 2011. Since then, his discography consists of 6 studio albums, 3 compilation albums, 26 mixtapes (including 6 collaborative mixtapes), 3 extended plays, and 102 singles (including 23 as a featured artist). He drops music every other week and puts out more music than anyone you can think of. With more than 30 billion total streams and 109 RIAA-certified releases including 3 platinum or double platinum albums, NBA YoungBoy is one of the most listened-to artists in the world.

Youngboy Never Broke Again(YNBA) -Photo Courtesy

He says his grandfather told him to work hard and save his money, which we can all relate to. He has done this under much pressure. His father got life in prison for a home invasion turned first-degree murder charge while he was 8 years old. He began smoking cigarettes at 11. He has been in juvenile since 10. There are many pictures of him as a youngster with an ankle monitor on house arrest. He only knows the streets gang life and drug deals as is mostly reflected in his music. He was mostly caused by himself through his numerous encounters with the law. He was booked for an attempted murder in 2016 after his cousin was shot down in Baton Rouge. Before this, he was booked for robbery as a 15-year-old. In 2019 he was taken in on simple battery family charges. During 2020 he was taken in for drug and weapons charges as he was shooting a music video for ‘Chopper City’. He is currently on house arrest for both although he beat the drugs and is yet to go to federal court for the weapons. He started a Stop the Violence campaign in 2023 and is trying to clean up his image. Despite all this, he has risen to the top working in the studio every day and his robotic work rate has made him a self-made millionaire.


In essence, the journey through challenges, the positive messages in music, the importance of confidence, the joy of having fun, and the value of a strong work ethic collectively weave a narrative of resilience, optimism, and success emerging from adversity. We can learn different attributes from these 3 artists and how humans are diverse and can thrive in different environments and situations

Jesse Dele

This article is originally written by Jesse Dele

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