Olamide Woske Cover

Woske by Olamide – Lyrics Translation

As the biggest fan of Olamide this side of the Atlantic, I was thrilled when I went onto YouTube last Friday and saw that he had just released a new song. The Michael Jackson influence was very obvious and sent me down a rabbit hole of watching Michael Jackson classics. In the end, the Woske video seems to take the most inspiration from MJ’s Smooth Criminal. Olamide has nodded at Michael Jackson in his past videos, particularly Science Student which seems to be heavily inspired by the zombie theme of Thriller. By nodding at MJ, Olamide not only places his work in the context of a larger culture of fine art in music video making, he’s also reminding us how few artists even choreograph their work these days, talk less of making epic short films to accompany their videos.

I noticed that none of the Nigerian blogs seem to really be analyzing the music or videos of Olamide (not that I found much on other artists either), which is terrible loss because some of our artists are actually creating highly-researched, inventively-executed fine art and social commentary through their work. I would argue that Olamide is one of those that is hugely slept on in this regard. Nigerians get mad at everything he does, not analyzing or understanding where it is coming from and the kind of artist that he is. That said, Woske is not the most profound song, but by being in conversation with the work of Michael Jackson and referencing the Harlem Renaissance through costume and choreography, he seems to be making a statement about his identity as a Black African artist with a deep appreciation for African American tradition. Most of the African artists who nod towards African American works are doing so at a very superficial half-naked-women-and-luxury-cars kind of way.

Though he’s not perfect, Olamide, I think, is in a class of his own. See below the Woske video and our lyrical translation. This translation (though not the deepest) was completed with help from a native Yoruba speaker who teaches Yoruba at Yale, so if we missed anything (which it’s entirely possible that we did), please comment below or share your own variation of the interpretation. Also note that the song is very repetitive, so in most cases, we only translate a line the first (and maybe second) time it shows up.

Lyrics – Yoruba with in line English Translations (and some explanations)

[Intro]

Oshey (Ose means ‘thank you’ but this is one of Olamide’s trademarks and is generally used to hype people up or emphasize agreement)

Ra ye oshi, Ra ye oshi (Having time for bullsh–)

Shabalistical (meaning unknown)

[Pre-Chorus]

Emi o ra ye oshi (I don’t have time for bullsh–)

Mi o ra ye oshi (I don’t have time for bullsh–)

Bobo ko f’oshi (This guy doesn’t want bullsh–)

Awon eeyan Mama Ko fo’shi (Mama Ko Fo’shi is a mama who doesn’t take bullsh– and ‘awon eeyan’ means those people’ so awon eeyan Mama Ko fo’shi are her children or followers)

Ta lo na owo oshi (Who’s spending money on nonsense / bullsh–)

E mi o na owo oshi (I don’t spend money on nonsense/ bullsh–)

Bobo ko fo’shi (This guy doesn’t want bullsh–)

Awon eeyan Mama Ko Fo’shi (Mama Ko Fo’shi’s people don’t want bullish—)

Eh, oya (Let’s go, like ‘let’s get it started’)

[Chorus]

Woske ye wo (Look there, check it out/try it out —- In Yoruba when someone says “woske” others will respond with “ye wo”)

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske

To ba ri omo to fine (if you see a fine girl)

Woske ye wo (Look there, check it out/try it out)

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske

Ah! Coca cola bottle shape

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

To ba ri omo toh fine (if you see a fine girl)

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

[Verse 1]

Ẹruku ti finesse, ishey Southy [ or she santi ] — (Ẹruku are touts/people who fight for you. We have no idea what the rest of this line is saying, please help!)

Omoge oya move dat thing (Omoge is a beautiful young woman)

I like that thing wey you do that thing

I love you so much, are you doubting?

Say if you wanna get down honey

I flip flows the way I flip my money

From Naira to Rands

Naira to pounds

I’m killing the beat, I’m digging the ground

People dey vex cause dey want to dance

They want to feel the groove and the bounce

Na me dey make them dey act like a tout (Pidgin: It’s me that makes them act like touts)

I spit fire when I open my mouth

I’m killing the beat, I’m digging the ground

People dey vex cause dey want to dance

They want to feel the groove and the bounce

Na me dey make them dey act like a tout

[Pre-Chorus]

Emi o ra ye oshi

Mi o ra ye oshi

Bobo ko fo’shi

Awon eyan mama ko fo’shi

Ta lo na owo oshi

E mi o na owo oshi

Bobo ko fo’shi

Awon eyan mama ko fo’shi

Eh, oya

[Chorus]

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske

To ba ri omo to fine

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske

Ah! Coca cola bottle shape

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

To ba ri omo toh fine

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske

[Verse 2]

No competition je kan mọ (There’s no competition, let them know)

I’m the number one, not the second one

Them blow me 2 times, won da’ran (They tried to come for me twice, they’re finished)

Wo ni pe mo ni bars bi ele’won (I have bars like a prisoner)

Gbẹdu toh bad, to ji’na (This gbedu that is so good, that is fully cookedGbedu is the genre of music that Olamide makes, more percussive dance music.)

Badder man na badman original

No face, no case Criminal

Omọ to ba lọ dan wo a gb’ina (Anyone who tries to test me will catch on fire)

They cannot stand the stamina

Dey chop people like cannibal (They eat people like cannibals)

A different kind of animal

Pray make them no vex me, Amina (I pray they don’t anger me, amen)

Chop chop chop people like cannibal

A different kind of animal

Pray make them no vex me, Amina

[Pre-Chorus]

Emi o r’aye oshi

Mi o r’aye oshi

Bobo ko f’oshi

Awon eyan Mama Ko f’oshi

Ta lo na owo oshi

E mi o na owo oshi

Bobo ko f’oshi

Awon eyan mama ko fo’shi

Eh, oya

[Chorus]

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske

To ba ri omo to fine

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske

Ah! Coca cola bottle shape

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

To ba ri omo toh fine

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo

Woske ye wo, Boy

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