Full Project – The study of asake’s selected songs – a phono-graphological analysis approach

Full Project – The study of asake’s selected songs – a phono-graphological analysis approach

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This study conducts a thorough phonographological analysis of Asake’s music, exploring the intricate interplay between language and sound in Afrobeat and popular music genres. The research aims to decipher how phonological elements, including rhyme patterns, sound repetition, and pronunciation, contribute to the artist’s creative expression. The study begins with a clear research problem: understanding the significance of phonology in Asake’s work. The objectives involve examining the phonological features, such as end rhymes and variations in pronunciation, and evaluating their alignment with the intended messages and emotional expressions within selected songs. Employing a qualitative research methodology, the analysis focuses on lyrics from Asake’s album, “Mr. Money with the Vibe.” Results reveal a rich tapestry of phonological choices, showcasing Asake’s ability to seamlessly blend colloquial and formal elements. The strategic use of repetition, particularly end rhymes, enriches the rhythmic and melodic dimensions of his music. The study concludes that Asake’s phonological choices significantly enhance the overall artistry of his music. Recommendations emphasize the importance of phonological awareness in songwriting, cultural authenticity, linguistic versatility, and consistency in aligning phonological elements with intended messages. Overall, this research contributes to a deeper understanding of the role of phonology in music, offering valuable insights for musicians and artists seeking to harness the power of language and sound in their creative endeavors.




1.0       Introduction

This chapter focuses on the general information which considers us about the background of the study, problematic areas, research questions, and objectives of the study, significance of the study, scope of the study and operational definition of terms.

1.1       Background of the Study

Phonological analysis is rooted in various theoretical frameworks, such as structural linguistics and generative phonology. Structural linguistics, as proposed by Ferdinand de Saussure, views language as a system of signs and focuses on the analysis of its structural components. Generative phonology, developed by Noam Chomsky and Morris Halle, emphasizes the underlying phonological representations and transformational rules that derive surface phonetic forms (Chomsky & Halle, 2016).

Phonological analysis employs a range of methodologies to investigate song patterns, (Ladefoged, 2013). These include phonetic transcription, acoustic analysis, perception studies, and experimental techniques. Phonetic transcription involves representing speech sounds using symbols to capture their precise articulatory and acoustic properties. Perception studies examine how listeners perceive and categorise sounds, shedding light on phonological contrasts and patterns. Experimental techniques, such as psycholinguistic experiments, provide insights into the cognitive processes underlying phonological perception and production (Ladefoged, 2013).

Nigerian music has deep historical roots that can be traced back to ancient civilisations. Traditional Nigerian music encompasses a wide range of genres, including Juju, Highlife, Fuji, and Afrobeat. Juju music, originating from the Yoruba people, combines elements of percussion, guitar, and vocal harmony. Highlife, influenced by Ghanaian palm-wine music, emerged in the early 20th century and became a popular genre across Nigeria. Fuji music, rooted in Yoruba traditions, features intricate drumming patterns and vocal improvisation. Afrobeat, pioneered by Fela Kuti, blends African rhythms, Jazz, and Funk to create a politically conscious and socially relevant genre, (Akpabio, & Oloko, 2019).

In recent decades, Nigerian music has experienced resurgence and gained international recognition. The rise of Afrobeats, a fusion of Afro-pop, hip-hop, and dancehall, has propelled Nigerian artists to global stardom. Artists such as Wizkid, Davido, and Burna Boy have achieved immense success, winning international awards and collaborating with renowned artists. The infusion of Nigerian music into mainstream popular culture has elevated its visibility and influence, leading to the emergence of Nigerian music festivals, music streaming platforms, and cross-cultural collaborations, (Anijah Obi, 2018).

It is possible that music can lost its intellectual components when it becomes consumed by powers beyond its own scope and thereby, losing spontaneity and autonomy as well. In reaction to the misrepresentation of facts in music, Willheim (2018) opines: “the familiarity of a piece is a surrogate for the quality ascribed to it. To like it is almost the same thing as to recognise it.” This therefore means that whatever is most familiar becomes very successful and for this reason, causes it to be played continually.

Base on the view that most musicians believe that listening to music is a profoundly emotionally moving experience; this is because music is representational and it is representational in three ways. First, the musical surface is an “external representation:” it is a two-dimensional structure (pitch and time) from which information can be derived. This information is accessed by means of an internal representation of the hierarchical plan structure of the piece.

