Home / Live Wire / A Massive Count?! Live Wire considers underlying issue as Gosein takes Rowley’s mudda for a ride

A Massive Count?! Live Wire considers underlying issue as Gosein takes Rowley’s mudda for a ride

It is crude, simple and catchy and it references a part of the female anatomy that has caused more men to be laid off in recent times than low gas prices.

Mr Live Wire is talking, of course, about Nermal “Massive” Gosein’s Carnival 2018 song “Rowlee Mother Count,” a song as empty and as meaningless as the criticism it has provoked.

If PNM Women’s League chair Camille Robinson-Regis and National Chutney Foundation president Dr Vijay Ramlal really believe Massive’s song is an insult to mothers across the country, then they must also think Lord Blakie was promoting animal cruelty with “Hold de Pussy” and the late Mighty Duke brought the weather forecasting business into disrepute with “Thunder.”

Photo: The cover photo for Nermal “Massive” Gosein’s controversial song, “Rowlee mudda count.”

If Arrive Alive was around in the 1980s, would they have condemned Drupatee’s “Lick Down Mih Nani?” Probably not.

It is getting to the point where, before attempting to start a sensible conversation, one must first ask all politicians to leave the room please.

It is not that Camille—and others—do not have a legitimate reason to be turned off by Massive’s song. It is just that when dishonesty has been your first language for long enough, your impulse to patronise supporters sidelines your ability to think.

Just to be clear, “mudda” talk has about as much to do with mothers as hot dogs have to do with canines. Which is why no school boy ever went home and told mammy: “Well, I had a great day but you should hear what Jason was saying about you… Do you know him?”

So if it isn’t demeaning to women, then what is wrong with “Rowlee Mother Count?”

Well, nothing…and everything!

Now Mr Live Wire has not written a calypso since Standard Five but I will hazard a guess that Massive’s song started with the chorus, which itself is hardly a work of art. Sadly, it only got worse from there.

Photo: Soca chutney singer Nermal “Massive” Gosein.

Had Rowley’s mother, for instance, counted the number of non-functioning national stadia in the country, even as the government looks to begin construction of a new one in Diego Martin, well, Massive might have been on to something.

If Rowley’s mother was counting the number of people murdered—a statistic as troublesome under this government as it was under the People’s Partnership—Massive’s offering might be worth a listen.

If Rowley’s mother was counting the number of times the PNM blamed its predecessors without proving its case where it counts or at least closing the loopholes that made misbehaviour possible in the first place, hoss, Massive might be headed for the Big Yard.

Instead, Massive starts and ends with an obscene, frustrated yelp that he impotently dresses up with a quizzical tale of Rowley’s mother falling victim to praedial larceny. And then he has the gall to demand the protection of artistic license.

If “Rowlee Mother Count” is art, then Anthony Garcia is a lumberjack.

The image of a woman in ‘blackface’ playing Rowley’s mother in Massive’s video further highlights the utter emptiness—moral and otherwise—of this offering. When even Sat Maharaj can’t defend you, there really isn’t much more to be said, is there?

Remarkably, amid the shrill and counter-shrieking, it was the Maha Sabha General Secretary who made the most sensible statement.

Photo: SDMS Secretary Sat Maharaj gesticulates.
(Copyright Power 102)

“I object to any song being offensive and I equally object to any speech that is offensive,” Maharaj told the Trinidad Express. “[…] If we intend to start pulling songs, then we have to start pulling some of the songs that went before, all the songs.

“I have no problems with calypsonians or chutney singers making political pronouncements in their songs, but when it crosses the line of good behaviour, of obscenity, then I raise objection and I also raise objection to people who conveniently are offended.”

Calypso and soca music are not inherently racist or sexist. But let’s be honest, for far too long, a racist and sexist fringe has found safe, comfortable lodgings there—like the grown man who won’t leave his parents home and is writing “don’t drink me” notes on his juice boxes right now as if he is in Alice in Wonderland!

It was just six years ago, after all, that Weston “Cro Cro” Rawlins appeared in the Calypso Monarch finals singing about “Lick-bottom Africans.” Racist ideology is often shared in far subtler terms, though.

