When Cameroon-born, Atlanta-based artist Moken Nunga, known mononymously as Moken, released Chapters of My Life back in 2016, it was a breath of fresh air. Moken brings stellar musicianship and a warm, robust voice to every song he sings, of course, but they aren’t the only tricks up his proverbial sleeve. Eccentric wit and unabashed enthusiasm for every piece he crafts make Moken more than a singer. He’s a storyteller, transporting his audience to worlds of colorful characters. Perhaps the most engaging tale he spins, though, is the one Moken narrates on “A Bone to Grind with Einstein”.
“The general idea and premise of the song,” says Moken, “is me taking the place of Mark Twain, in big support of Mark Twain blaming Einstein for stealing Mark Twain’s look.” In the track’s new video, directed by Odette Scott and premiering on PopMatters, we witness Moken’s romp through the mismatched aisles of a Midwestern thrift store. He tries on hats, wigs, jackets, ties, and belts (rarely worn as intended) and even sings into a leopard-print rotary phone, giving us a playful fashion show interspersed with shots of him wearing “Twain” and “Einstein” name tags and having a tense debate with himself over a vintage set of plates and glasses.
“In a visual sense,” Moken continues, “Einstein stealing Mark Twain’s curly hair and mustache should not make him think he is smarter than Twain. Instead, he should know he is picking on Mark Twain’s brain, tempting his smartest nerves.” Of course, Moken has no intention of letting Einstein get away with it, each catchy chorus a fantastic tongue-in-cheek takedown of the physicist’s personal style.
Mark Twain is often thought of as America’s greatest humorist. In “A Bone to Grind with Einstein”, Moken proves that he just might be Cameroon’s – and we all have front row seats to the antics.