The Twins are back, ending the long drought that their fans had suffered through in the wait for their masterpiece; as usual they have brought a mountain of controversy with their latest offering of their popular Stir It Up series. Now on Volume 11, this one is a bit underwhelming but it has its reasons for this.
Stir It Up Volume 11: Family brings back series veterans like Bounty Killa with cameos from other veterans like Mutabaruka and Vybz Kartel to the series, favourites Ankle Sox and Big Wayne from Vol 10 and also introduces new characters Munchie, Bingy Roy, Pinky, Elijah and Ricky British. To be honest, the new characters were a gamble that the Twins took and in my opinion lost some of the character/flavor that made the Stir It Up series so popular but more on that later. Volume 11 has also taken a darker path when compared to the more light hearted and parodic nature of Volumes 8, 9, 9.5 and 10 but shows a sense of maturity because of the topics the Twins have chosen to focus on. Unlike the previous Volumes where Dancehall and its sordid going ons were brought to the forefront to be mercilessly mocked and discussed, Volume 11 instead focuses on the so called ghetto culture. With an emphasis on relationships, infidelity, social mobility, shotta culture and the Law all coming together to form a complex web of arguments that provokes thought rather than the barrel of laughs that we have come to expect.
Case in point is the relationship between Ankle Sox and his girlfriend, Munchie. It is an abusive relationship representative of so many in the slums and ghetto, Bingy Roy who is Ankle Sox’s friend in the streets and the Rastafarian voice of reason highlights the gender roles and faults of said gender roles that is expected of each party in that relationship. There are few jokes to be had here yet the darkness of the subject matter is discussed with a lighthearted approach that doesn’t shy away from and inspiring message included. Another topic is the issue of family, social mobility and the crab inna barrel mentality when one family member climbs up the social ladder. Is that family member required to bring his/her family up the ladder also? Or is it merely a privilege when one does so? Questions like these are at the forefront of the entire volume in all their uncomfortable glory making for interesting discussion for an audience who have just come for the laughs yet it is presented in terms and situations that are easily understood first and entertaining second.
Lacking the usual comedy, catchphrases and quotable slangs, quick wit, and almost merciless pushing of the line that their previous work was known for was a letdown but I for one can respect their choice to focus on other materials and show their flexibility especially on topics that are taboo. Volume 11 will in many way disappoint fans who came for the comedy but may just provoke conversation through social commentary which can bring those fans back.