Consider Gypsy’s “Little Black Boy” song, which won him the Calypso Monarch crown in 1997.

“There was ah little black boy, ah black boy was he,

The boy when to school and come out duncy

Never learn how to read, never learn about math,

Never learn how to write, he never study bout that.

All he study was he sneakers, he sneakers and clothes

He learn how to dress and he learn how to pose

Now he can’t get no work, can’t get no job.

He decide to steal and he decide to rob.

But little black boy couldn’t last long at all;

The police put ah bullet though he duncy head skull…”

Photo: You mean to tell me nobody check to see if Gypsy mudda does count too?

Had Massive sung “Little Black Boy,” would he have been feted, cheered and begged for encores? Did Gypsy get away with it because, although he is a dougla, he had just enough Afro features to make his composition seem self-deprecatory rather than like racial profiling?

Can an artistic work be deemed either racist or acceptable based upon the race of the artist? And would that be progress or the opposite of it?

There is much that we have to talk about in Trinidad and Tobago as regards race, sex, class and even State-sponsored censorship—Gosein complained that he was warned of a possible financial backlash for his song by entities reliant on taxpayers’ dollars.

But it’s hard to get started without political fanatics jumping in to fog up the conversation.

And no, Camille, that was not a weather forecast.

About Mr. Live Wire

Mr. Live Wire
Mr. Live Wire is an avid news reader who translates media reports for persons who can handle the truth. And satire. Unlike Jack Nicholson, he rarely yells.

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323 comments

  1. Lasana on a very serious and more substantive note, the tone of the calypsoes should send a plaintive warning about the issues and struggles in TT.

  2. Ironic that two of the four calypsonians so far mentioned “count” in their renditions on Dimanche Gras night.

  3. INTERMISSION Dr R
    on Point No time for foolishness.

  4. Can you imagine if the CJ was invited to Ato tea party….they would have to ban the song too

  5. “Of course, it could have been worse. Sport Minister Darryl Smith might have called to offer couples therapy.” Lol Lasana, Why yuh so?

  6. sooooo anyone doing the cost accounting behind the CSM? id like to know where the real costs are

  7. Lasana, this whole flicking mess could have been avoided if we didn’t have this ridiculous custom of giving private entrepreneurs taxpayer money to promote Soca and Chutney Monarch competitions that they keep the profits of.

    But watch eh, almost NOBODY will acknowledge that because we prefer to create situations that inevitably lead to bachannal in Trinidad.

  8. First, “Massive” Gosein is allowed to compete in the Chutney Soca Monarch. Then the Ministry of Finance cancels sponsorship of the event.
    Does anyone think those two things are linked? Or not?

  9. Here’s the question… Can those two stories about Massive Gosein being allowed to compete in the Chutney Soca Monarch and the competition losing funding from NLCB be linked?

  10. Mr gosein would you please go to a primary school for the carnival season next year and sing your song along with the kids…..cro cro and sugar aloes and even bubbles did it.. after all it’s just political commentary

  11. “When they go low; u go high.”
    “Sticks and stones could break my bones, but words….”

  12. Do so don’t like so a bunch of hypocrites now the shoe on the other foot people bumping they gum what about all those songs that were song before degenerating other people they were shouting and clapping pure hypocrisy

  13. sing on brother, let the idiots continue to pontificate and contemplate on where they have brought us…

  14. The obscenities always target women

  15. Steeeeeups all yuh forget murder rate almost 500… a dead naked woman found yesterday…..steeeeups dis place

  16. Aye hear nah, all joke aside, people really calling Massive song a road march song. I’m not seeing radio djs giving that shit, ah mean song too much airplay. I guess he hadda depend on the goodwill of the road djs. Either way…….not happening!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Stueps, I still tryna figure out what all the hubbub is about. It’s a song. It will pass just like the others. Politicians stoking fires, meanwhile we have serious problems to address, the least of which is this song

  18. I don’t believe this shit everybody’s mother’s. Count!!!

  19. Does anybody see how the murder rate fir December alone is 50 and so many murders daily , the song is another distraction being used to deflect from a failing state

  20. Its ok for other calypspnians to sing about Panday Oma Kamla and d rest who are not PNM, but its not ok for someone to sing about PNM. How bias and unfair.

