‘King Generic’ rules over political, edgy calypso at the 2012 Crucian Christmas Festival

In a raucous night of biting political commentary and apparent in-fighting among the calypsonians themselves, Morris “King Generic” Benjamin swept the competition and the 2012 Crucian Christmas Festival Monarch crown – along with two other titles as well, as Danile Shea reports for The Virgin Islands Daily News.

King Generic put forth two entertaining and lively performances with politicians and everyone who put them in office in the crosshairs of his lyrics. Based on the point values announced at the end, he easily defeated the other seven competitors in Thursday night’s contest, also taking home the prizes for the Most Humorous and Best Political performances.

Many of the competitors went after local politicians harshly – and it was those who focused on this subject who pleased audience and judges alike. Some of the most common themes dealt with the 8 percent salary cuts, layoffs, the $6.9 million in misspent funds outlined in an audit of the V.I. Legislature, the cost of energy and the lack of work – along with any number of general corruption claims.

In his first performance, “Looking for Jack,” King Generic walked out on stage in a gray suit with a black, devil’s tail trailing behind him. In the song, he went after senators, who had not given him “jack.”

“Instead of cutting back and spending wisely, they say, ‘No way, you ‘ain’t getting jack from me,’ ” King Generic sang.

The three backup vocalists sang the refrain – “I can’t find Jack” – as King Generic went through a list of senators to ask.

“Nobody listen to me,” he sang. “We need some help right here in this country.”

In his second song, “Stop Da Bawling,” King Generic told everyone to stop lining up and crying about what is going on and do something about it.

“Line up, line up – don’t start to cry,” went the refrain.

Temisha “Caribbean Queen” Libert, the only woman to compete Thursday, won second place. Caribbean Queen came out with two lively and unique performances, though the songs’ messages seemed to be contradictory.

The first was a catchy tune about how politicians have worn down her trust in community action and unity, a song called “No Mo Ah Dis ‘We’ Ting.”

“For six years, he screwed we over, but I taking it no more,” Caribbean Queen sang – and sang very well. “No more of this pulling together and working together. All of that done.

“No more of this ‘we’ ting, now it’s just a ‘me’ thing.”

She then went after the senators for the auditor’s findings, pointing out the misuse of public funds to travel to Italy and other places.

“Politicians used to love calypso,” Caribbean Queen sang, before noting that almost none were visibly present near the front by the stage, where they often used to sit to be recognized. “Now tonight they afraid to show they face. You can’t see them here.”

The second song, called “Get On Board,” seemed to encourage the “we ting,” by telling people to stick together to make change happen.

“Get on board, Crucian people,” she sang. “If you want to save these islands, then come on people, get on board.”

Samuel “Mighty Pat” Ferdinand took third place for a political song called “No 8%” and a second in which he told his son to be his own man and think for himself – though in it he used politicians as examples of how not to be.

“Cost of living so high, to feed our children sometimes we just have to cry. Sometimes we can’t pay our rent. Now they want to take 8 percent?” sang Mighty Pat.

He went on to question reducing pay for police officers, nurses and teachers.

“I say the government’s gone crazy,” he sang. “How you gone take 8 percent from them? We have a problem.”

In his second song, “My Confession,” Mighty Pat advised his son to be wary of people and to be his own man.

“Me son, have a mind of your own and don’t worry about what people tell you,” he sang. “Some of them will put you on a pedestal and then pull you down again.”

Outside of politics, the other theme seemed to be directed at the calypso competitions themselves and one successful calypsonian in particular: the reigning champion, Campbell “King Kan” Barnes. Both Llewellyn Westerman and Kasaun “K Force” Baptiste performed songs aimed at King Kan and the judging that has led to his recent wins, which included being named monarch at last year’s St. Thomas Carnival.

For his efforts, K Force was named Most Improved calypsonian on Thursday. In his first song, “Ah Toilet,” K Force went directly at King Kan – with a toilet on stage that had “King Kan” written on the toilet seat.

“Your mouth smell like a toilet, toilet, toilet,” went the song.

In his second song, “That is Lyrics,” K Force made a farce of the fact that the only way to win the crown was by singing about politics.

“If you want to win a calypso crown, you have to sing a political song,” he sang.

Westerman’s first song, “The Big Bust,” took a similar shot at King Kan.

“But how many points they giving for person?” Westerman sang, implying that King Kan won for being a “big celebrity.”

While King Kan’s first song outlined why he felt we live in a “Retarded Society” – “some people don’t go to the PTA, but they never miss a game of the NBA” – his second song defended himself against the others’ attacks as the “One Rooster in de Hen House.”

Cedric “Spade” Brookes took offense at the public in-fighting, saying “They Killing Calypso.”

“What get me angry and in such a rage is when they bring their dirty laundry on this stage,” he sang.

Spade first took on politicians and then a couple of his fellow competitors in his two songs. As the first performer, he set the tone and the bar for many of the performers focused on the political situation with his song, “Oh God, John.”

In the song, Spade focused on Gov. John deJongh Jr. and the austerity measures proposed, as well as the Legislature audit.

“Right now, we in a deficit and some of you helped create it with your thiefing and taking for personal gain,” he sang. “Our own politicians are robbing us without a gun.”

Finally, Lariel “The Teacher” Gerard sang a pair of songs – the first of which was “We Are Our Own Enemy,” in which he told listeners that the community’s inability to work together was the major problem.

“We get deJongh, but who vote for he?” he asked. “We our own enemy.”

For the original report go to http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/king-generic-rules-over-political-edgy-calypso-1.1254158#ixzz1ikBkJm00

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