Music Review: “Are U Aware” by Guru featuring Benji

Song: Are You Aware
Artiste: Guru ft. Benji
Producer: Ball J
Author: Kwame Dadzie

Introduction: I have decided to do a review of the recent controversial song by Guru. It is a song whose melodies for the chorus are familiar to the ears of most Africans and Ghanaians for that matter.

Instrumentation: The song is done in key E flat major in a 4/4 time signature. It employs percussions, guitars, keyboard, castanet, maracas and is in a mid – tempo highlife vein.

It is a great production but I think it could have been better. To start with, I wish the intro which was done with the lead guitar was done with a tuba because usually those are melodies for the bass parts of vocal or instrumental piece. Also, the bass line and the kicks were too light for my liking. The song would have been groovier if it had thicker bass line. Simply, the bass line doesn’t move me. Maybe I would be satisfied it was played by someone else.

Vocal Ability: Benji is not new to the industry. He has songs like ‘Adoma’ and has also been behind the scenes singing choruses for other artistes. He was the one that sang the chorus for Donzy’s ‘Crusade.’ In fact, his performance on ‘Are You Aware’ is awesome. You can’t fault Benji when it comes to singing.

Guru’s Rap: He does two verses on the song. Guru’s rap is nothing different from what I have known him for – same flow and style. Even though he touches on the subject matter, I believe as a fledged rapper he can do better. Some of his lines sound like: “I am in a hurry. Let me quickly do something and release it.” I mean certain lines are for amateur rappers.

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Message: The message is about people not getting married due to certain setbacks. Most people either have fears of getting married or are simply not well – resourced. Others, particularly women are also worried especially when they get into their thirties and that is when the pressure starts mounting on them.

The song is more or less a women’s song – it reflects what prayer the average unmarried Ghanaian woman says to God from MOPGA to Obinim’s Church. Hardly would a man say this prayer but the song tries to balance the equation. It does not tackle it only from the woman’s perspective so it doesn’t sound chauvinistic. It talks about how the young man also spends money on unnecessary things when they are unmarried and pray they get married.

Then it cautions people who cry for marriage on the things they do that keep them farther away from getting married.

Moral Orientation: ‘Are You Aware’ is not just for the feet. Apart from mirroring the musings of the unmarried man or woman, it also hints on what one needs to do to get into marriage and highlights the bad habits that are inhibitions to getting married.

Most people who are bugging God with marriage, do not live lives that prepare them for marriage. So this song goes beyond entertainment. It has serious didactic inclinations.

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The Controversy: One Divine Diamond on 22nd September, 2016 posted a short video in which she sang the chorus of Guru’s ‘Are You Aware.’ Few days later, Guru released this song.

Most Ghanaians are aware of Francis Agyei’s ‘Wasma’ song that has same melodies of the song and had even thought it was sampled from Francis Agyei. For those who had not heard Divine’s version anywhere before, it was new to them. But that version has been a jama song for a long time so some of us were not enthused about the video.

I found it quite funny when I heard the lady demand damages from Guru because Guru had used her words?

What even makes her argument flaccid is the fact that the melodies of the song she used are of from traditional Swahili song of unknown composer that emerged in the 1900s – so it is a public domain song.

Divine does not own the words to that song. Neither does she own the melodies so Guru owes her nothing even if it was her video that inspired his composition. Hence, if he decides to pay her anything, it will be out of his own volition or goodwill and not as a result any copyright infringement.

Conclusion: ‘Are You Aware’ is definitely a hit. It has catchy chorus and message. I rate it 79.99%

Click on the link below to listen to Guru’s ‘Are You Aware.’