There has always been an unhealthy comparison between generations in the music industry. This analogy creates a climate of mistrust. Most often encouraged by nostalgics of the first hour who find that the current generation lacks ingenuity. For a long time this situation created distance between the two generations. Over time, the parties bridged the gap. This is how we saw certain artists of the older generation standing out by breaking the rivalry. They are no longer content to popularize local musical habits and customs, but to work hand in hand with new generations.
The relationship between the old and new generations of artists in Cameroon is far from being unanimous. There is still a long way to go to make it homogeneous. It is a titanic task that requires the investment of both parties in order to reach a true understanding. If the older generation reproaches their younger counterparts for a lack of creativity in the musical content they propose, the latter in turn reproach the older generation for not passing on their know how. This difference of opinion, which was maintained for a long time by each party, gave rise to a delectable atmosphere, even though no one wanted to accept their share of responsibility. There was a period when Cameroonian music was at its peak, and a large majority of today’s artists were not yet born. Without a reference point, they were influenced by foreign music, which at one time was inspired by Cameroonian music.
However, in order to lighten the atmosphere, several elders of music took it upon themselves to accompany the young artists who were willing to learn, because talent alone is often not enough to be a good artist. In this new state of mind, we saw an artist like Salatiel do a collaboration in 2022 with the local and living legend of Makossa, Petit Pays. Rabba Rabbi (Petit Pays) is one of the only Cameroonia artists to have experienced the glory era of Makossa. He not only knew it, but he also worked so that young artists could make themselves known. He is also one of the few to have been able to release hits regularly over a decade.
Daphné also collaborated with Ben Decca in 2014. Since 2014, this monument of Cameroonian music, Makossa in particular, has also continued to multiply collaborations with new artists like Sandrine Nnanga in 2018 and Cysoul in 2019. It was only legitimate for these young artists to turn to these historical pillars to together create and break the taboos on the non-existence of work between youth and old age in Cameroon.
The multiple collaborations between the artists of the old and new generations have been beneficial for both parties. On the side of the old artists, this return to the forefront allowed them to replay certain classics that have rocked many generations and that very few of them did not know. Some of them have been revisited and new sounds added. Collaboration with elders can also be a springboard for the career of a young artist. Many of them have benefited from the spin-offs of their collaborations to gain notoriety.
Despite these beautiful initiatives, collaborations between generations of artists will always remain mixed for the simple reason that there is a lack of real organization in the music industry in Cameroon. With the success they have, some artists do not consider it useful to have to accept a project with any elder. The latter must have a strong aura.
The particularity of Cameroon has always been to shine in each musical register in the world. Thus, unlike neighboring countries, the Cameroon Musical style is like the Country a Mosaic that cannot be defined under a single generalist name.
What artists shape is not a style but a sustainable and viable ecosystem both for them and for their audience.