The Neuro-linguistic Effect of the Song ‘Oe Batla Kae / Ko M’kokotlong’ and the 3 Ingredients of Hit Songs

Haai – haai – haai – memeza, memeza. Tholukuthi Hey!

I am at a club in Pretoria sitting next to the VIP section. Then a lady probably in her late thirties – fine and lit as hack and looking like she pays her own bills – leans over from the VIP couch and whispers in my ear: “this song [Lady Zamar’s ‘Love is Blind’] makes feel kinda horny.” She then turns away to go dance.

1.    Vagueness in psychology and neuro-linguistic programming

When a guy’s flirt says to him ‘come over’, he doesn’t ask ‘what are we going to do?’ That would be rude and unflirty and unmanly.

Vagueness has a psychological appeal on us humans – more so on women but that is a topic for another private day.

We all know magic is just tricks but we like believing the mystique that it is real. And those who don’t believe its just tricks don’t want to believe. They would do anything to guard their bubble – so we ought to be decent and not burst it in their faces.

We want to believe even if it means lurching on cases that are not specific to us. An example could be horoscopes. We want to believe that ‘something wonderful will happen to us this week.’

It is called a confirmation bias or the Barnum effect.

We all ‘want it somewhere.’

2.    Surrealism

This song ‘Oe Batla Kae’ (By Da Mogul SA, featuring Ms Mo and Makhensa) has only two repetitive Tshwana/Sotho/Pedi phrases throughout: ‘Oe batla kae’ and ‘ko mokokotlong’. The first phrase translated to English means ‘where do you want it’ – it’s like a question – and the second is like an answer and it means ‘at the back’.

To be denotive ‘m’kokotlong’ means the spine area but is explicitly suggestive. This is ‘surrealistic art’. This song mellows down your prefrontal cortex.

I am sure you love Snoop Dogg’s ‘Gin and Juice’ too.

Surrealism is defined as an avant-garde movement in art and literature that began in the 20th century which sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind, for example by the irrational juxtaposition of images.

It could be in anything – music, comedy, etc.

‘Sister Bethina’ by Mgarimbe and Jabu is also surreal. One minute it is talking of a sister named Bethina and the next it has absurdly jumped to ‘enjoying one’s youth’ (living young wild and free).

It is proof that unconsciously we have a ratchet inner-wave that needs to take us over now and then. Songs like ‘Oe Batla Kae’ and ‘Sister Bethina’ do it for us black South Africans. And it seems ‘Oe Batla Kae’ also brings to live white people’s wretchedness too – like Earth Wind & Fire’s ‘September’ does.

RD (Remember Kids), with black people it is ‘ratchetness’ and with whites it is ‘wretchedness.’

Killer Kau’s ‘Tholakuthi Hey’ is so surreal. Even this phrase is like an oxymoron – in English it translates to ‘you’d find that hey.’ The song juxtapositions (apparently) a guy who doesn’t date and then it is on about a (apparently) lady who is bitchy, then he introduces another or the same lady as a perfect wife. ‘Then here are breasts’.

That kid Mbali is surreally animated – in that video.

Gilbert Gottfried and Steven Wright come to mind when I think of surreal comics.

Here is an example of a surreal joke:

  • “I think it’s wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly.” Steven Wright
  • “I predict one of these two teams will win the Super Bowl.” Gilbert Gottfried
  • “Sometimes I wish I can wipe certain memories. I do not mean erase them, but just wipe them clean as they are dusty.” Tiisetso Maloma

Here is a surreal painting

Usic is Life. Music is Art

A surreal painting by the famous Salvador Dalí

Swans Reflecting Elephants by the famous Salvador Dalí

3.    Energy of the people created during the people

Sometimes I’d listen to certain vague/surreal songs alone – ‘Oe Batla Kae’ not excluded – and question myself why I like that one particular song. I would be convinced there is nothing to the song. Then my mind quickly transcends to that day I was enjoying it in the club during the people. It’s like the energy I felt in the club, during the people and with the people, transcends to me at that time when I am alone. It’s like ‘anchoring’ as described in neuro-linguistics.