  21. Song have nothing to do with Rowley mother..

  22. We know your History shit stain.. Your father is your brother.. You in bread . talk bout your mother/sister.. Dress up a pig any how you want. It is still a pig.. You hater.. You have to walk with that (hate) in your chest.. I am sure it makes you a better human being.. NOT.. You big peace a shit

  23. Possible the comment of the day… Arguably the perfect counterbalance to the PNM Women’s League’s response, which pretends that mothers are under attack. Both are amusingly dishonest in my opinion.

  24. You said that a boy wouldn’t tell his mother that ah boy in school was talking about her…… But a boy like me would have gotten into a fight if a boy even think about my mother… Big man thing
    ONE MORE THING
    WHY DID HE USE ‘BLACKFACE’ IN HIS MUSIC VIDEO??????????
    DOES HE KNOW HOW OFFENSIVE THAT IS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    • Lasana Liburd

      My belief is it is a phrase to get under the skin of the person it is directed at. That’s why you will tell someone that at a traffic light although you don’t know if they have a mother or not or if their relationship with their mother is good or not. It is not literally an insult to the person’s mother.

  25. This is a backward and stupid song just like all the others you mentioned. People seem to like mediocrity. Hence the reason why this is even a topic.

  26. Only a historical and cultural retard would use the ‘black face’ in 2017 and not expect a serious backlash.. Massive Gosine better be glad that he is safely tucked away in TnT. In other parts of the world he would have to go into hiding.

  27. the song have Noting bad comparing to what those others calypsonians sings

  28. I also believe that this is the level of Massive intelligence.

  29. I believe the song represents the tireless effort of a mother working to provide for her family. It is not demeaning to mothers but very uplifting.

  30. I think this whole country going mad

  31. Sing your song bro and forget them black jacket white jacket hypocrites

  32. Let us pray for a better Trinidad&Tobago.

  33. And yeah, what about A + V Drilling and all the other bullshit.

  34. I’ve just read all of these comments. The song is wrong and the countless songs before it are wrong. Yes they say calypso is an artform, and chutney as well. However, this goes way back. Sparrows “Ah never eat ah WHITE meat yet”. This is racism at it’s finest, and from how long ago. I’m looking for someone to give us studio time, and I’m bringing in a big name singer, and guess what people, we’re going to do a remake of Sparrows song. “Ah never eat ah BLACK meat yet”. Yuh think ah WHITE person singing this song and switching every white word with black, and vice-versa. I would be considered the most racist person around, and furthermore, the song will never make the airwaves. So Trinidad and Tobago, yuh really can’t have yuh cake and eat it too. It’s either a total ban and censorship of all of these song’s, or no censorship at all.
    And while we’re at it, what’s the story with these women’s groups. Silent on so many things including Rowley’s utterances disrespecting women and Balgobins legal issue within Angostura and the retired judge making a lone decision. Just some food for thought.

  35. Lest yiu forget (or didn’t know)Every day , Every day is Mother’s day

  36. The song is nonsense, the effort to write it was lazy and all who find it entertaining really need to ask themselves why are they so easily amused. No matter which part of the political fence you choose to sit this song is nonsense. And many others that were song before were also nonsense. Lack of imagination.

  37. For those who are concerned about principle,values etc. All these years when calypsonians were singing about other people u had nothing to say.in fact u saif it was d art form.now what happen to d art form.this had to happen .i hope we can learn and move forward.

  38. I love Massive Gosine song. Its just a chutney for god’s sake. Lighten up people. This is Trinidad and its a freedom of speech and song country.

  39. This is the art form. For those who dont like it. Just replace rowlee with kamla. Ah sure u will like it now.

  40. Lasana I never knew Gypsy was a dougla I always thought it was jerry curls when I saw him last that’s how it looked his hair that is!!! Lol

  41. I still say those women groups are a set of hypocrites.

  42. Agreed the song is a failed artistic skills and empty…not even melodic….steups

  43. Strange that the people condemning this song had nothing to say when Cro Cro and Sugar Aloes were relentlessly attacking one section of our population

  44. I think Rowley should be concentrating on things far more important than calypso, after all, his country is in an economic CRISIS, and we haven’t had a commissioner that wasn’t from Hollywood since way back when!