Nigerian artists have made significant contributions to the global music industry, gaining recognition for their unique musical styles and cultural influences. Nigeria, often referred to as the “Giant of Africa,” has a vibrant and diverse music scene that reflects the country’s rich cultural heritage and diverse ethnic groups. Nigerian artists have explored various genres, including Afrobeat, Highlife, Juju, Fuji, and Gospel, blending traditional rhythms with contemporary sounds to create a distinct musical identity, (Ajibade, 2018).

The success and impact of Nigerian artists can be attributed to several factors such as advancements in technology, digital platforms, global reach, cultural diversity, collaborations, government support and diaspora influence. Nigeria’s large population of over 200 million provides a vast audience for Nigerian artists, both domestically and internationally. Additionally, advancements in technology and the widespread availability of digital platforms have enabled Nigerian artists to reach a global audience and connect with fans worldwide. Social media platforms and music streaming services have played a crucial role in promoting Nigerian music and facilitating its international growths, (Ajibade, 2018).

In recent years, Nigerian artists such as Burna Boy, Wizkid, and Davido have achieved remarkable success and gained global recognition. Their collaborations with international artists and performances at major music festivals have elevated the visibility and influence of Nigerian music on the global stage. The unique fusion of African rhythms, infectious melodies, and socially conscious lyrics in their music has resonated with audiences around the world. Nigerian artists have not only expanded the boundaries of African music but have also challenged stereotypes and showcase the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria on a global scale, (Ajibade, 2018).

In the case of Asake’s songs have gained significant popularity for their unique blend of Nigerian musical genres and contemporary influences. Ahmed Ololade-Rufai, popularly known as Asake, was born on December 5, 1993, in Lagos, Nigeria. He grew up in a musically inclined family, which greatly influenced his passion for music. Asake developed his talent at a young age and began singing and writing songs during his teenage years. He honed his skills by performing at local events and gradually gained recognition for his unique style and powerful vocal abilities, (Africa Facts Zone, 2021).

Asake made his breakthrough in the Nigerian music industry with the release of his hit single “Mr Money” in 2020. The song garnered widespread acclaim and gained millions of streams across various digital platforms. Following the success of “Mr Money,” Asake continued to release chart-topping singles such as “Don’t Hype Me” and “Yan Yan.” His music is known for its infectious melodies, energetic performances, and relatable lyrics that resonate with a wide audience. Asake’s artistic prowess has earned him several accolades and nominations in the Nigerian music scene. (E24-7 Magazine, 2021).

In 2021, he was nominated for the City People Music Award for Best New Act of the Year. His music videos have also gained significant attention on YouTube, accumulating millions of views and further expanding his fan base. Asake’s contributions to the Nigerian music industry have solidified his position as a rising star and a notable figure in contemporary Nigerian music (YNaija, 2021).

Looking at the phonological aspects of the song “Mr Money” by Asake: – here are some phonological acclaims based on the lyrics. The lyrics of “Mr Money” demonstrate a consistent use of end rhymes, creating a pattern and adding a rhythmic quality to the song. For example, in the chorus, the words “2:30 fẹlu” and “Oya ka turn up” rhyme with each other. In the lyrics, it is found that, instances of alliteration; such as in this line of verse “Mo da aso-ẹbi for my country,” where the repeated “d” and “s” sounds create an alliterative effect. In “Mr Money,” phrases like “Hmm hmm hmm hmm” and “Kilẹ to mọ” are repeated throughout the song, contributing to its overall phonological structure.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

The research aims to tackle a novel and challenging problem: understanding the intricate phonographological dimensions of Asake’s music, which combines linguistic and musical elements in a unique Afrobeat style. This research is significant due to the limited academic exploration of Asake’s work. By identifying graphological features, communicative styles, end rhymes, and intonation patterns within Asake’s songs, the study intends to contribute to a comprehensive understanding of his phonographology. The objective is to shed light on how linguistic and cultural dimensions intertwine in his music, providing new insights into Nigerian music and cross-cultural communication. This problem is not limited to Asake’s music. As noted by Olaoba (2022), “the phonographology of Nigerian music is a relatively understudied area of research.” This is likely due to the fact that phonographology is a complex field that requires expertise in linguistics, music theory, and cultural studies.

