Ganja anthems have been a staple in popular music genres for decades. Now that Trinidad and Tobago has decriminalised marijuana, making it only legal for adults to have up to 30 grammes, the “herb” has been a hot topic, and now a boon for calypsonians like Crazy (Edwin Ayoung), to pen their lyrics on the issue. As a calypsonian, it’s not surprising that Crazy, 75, would jump at the opportunity to sing about ganja, as his lyrics are often humorous but have also incorporated political themes.
Crazy has teamed up with The Pitbull of Radio (Andy Williams), for one of his 2020 offerings titled “Ganja City”, a humorous party calypso written by Crazy in collaboration with veteran writer Winsford “Joker” Des Vignes and produced by Junior Ibo Joseph.
Crazy says he hasn’t touched a “joint” in 30 years, yet he sees himself as an advocate for the legalisation of marijuana; for a “smoke free” Carnival 2020, where for two days, smokers can be free to smoke as much weed as they would like during Carnival celebrations across the country.
“This is a song for the weed smokers. It is based on humour. Ganja is topical now, but everybody know me as a humorous man. This is not a song to encourage any youth to smoke weed. In this song I am talking about how you can build back the economy through legalising weed, and the benefits of weed for medicinal purposes.
“I also made a little humour about putting four plants by City Hall, Hall of Justice and at Balisier House, but the lyrics are meaningful. It’s a party song. It’s a song with all the ingredients so you will hear a mix soca and calypso,” Crazy said.
Crazy also has a social commentary titled “Children of a Lesser God”, in which he tackles issues of race and prejudice. “‘Children of a Lesser God’ is talking to God about the black man because the white man said his god is superior. I am talking to God and asking him how could that be if there is only one God for the white man. I am also talking to the black man. This could be the greatest calypso ever written by me. It could even be greater than King Austin’s “Progress”.
Crazy said he wrote about 40 songs this year alone, alongside Des Vignes, for various calypsonians. He said he is the only calypsonian to have a hit in all the genres. “Parang, chutney, social commentary calypso, you name it, I have a hit in that genre,” Crazy said.
Crazy said calypsonians should think about international audiences when penning their calypsoes. “‘Children of a Lesser God’ could be the greatest calypso ever. When I sang ‘In Time To Come’ I went all over the world with that song. Most calypsonians right now are not thinking international. We studying to keep it here in Trinidad and that is why most of them don’t get work outside. Sparrow, Stalin, Singing Sandra, David Rudder, Gypsy and myself are still called to sing our songs outside of Trinidad.
“The young fellahs need to start singing songs with international appeal. My goal is to sing the greatest calypso. Calypsonians need to understand that their calypsoes should be able to play in any part of the world but most of them only sing about the government and politics, which cannot be appreciated when they perform it outside of Trinidad. Most of the calypsoes right now cannot play anywhere else besides right here,” Crazy said.
Crazy is looking forward to a bumper season. “I hope people wouldn’t get lock up for smoking during Carnival, at least they should be free for two days. Any government doing that will get support from the people.”