De ting go skkrrrrr ka has made its way into and took over the zeitgeist of September 2017. Very few pop culture moments have staying power beyond 3 weeks, and as the interest in this one begins to wane, we give thanks to the BBC, Charley with the blue eyes, MC Quakez and Shakez and Roadman Shaq (aka Michael Dapaah) for bringing so much joy to our timelines, newsfeeds and WhatsApp groups. Ayekoo!
Unless you’ve been on a total tech sabbatical, there’s very little chance that you haven’t heard de ting go skrrrr ka in some part or capacity. The verse (hook?) is so powerful that it made its way to the pulpit of the church I was visiting this Sunday. Hand on my heart, the visiting pastor – who happened to be a Nigerian – broke away from his message to pray in tongues and instead of the accepted “robo shatata” actually cried out “ka ka ka ka kaaaaa!!!”…repetitively. You’ve been going to church 30 years and I guarantee you’ve never heard ANYONE – not on the intercessory team, not the ushers, not the kid who just got saved – speak in tongues and say kakakaka…. Poom –poom. That wasn’t a touch from the Holy Ghost. That was a nudge from Roadman Shaq.
And my eldest daughter was there with an impish look on her face, looking at mine for a reaction. Humph. You think I’m new to this? You think this is my first rodeo? I hollered my laughter through “heys” and “hallelujahs”.
After an initial viewing of the Roadman Shaq video and all its subsequent memes, it is only natural to ask oneself where this guy comes from. What are his origins? Yeah, he’s English, but something in his accenting betrays origins from elsewhere. Deep in my heart I could sense his true ancestry, but the foolery of the Fiya in the Booth video was too much for me to bear responsibility for. Alas, there is no way to deny it any longer. Roadman Shaq IS a Ghanaian. Here is a short list of the many clues he left.
5. The fake Jamaican accent. There’s only one thing Ghanaian rappers love more than sunglasses, and that’s an opportunity to put on a Jamaican accent. Even if it’s one executed poorly. It always baffles me that more Ghanaians don’t travel to Jamaica, especially since a visa is not required…but why travel to a country to immerse yourself in a culture you hold most dear when you can just spare the expense, sit in the comfort of your compound listen to old Shabba Ranks CDs for an equal effect. Plantain in Kingston is just as sweet in Accra, abi?
4. The winter coat in summer. Nothing excites the Ghanaian mind like the prospect of winter. We fantasize about it. At Christmas, we sing In the bleak meek winter and memorize poems about the blowing of winter winds and the crunch of snow beneath our feet. Yet the average Ghanaian has never experienced a chill below 55.4*F. That’s why finding oneself in a state of inescapable hypothermic conditions is the ultimate marker of success. Cold = travel abroad. You ever been to Kotoka in November/December and seen the throngs of African passengers who alight swathed with alpaca and grizzly bear coats? A winter coat is not just an accessory to keep you warm. It’s a token, an emblem that says you’ve made it. So yeah, when Roadman Shaq was in the studio sweating his balls off, it was only natural to declare, “man’s not hot!” We are in Lenden, righ’? And in Lenden, we wear a COAT, no matter what the thermostat says!
3. References to gardening equipment and fauna. “Look at your nose. Nose long like garden hose.” Only the child of a West African can understand the subtle impact of this simile volleyed at your person. And yes, it’s generally our parents doing the volleying. It’s only by Heaven’s grace that we don’t all require therapy. Our upbringing otherwise would have us out here going quack quack quack.
2. The Fuse ODG intonation of certain words. What is “asnee”? What is “skunoo”? What is an “ukuss”???? And where have I heard this speech pattern before? Lord. Is it not Fuse: that same man who raps like he has marbles in his mouth and is struggling to maintain control over the saliva? (Love you Fuse!)
1a. De ting go skrrr ka. This was the dead giveaway. I have written before about the Ghanaians love of onomatopoeia – the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named. ‘Dumsor’ (the sound of a power outage and its reinstatement), ‘Kpakpakpa’ (the apparent sound a hustler makes) and the like are all nouns and verbs that are permanent, accepted fixtures in our vocabulary. So when Roadman Shaq finished his fiya in the booth session by imitating and reenacting a Chuck Norris war film in his mouth, it solidified it for me: the man was a Ghanaian and there was no more denying it.
Yesu. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal and this man was on radio trying to slay every named and unnamed demon in the universe. How many assault rifles did he execute in those few seconds?
Whatever weapon goes poom poom upon implosion.
1b (for extra credit) is the sheepish way he was looking into the camera, fully aware that he was disgracing his family, but confident in the knowledge that his papers status means NO ONE has the authority to deport him anywhere! We rep Croydon, not Cantonments, and Michael Dapaah is far beyond the age of anyone threatening him with boarding school if he doesn’t sit up and pull up his socks. I love ungovernable boys!
As it turns out, Mr. Dapaah (and I only just discovered his real name last night) is a comedian who is well-known and loved in London. The whole Roadman Shaq thing is a gag, which means Nigerians have no cause to come and laugh at us for executing wanton bush behavior on the Internet. Nigerian mockery is the only thing I feared, which is why I purposely ignored all the clues about Roadman’s potential Ghanaian ancestry. *Safe!*
Also: Can you believe this song is being played in clubs now? People spend months pouring over lyrics to songs, and this gibberish is about to chart the Billboards. We are living in marvelous times.
What’s your favorite evolution of De Ting? This is mine. Link yours in the comments!