DEFENDING International Soca Monarch Hollice “Mr Killa” Mapp scoffed at former health minister Dr Fuad Khan’s claim that soca music causes gender violence by saying the world’s most violent countries do not have soca music.
He held a briefing at Maraval on Monday ahead of the 2020 Carnival season, at which Newsday asked about the controversy.
After three men recently kileld their female partners, Khan said Carnival songs make men feel the degradation of women is okay, leading rejected men to view women only as sex objects and to abuse them.
Mapp rejected Khan’s reasoning, saying, “Did he smoke?
“You never hear a soca saying to beat someone or kill anybody. I don’t know how he made a connection.”
Mapp said in past years, soca had not existed, yet men had killed women.
He said people in this society were now subject to many stresses, apart from any influence from soca.
“Soca helps you to relax. Soca is medicine.”
Otherwise, Mapp disclosed that in July/August, he will do a collaboration with Barrington Levy, Shaggy, Capleton and One Track.
Newsday asked if he was feeling the vibe to repeat his success last year at International Soca Monarch. He replied that many people had asked him that.
“When you have a great hit, how do you follow that?” he mulled aloud. Recalling Kees Dieffenthaller’s Savannah Grass, Machel Montano’s Famalay and his own Run With It, Mapp said, “Those songs were monsters, worldwide monster soca hits. So how do you expect to follow that?”
He said soca artistes like himself were now put in the same position as Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt having run his best-ever race and then being asked to top that feat. Mapp said things fluctuate and so artistes must see where the musical styles were heading.
“The songs this year are also good. The year is starting a bit slow in TT.”
He said after winning in 2019, he has had an amazing year, with his hits repeatedly played on top US reality TV show, Housewives of Atlanta.
“The world is looking to us for help for the vibes. Hats off to soca. Well done, artistes.”
He thanked fans, friends and family for their support.
“Big up Grenada and Mum!”
He said that after winning in 2019, everything in his life has grown.
“It’s been a very exciting year, very tiring. The year has been a great year, an extremely great year.”
Asked if dancehall music should be excluded from Carnival, Mapp made it clear those criticisms had come from a different artiste, Trinidad Killa, not him. Saying it was a touchy subject, Mapp said dancehall and soca each have their times of the year and at Carnival soca should be dominant, although dancehall should get a look in.
“If someone wants to play two dancehall songs, personally I would not have a problem.”
His reasoning was that Jamaica, the home of dancehall, has shown much love to the music of places like TT and Grenada.
“In TT Carnival, soca is dominant, but I don’t think I should lock out of a brother. I think it’s supposed to be one love, one Caribbean.”
He said many dancehall sings have “a little soca flavour” and so it was fine to play a dancehall song between two groovy soca songs.
He supported the inclusion of specific dancehall songs that lifted the dancing mood at Carnival events.
Mapp related the success of Run With It, saying each song has its own effect on people.
“We launched it ‘today’ and by the end of the week we had videos from worldwide (presumably of fans acting out the lyrics of his song.)”
Mapp said when his song played, no fights took place in any party.
“People who might usually fight in the party were picking up things together.”
He saw soca as taking over, as it does not preach violence. Run With It had been a way for people to shake off all the stress in their lives, he said.
“In soca you must always stay on the positive side of things. Never include violence in soca.”
Asked his strategy for pushing his 2020 offering Soca Storm, Mapp replied, “My performance pushed soca storm. Our song now is at category three. There are new productions to cause it into category four, and maybe category five before Soca Monarch. In Trinidad, there will be some dread storm hunters.”
He urged all such fans to ready their rags.
Saying soca means the “soul of calypso,” he said, “Soca can ignite a feeling we have lost, to make you feel strong, free and happy. I created that song to ignite that in people.”
Mapp said the first few lines of Soca Storm are almost scriptural by relating how a storm can remove barriers.
“When the soca breeze blow, All them knees shall fall, Bad mind fence and barrier, You shall bring the power.”
FORMER health minister Dr Fuad Khan on Tuesday vowed to go “down to the wire” against International Soca Monarch Hollice “Mr Killa” Mapp on Khan's claims that Carnival music degrades women.
Lamenting the domestic killing of three women this year, Khan had recently said such music demeans women as sexual objects, so men feel okay to degrade them.
Mapp, at a briefing on Monday, had scoffed at Khan’s claims, saying, “Did he smoke? You never hear a soca saying to beat someone or kill anybody. I don't know how he made a connection.”
Khan in a Facebook post on Tuesday hit back at Mapp.
“Do you realise, Mr Killa, that your name is synonymous with violence?”
Saying no fisherman says his fish is rotten, Khan said it is Mapp’s right to state his views, but Khan added he had the same right.
Saying his remarks were for women’s protection, Khan said he never imagined they would create such an uproar.
Khan lamented that after his remarks he had faced a lot of racist abuse online, but said he also had a lot of silent support, just like US President Donald Trump. Arguing that Carnival music can engender certain behaviour, his post included a scantily clad woman wining provocatively on a mattress at a Carnival fete.
“Men, don’t listen to the lyrics and take it literally. They are selling a product.”
Khan told Newsday he had never expected the level of abuse he had got online, saying, “It is terrible.”
Vowing to not back down, he said, “A lot of people called me to thank me for opening up the debate.”
He said some songs send subliminal messages about the denigration of women’s bodies, with some women believing things sung about them and with some men feeling they have rights over a woman. He said he had not singled out soca but referred to Carnival music, and said some dancehall hits are likewise.
Newsday asked about his critics saying no-one listens to a song and then beats a woman. Khan replied, “You do not hear a song and beat a woman right away but it is embedded in your subconscious.”
He explained that the human brain has an advanced part and a primitive part.
“Certain music speaks to your primitive brain.
“It is a long-term effect. If you hear this thing day by day it becomes embedded in your subconscious, that in the right environment you are going to explode.”
Khan said the general demeaning of women and the acute stress of a breakup could trigger a burst of murderous rage in a man.
“Domestic violence is an extension of a set of things. Music is there all the time and you are being conditioned on a daily basis. Music is used to subliminally change people’s behaviour.”
He said his critics were a small minority who shout the loudest on social media, while a large majority stay silent.
Asked if he regretted his remarks given the barrage of criticism directed to him, Khan replied no.
“I’ll take the barrage, because I love Carnival.”
He related the wonders of Peter Minshall’s Saga Boy and Tan Tan, Kees Dieffenthaller’s Savannah Grass, Nadia Batson’s Long Time Me No See You and Ras Shorty-I’s Watch Out My Children.
“That’s why I am continuing it. I’ll go down to the wire.”
In contrast, Khan said “waste of time songs” could not be taken to the world.
“All these disgusting lyrics are fostered on us by the soca mafia, The Mighty Duke spoke about this (the late Cecil Pope, four-time Calypso King.) “It is the soca mafia that is against me, because I’m interfering with their system.”
Khan implored people to understand that a musical performance is just a portrayal and is not reality. He said youngsters who have heard negative music for their 15-20 years of life will think that is all that exists. Khan feared tourists stop visiting TT if Carnival is now mainly music trucks blaring out "disgusting lyrics."