  45. That sewer “song” says everything we need to know about the singer and his supporters. That is why this country is reeling under the weight of its wicked citizens.

    • I really think we have to stop seeing everything as “us” and “them” with one side being inherently better than the other.
      We have common problems here. They are the same no matter your race or party.

  46. Just saw another theory that the PNM is beating the Massive issue (I almost said the mudda count issue oui!) so as to distract from the issue of their ministers in porn.
    But nothing I’ve seen of PNM ministers in recent weeks comes remotely close to porn.
    It is just another example of people whispering silly things into our ears to whip us in a frenzy. Don’t let politicians tell you (us) how to think. Ever.
    It will lead to ruin.

  47. To much hypocrites in t&t yes!!

  48. This country is divided along racial lines. We are our own worst enemies may God help us.

  49. This is not kaiso ,either you are too young or you have not been exposed to a true exponent of the art form,reminds me of Watchman….double entendre….A joke,go back and play a Spoiler

  50. Short Pants, Michael Samuel, Kizzie Ruiz, Duane O’Connor… Only if you feel up to it. Lol.

  51. I await a real calypsonian’s take on this. There is the potential for a good commentary on this commentary.

  52. And while you all arguing over something that is clearly politically motivated, a boat still haven’t been procured for Tobago sea bridge, A&V Drilling still high and dry with $$ , the money from THA gone to the wrong account that’s still ‘ unknown’ and so much more… nice distraction eh

  53. The song is a ‘shit’ song…but I was inquisitive and listened to it…
    If he changed it to ‘Rowlee Murder Count’ he may be somewhat relavant

  54. A wrong is a wrong ,we cannot use a wrong to justify a wrong,as they say two wrongs…..I witnessing the degeneration of my country

  55. That guy might be setting himself up!

  56. This is the land of kaiso cro cro and the pnm should support you

  57. Like you all find your voice after all the years of degrading calypso about the opposition when they were in government . Is rowley what hurting you all.we jamming still.

  58. Mr. Panchoo the word if says it all but they didn’t.

  59. We are almost into 2018. Lawlessness is out of control ; we need to start pushing more positive messages if we want to move our country forward.

  60. If sugar alloes or cro cro sing a song about your mudda no body would have say anything but massive song hit them hard .

  61. If you want to sing about Rowley do so but don’t bring his mother in it

  62. The society is on edge .. and as usual we use ‘race’ as our trump card in 2018 as people are very quick to take offence now at something that years ago would have been deemed to be a bit of satire and double entendre. But social media has given everyone a stage to voice their objections as you talked about Blakie calypso .. “Hold the Pussy” … but now the ‘leaders’ want to get more ‘stage time’ than the singer ..

  63. The big difference here is that you have identified Rowley and his mother for denigration. But when the PM say he not indulging in Jamettery all the women groups want to kill him but have no problem with denigrating Rowlees mother. What a bunch of hypocrites.

  64. Why call the name Rowley ? Do you have a mother? Have you no principles, respect or values? I will pray for you, blessings!!!☘

  65. I believe that the song/situation has exposed the underbelly of Trinidad and Tobago tribal influences.

  66. I don’t know. I looked at the video and listened to the song and while I have to conclude it is a shit song (he and Iwer could battle for the title) I didn’t think it warranted all the attention. Politicians have always been fair game for ridicule at carnival time. It’s not that different from “Paul yuh mudda come”. Directing it at the PM himself might be distasteful but over the years so many politicians name jump up in picong. Even the Dame Lorraine character was ho hum for me. Don’t know why he went with blackface as opposed to just using a dark skinned woman. Maybe he just couldn’t get one on his budget. I hardly think he set out to send a message with the blackface. I don’t think Trini people all that sensitive about “blackface”. We accustomed to black paint at carnival time and minstrels etc. It’s such a nonsensical song about counting produce. It just giving Massive airplay.

    • Actually it probably won’t give Massive airplay on any station that hopes to get Govt ads.

