The Woman’s Buttocks and the Helpless Man - Reading Medikal's lyric, "aboa, wo to nono"
Aboa, wo to nono is Medikal’s opening line for his verse in the song ‘Boys Kasa’ by R2Bees featuring Kwesi Arthur, Darkovibes, B4bonah, Humble Dis, King Promise, Spacely, Medikal and Rjz.
Spoken in an audacious tone, Medikal’s line is seemingly meant to be a compliment. His tone is full of awe and conveys the incredulity of the sight before him – the buttocks of a woman that fills him with admiration and awe.
Preceding the line is aboa (animal) used here as a curse word that heightens the emotional tone of the line. The remaining words wo to nono (is that your buttocks) is a question of bewilderment. When he asks, ‘is that your buttocks?’, he does not expect an answer for the question is in itself an answer.
We might be tempted to view Medikal’s line as a compliment. An ode if you will to the beauty of the woman’s buttocks. Yet, this line is more than that. The buttocks here become the symbol of the woman. She is represented only through it. The speaker does not address her directly but rather addresses that one body part, her buttocks, rendering her invisible by elevating it.
The rest of the verse keeps this momentum by using the buttocks as the reference point, the symbol of the woman. No-where is this more obvious than in the line she’s aware, that calls back to the catchy song ‘I’m aware’ by Terry Bonchaka and Nyansapo that griped the nation in the early 2000’s. Both songs highlight familiar tropes of the woman as seductress exemplified through her body.
Women in both cases are supposedly only their bodies. They are their bewildering buttocks and their rounded hips and thighs. Beyond this, they seemingly do not exist.
If we think in terms of synecdoche, it is possible to assume that the buttocks are highlighted solely because they are the only part that call attention. While this may be true, it goes far deeper and beyond this aspect.
The rhetoric of the curviness of the African woman is deeply ingrained in African popular culture and more so in society. Ghanaian women for instance are depicted as big in all the specific places (read breasts, hips and buttocks), that are seen as the right places. It is this look that has been upheld for years as the quintessential Ghanaian and African look. Consider the recent case of Uganda where the Minister of Tourism decreed that curvy women were to be promoted as attractions to boost tourism in the country. These women are positioned as commodities drawing only from their body type.
The woman as a sexual object is a common trope in African popular culture where women exist to be gazed and commented upon. They are objects that cause wild fantasies in men. In a sense, they bewitch their subjects. Worse, they exist to be feasted upon. They are sexual objects to be consumed. Medikal makes use of this trope in the line mi bɛ sor mu apotor sɛ dorkonuno (I will hold and mash it like kenkey). He mentions locking himself up with his fantasy in order to literally feast on her by likening her to food. He becomes crazed by her body, a helpless man who can only succumb to the seductive sight before him.
Such narratives of women and their hypersexualized bodies permeate popular culture. This line in particular is reminiscent of ideas and images of women through which popular forms such as hip-hop and hip-life are created.