During the week, Sound Sultan debuted his second single of the year, Hello Baale which loosely translates as “father of the house” or “husband” if we are going by the cheating wife context of the song.
Sound Sultan plays the role of a not-so-innocent observer in a series of connected events tied to an employer whose wife was cheating on him with every Tom, Dick and Harry.
We are tempted to touch on the subtle misogyny and slut shaming implied by the video, but we will let all that slide in favour of another issue we found with the adjoining video for the single.
The Kemi Adetiba directed short film which features Nollywood veterans Saheed Balogun and Grace Amah (remember her?) has Sound Sultan standing by an MTN street call service, from where he makes the call to Saheed Balogun (the baale) husband to Grace Amah (the cheating wife), detailing his wife’s numerous exploits behind his back. This is where the irony of the video sets in.
Everyone knows that Sound Sultan like many other Nigerian entertainers is an MTN ambassador, hence the reason for specifically making his call using an MTN street call service. The intent of course was to do a bit of product placement for his endorsed corporation. Ironically, all we see is Sound Sultan repeatedly asking “Hello Baale” during the course of the entire phone call.
While his obvious product placement was intended to promote MTN, we wonder if the idea missed a crucial turning point with his incessant repetition of the words Hello Baale, as if to confirm the clarity of the connection. If we didn’t know any better, we’d say Sound Sultan was subtly telling us MTN is not that great of a network even though he has an active contract with the same company.
This certainly does not affect the quality of the video nor the content of the song itself. But if anything, it is an indication of careless content direction and lapses in what seems like an otherwise well-thought out narrative. It turns the video instead into an ironical joke for every one familiar with MTN and the network’s instability.