    • I’m glad you said it, yes. Read the comments above about who racist etc..sigh

    • Blackface is racist. When you do it, you open yourself up to that accusation. Best to apologise promptly and plead ignorance if you didn’t mean it.
      So Savitri, you’re saying that people are racist for calling Nermal racist on whatever thread?

    • I know blackface in itself is racist. But somehow because an integral part of our carnival involves people painting their faces black I think the concept itself goes over our heads. I just don’t see it as offensive in this context as if it were depicted in a movie or a play or something other than carnival. But that’s just me. Just like the dame Lorraine. I See a carnival character not a deliberate insult to big bottom black women.

    • Savitri I don’t really understand your comment above “you’re glad I said it”. As opposed to someone else saying it?? And saying what? That it’s a shit song not worth the massive discussion?

    • I caught the Dame Lorraine reference. Rowley is Tobagonian. So it made sense.
      Truth is that it is hard work being PC in this millennium. I won’t pretend otherwise. He should just apologise for the caricature and move on. Better that then to have the debate drag on because it isn’t helping him either.
      I’m sure he’d prefer people focus on the song as opposed to the video.

  67. “Just to be clear, “mudda” talk has about as much to do with mothers as hot dogs have to do with canines.”

    If “mudda talk” had nothing to do with mothers then there wouldn’t be such a focus on ‘muddas.’ Let’s not play smart with foolishness, ‘fadda’ talk, sister talk or bredda talk just isn’t as insulting. There is a reason why mothers are targeted and precisely why many find the song so offensive. I won’t even comment further on the video and its depiction of the use of blackface and the gross caricatures of the black female anatomy.

  68. whats the real issue though; the Lyrical content or the Video, or both? Because ive heard worst that was accepted and played over the airwaves in the last 1 years

  69. Of course we forget! The complete conversation has been one of convenience .

  70. Good read!!! Loved how you ended fogging up the place… complete with non-weather forecast disclosure

  71. Lasana Liburd how long did it take to write this piece?

  72. Remember this photo from PNM family day?

  73. So what’s new? It’s near carnival and therefore bacchanal, is expected. I can’t believe this is what we talking about. Why? What’s offensive? How many of us listen to Eddie Murphy crude jokes or Richards Pryor and laugh whereby these individuals made jokes about white people and Chinese and by the way we do it. Why are giving this person all this importance?

  74. I thinks it’s more than a fringe tho…

  75. We are really not about substance anymore just unhinged thought processes and poor logic. When the CJ made his foolish judge appoints causing many cases to be in disarray nobody bats an eye , the CJ might be in a gay love triangle with a con artist everybody ears perk up! Massive Gosine shows the shallowness of his mind and emptiness of those who love the song.

  76. Just saw the video but I had to read the comments……whoo sah. As a fellow Trinidadian why fight amongst ourselves, we should come together and fight against corruption and crime rather than bringing down each other.
    To be honest I see nothing wrong with the song because this is the land of piong, however, disrespecting someone’s mother is wrong whether whatever race you are. Using the blackface in the video shows racism, he may not have done it intentionally people whether he is UNC or PNM.

    P.S I am against racism and I despise it. Can’t we all just get along?

  77. WIRE..this commentary was class all the way..subtle touches, flowing drives and solid pulls on both sides of the racial divide…
    #UNITY…

  78. Wait…
    Hot dogs have nothing to do with canines?

  79. Savitri,pls read my comment carefully.I never said he was ”IndoTrini/UNC. Read again my sister.

  80. Savitri,I made my comments based on my 55 years of living in this country.I made my comments based on the comments from listeners to Power 102 fm,I 95.5 fm,Sangeet 106.5,90.5 fm etc..I trust that the aforementioned answered your question.

  81. Lasana,lookout ,derailment is approaching(lol)

  82. While Massive Gosine cannot be equated to Cro Cro ,in terms of lyrical talent,he is to the Indo Trini/UNC what Cro Cro is to the Afro Trini/PNM. Until we can have a national conversation on race relations throughout the length and breadth of Trinidad and Tobago,we will continue to have these discussions.

  83. Yuh know I din listen to this song until they opened their jaws, but just checking, the song has had 65K hits so far. Suddenly everyone offended

  84. There is nothing in that hodge podge of words,written by Gosein,to deserve all this national attention.