Gbarnga, Bong County — Hipco is rewriting the political history books for Liberia's 2017 presidential elections. From young Seekie Ray jamming for Joseph Boakai to Christoph The Change, TeddyRide, Soul Fresh and Margas hitting the studios for Benoni Urey and the All Liberian Party, some of the major presidential contenders are turning to HIPCO in a bid to woo voters and spice up their campaign trails.
Hipco is a blend of rap and pop music performed in colloquial and indigenous languages across the country, with a generation of artists a creating their own style of uniquely Liberian rap music. The music is usually performed in Liberian English or the local vernacular, using the style of communication with which Liberians speak and relate to each other. Hipco evolved in the 1980s and has always had a social and political bent.
In Gbarnga, Bong County Saturday, it was no exception as several top recording artists hit the stage to warm up the crowd before Mr. Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress came on to deliver his message to his supporters.
Entertainers including Jonathan Koffa alias Takun J, Eric D. Torh popularly known as Eric Geso, Nasse man and Rokenzy G. Smith alias Mr. Smith, Lib Money and others Saturday stormed Mr. Cummings' campaign to rally support.
Under the banner Liberian Musicians for Cummings, the musician pledged their total support for the election of the standard bearer of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) for his support to the growth of the musical industry in the country.
They reaffirmed their pledge in Gbarnga, Bong County's capital, during the presidential rally of Cummings.
According to the musicians, Cummings has supported them morally and financially through which upcoming entertainers got both local and international recognition.
Performing his hit song "They lied to us" in which he accused the government of failing to deliver promises made to citizens of Liberia, Takun J, who's also legislative candidate running on ticket of ANC in District Eight, Monsterrado County, while acknowledging what Cummings has done for musicians said, with ANC as the ruling party in Liberia, Liberians were sure of better days.
"ANC is the party, if you know what has happened in musical industry in recent times, it is the power of ANC that has supported us. Alexander Cummings and Ambassador Jeremiah are the only people that have supported us. They have sent us for training, they have given us money to make movies, and they have blessed us. The blessing we have today is courtesy of ANC.
"If you want the continuation of the hardship in the country, vote ANC. If you want listen to more music, vote ANC," Takun J said.
Takun J, who prides himself as the king of HIPCO - a Liberia-like music - remains a die-hard fan of Cummings. The entertainer has been touring the nook and crannies of the country with the ANC standard bearer in all his rallies.
Eric Geso, has never for once hidden his support for the presidential bid of Cummings. For him, the election of Cummings is the beginning of Liberia's journey to Promised Land.
He promised to use his music to convince Liberians how important the Cummings presidency could mean for the country. "I am confident that my fans will see the need to vote the ANC. I will use my songs to sensitize citizens about what it means for the Cummings presidency. We need change and I believe she is coming with Cummings."
Mr. Smith, Lib Money, speaking with FrontPageAfrica, said: "He deserves a chance to lead Liberia. This is a man who has good intentions for Liberia. He is by no means a perfect man but he means well. We must continue to believe in this great nation of ours. Liberia belongs to us. He needs our help and we should not let him down at a time like this when he needs our votes to get the job done," he said.
The presidential rally arena was filled with supporters and famous celebrities in Liberia.
This year's election seems to tear Liberia's musical industry apart as opinions are divided among entertainers.
Almost all entertainers have been declaring their ambitions for almost all the presidential aspirants while some entertainers would rather prefer to remain neutral while campaigning for a free, fair and credible election.