Artist: Runtown
Song: Mad Over You
Year: 2016


Nigerian singer Runtown’s voice was first impressed upon Ghanaian ears back in 2015, on Gallardo, via the shoulders of fellow Afropop act Davido. The latter, because of what impact his Dami Duro (released October 2011) had made on the streets here, was by now not merely a visitor, but a favoured family friend. His hyperactive demeanour, and the permanently wearied tone of his voice, were now fine to us. His sound, like many of his colleagues, was popular in Accra. And so while Gallardo is a glorious  club classic by itself, Davido’s contribution therein was added validation.

Last December, Runtown was in Ghana performing on enviable stages as Citi FM’s Decemba 2 Remember concert, and rap icon Sarkodie’s annual Christmas day concert, Rapperholic 2016. Then, as is now, his  Mad Over You was the most spun Nigerian song on our airwaves, at parties and at clubs. Mr. Eazi (who has essentially been Ghanaian since his teenage years), chanteuse NanaYaa, and reggae singer Ras Kuku, have all lent vocals unto remixes/covers –needless to say that that list is being updated by the day.

Produced by respected music architect Ayodele Basel (known in Nigerian music circles as Del B, and whom Ghana knows due t this work on such songs as KCee’s Limpopo, and Wizkid’s On Top Your Matter), Mad Over You arrives in a cadence of  pukka West African warmth and comfort, with the cunningly familiar ka ka ka -ka ka  highlife timing which effortlessly lends itself to the replay button.

Flutes, kongas, and a unique constant note which shall neither solely pass for a keyboard placement nor a whistle, all contribute to the beautiful form of the song, which is dedicated to the Ghanaian woman, ultimately. Now, there may be commercial intentions there (for an artist trying to make a living, that’s just fair), but more than that, the may be trying to connect with that liberal vibe that Ghana’s air contains…and Ghana”s vibe is the gateway to all things Afrobeats.  

Local references  stamp Mad Over You all over –not “chale”, which has all but lost its essence as a result of  overuse –but terms like Waakye (a loved staple made from rice and beans, garnished with spaghetti, tomato stew, gari, and an assortment of proteins), and shitor (pepper sauce which tops the meal). These terms, and therefore the vibe, have always been accessible to the wider world, but have lately been enhanced afresh by Ghana- based colleague and hook master Mr. Eazi, who days ago, came under a hurricane of verbal attacks for this observation of Ghanaian groove in the “Naija sound”. That will take care of itself, so let’s focus on Mad Over You

Ghana girl say she wan marry me o
I hope say she sabi cook Waakye
Hope your love dey sweet pass shitor

I think I know why Runtown opts for Waakye, and not Jollof, in the song, even though Jollof is the most sacred of all Ghanaian delicacies and go-to term for issues pertaining to Ghanaian holiness and inner peace: while both countries claim to be better custodians of of the meal which originated from Senegambia, there’s absolutely no debate about who owns Waakye, which is loved in equal measure (well, not quite in equal measure, but loved nonetheless), on the subregion. His song is a tribute about Ghana, and he’s not looking to be ambiguous in his praise. Again, it might be a conscious effort to insulate himself from having to participate in the Jollof wars. I may be wrong, but this, I believe, is cogent inference arrived at as a result of painstaking thought, and on relatively low alcohol levels.

Published on December 7 on video sharing portal YouTube, the song has been watched over 4 million times already, which is a key modern metric for measuring  commercial success of a song.  It was directed by Clarence Peters of the famous Capital Dreams Pictures, spearheaded by the gem, Clarence Peters. Bold colours and glaring fashion, and irregular items expertly curated into art.

Mad Over You will be remembered fondly even decades after it has evaporated to become a relic, because there’s a hot new jam every week. But it makes it into favourable places in history because of the sheer majesty of its swing –more so in the heart of  the young Ghanaian woman, who can recite word for word, even without having actively committed Runtown’s song to memory.

At D2R 2016, when he came on as a surprise act, 3000 people went wild –over that one song! Many women, dressed in ways that always intrigues the red-blooded man, were up on their feet, significantly enthusiastic, and crying along to all parts of the song, in higher octave.  As an artist, it truly registers in your mind that your song is a hit if it is this affective on the fairer sex.

That girl for the corner
Tell somebody make them call am o
Way she dey whine am I see fire for her body o
And if she follow me go na enjoyment go kill am o


Listen to Mad Over You below:

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