However, the potential rewards of studying phonographology are significant. As Adekunle (2021) has argued, “phonographology can provide valuable insights into the way that music and language interact to create meaning.” In the case of Asake’s music, phonographological analysis can reveal how he uses linguistic and musical elements to create a unique and compelling sound. Asake often uses end rhymes and repetition to create a sense of rhythm and flow in his songs. He also uses intonation patterns to convey emotion and meaning. By analyzing these phonographological features, we can gain a deeper understanding of Asake’s music and its cultural significance. The research on Asake’s phonographology is a valuable contribution to the fields of linguistics, music theory, and cultural studies. This research has the potential to provide new insights into Nigerian music, cross-cultural communication, and the relationship between music and language.

1.3       Research Questions

The study seeks to answer the following research questions:

  1. What are the phono-graphological features used in Asake’s selected songs?
  2. What communication styles Asake possess in his songs?
  • How often end rhymes occur in Asake’s songs?
  1. What relevance intonation has in Asake’s songs?

1.4       Aim and Objectives of the Study

This study aims to conduct a phono-graphological analysis of Asake’s selected songs.

In specific, the study seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To identify the phono-graphological features in selected songs by Asake.
  2. To describe the communicative styles in Asake’s songs.
  • To ascertain the nature of Asake’s use of end rhymes.
  1. To examine intonation as it appears in Asake’s songs.

1.5       Significance of Study

This study holds great significance as it uncovers stylistic elements in Asake’s selected songs, delving into socio-political themes. It contributes to the knowledge of stylistic analysis, particularly benefiting students of popular culture. Readers and listeners will gain insights into graphological features, communicative styles, and lighthearted expressions shaping Asake’s unique style. This research can serve as a valuable guide for aspiring songwriters and singers, offering a deeper understanding of music composition. Additionally, it has the potential to inform cultural initiatives, making it relevant for the Federal Government and the Ministry of Information and Culture as they promote cultural practices in diverse Nigerian regions. This study complements contemporary stylistic analysis within the realm of language studies.

1.6       Scope of the Study

The present study is on phonographological analysis of selected songs by Nigerian artist Asake which would involves a comprehensive exploration of the phonographic information presented in his songs. This research is limited to the examination of the phonographological components in Asake’s selected songs, physical aspects of sound production and perception, thereby studying unique phonetic, phonological, and prosodic features that characterize Asake’s songs, artistic choices made by Asake and stylistic use of language, observed socio-political thoughts, mispronunciations, rhythmic use of language, Yorubanised expressions, symbolic or the unnatural use of language in the Artiste’s selected songs

1.7       Definition of Operational Terms

Lyric Analysis: Lyric analysis focuses on the study of the poetic and textual aspects of song lyrics. It involves examining the themes, metaphors, imagery, narrative structure, and linguistic devices employed in the lyrics to gain insights into their meaning and cultural significance. For Asake’s songs, lyric analysis would involve a detailed examination of the textual content, wordplay, and literary techniques used in his selected songs. (Stanzel, F. K. 2015)

Musical Analysis: it involves the systematic study of musical elements such as melody, harmony, rhythm, form, and texture. It aims to understand the compositional techniques, structural organization, and expressive qualities of a musical piece. In the case of Asake’s songs, musical analysis would involve examining the melodic patterns, chord progressions, rhythmic structures, and other musical elements in the selected songs, (Cook, N. 2019).

Phonetic Features: are the descriptive properties that account for the way sounds are physically produced or perceived. These features include aspects such as manner of articulation, place of articulation, voicing, nasalization, and others. Phonetic features provide a way to systematically describe and categorize speech sounds across different languages, (Ladefoged, P., & Maddieson, I. (Eds.) 2016).

Phonological Analysis: is a systematic examination of the sound patterns and structures within a language or musical system. It involves studying the phonetic features, phonemes, syllables, stress patterns, and other linguistic elements presented in the songs to understand their organization and significance within the context of the music, (Ladd, D. R. 2014).

Phonological features: these are the fundamental properties or attributes of a speech sound that distinguish it from other speech sounds in a particular language. They are used to describe the contrasts and patterns of sound organization in a phonological system and serve as the basis for identifying and differentiating phonemes, (David S. 2019).



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Full Project – The study of asake’s selected songs – a phono-graphological analysis approach