The “Batta-Ears Gyal” Syndrome
The first time the lyrics of “Bake Bean” by Govana hit my ears, they took me by surprise. Never before (to my limited knowledge of the dancehall genre) has there been such a level of description pertaining to “the one” or “Mrs. Right”, although if the latter has such a prefix, then she couldn’t be right for you, one must concur. For those who need to be brought up to speed or require some further clarification:
“Cyan tell me you a gyallis and you a f**k a bagga waste gyal
National, we no wife batter-ears gyal
Bwoy, mawma man style, we no trace gyal
National, we no wife batter-ears gyal
Man a star, yow, anuh every gyal fit me
Genna Genna mad off people gyal pickney heh!
Gyal thief, take your gyal swiftly
And anyweh me go me have the gang with me
One gyal? You mussi mad! A mussi one fifty!
Mi say, me nah make the gyal trick me
Oh God, wha’ you say? She a your sweetheart?
‘Mount a man outta road a mind man pickney” *
Try as I might to avoid such a song, the words found me in every nook, cranny and crevice of Jamaican society. With time, as usually happens, the feverity of the song took hold of any bias I still harboured against dancehall music and threw it out the window. Govana has indeed put himself “4thward” as a crowd favourite, a man of the people, a “National”.
Just to be sure I wasn’t confused, I took careful precaution to define a few words:
bat: a moth
bata: any cheap shoes, the name is derived from the popular but inexpensive brand of shoes called Bata.
batta: batter or battered, most frequently used to refer to battered fruit.
battabout: loose woman or something that has been around the block
(Read more words and definitions at: patois
Ok – so one could then state that a girl resembling a moth, with qualities akin to battered Bata shoes or degenerate fruit refuse and promiscuous tendencies is a girl who should not be wifed. Fair enough. But, even as the phrase “No batta-ears gyal” echoed day in and out amongst the men (and women who could proudly and simultaneously declare no interest in a “batta-ears bwoy”), I still could not help but feel a bit perplexed. The problem is that you can see someone’s face, but not their heart. We now knew as men, thanks to Govana, what to avoid in unworthy women. But, what was one to look for? How could a National quickly spot the forbidden ears at any given moment?
The answer came from visual artiste Monique Kidd Instagram: @kidding_art who provided this apt, labelled depiction pictured above.
Her definition goes, “A female lacking ambition or self-worth”. Simply put. And with a face, like that, though drawn to capture the writer’s imagination, we can all testify to knowing young ladies who carry themselves as such. Hence why the popularity of the song has grown at such a fast pace.
To summarize then what one must take away, in order to really be a genna one must be fresh, breezy and stay clean, especially since women love your feet in straight jeans. Be full of sauce, or swagger, like baked beans for ladies who meet the requirement of being 18 years or older. Definitely wear good cologne, and make every sexual experience so unforgettable that she has to submit her stories to “Dear Dream”, possibly even revealing her I.D. if she’s proud enough. Most of all, have ambition and self-worth, because you’ve got to be a star to roll with star women.
Every girl will now strive to be a star gyal, commendations to them all. But who will describe the batta-ears man? Maybe a wifeable lady feeling scorned that she has to share her genna with 149 other willing wives, such as the women without confidence that D’Angel recently took great scrutiny to outline recently. Or, maybe the batta-ears gyal herself will identify her origins, feelings and sentiments on the matter. Only time will tell.
Blessings in abundance!
*Lyrics from: genius