If there’s one thing Ghanaian creatives are excellent at, it’s their ability to covert and localize popular trends. The history of Ghanaian music is full of such examples: western big band music was incorporated into highlife music of ET Mensah in the 50s; the innovation of Ebo Taylor birthed afrobeat in the 70s. The highlife of the 80s adopted elements of funk and pop into its make-up, as reflected in burger highlife. The global explosion of American hip hop saw the likes of Reggie Rockstone and DJ Rab localizing the genre into what became hiplife. Crunk music and now trap music were or have become staples in our music. Through the work by the likes of Major Lazer, Steve Aiko, DJ Snake, Calvin Harris, electro, pop and house music are receiving a local feel thanks to innovative producers and DJs in Ghana.
The DJ duo of DJ K3V (pronounced Kev) and Eff The DJ, collectively called IFKR have moved from playing electro, house and pop records during their DJing gigs to putting out a nine track album- it has an intro and outro-that bask gloriously in these musical genres. ‘UHNI’ has been in the works for many years, and as DJ K3V stated, the holdup was caused by Eff, whose quest for perfection, deemed as a curse at first, ended as a blessing in the long run.
The album is opened by poet, Akotowaa. Her introduction summed up the album: the power of self-belief and being unique. ‘The word genius ends where ours start’ may qualify as an ode to the two DJs, but also, an inspiration for all. According to the two DJs who became friends during their student years at Ashesi University, Akotowaa’s poem shaped the direction of the album.
‘UHNI’ celebrates life and its nuances: love, joy and happiness. These themes are reflected on records such as ‘Rain’, which featured Zepora, a young singer whose singing talents bubble to the fore a few seconds into the song. Zepora’s delivery focused on love: she’s heard assuring her love interest not to be shy; rather open himself up to be consumed by the love she’s emitting. The enchanting feel of ‘Rain’ can be attributed largely to the South African house music groove on which it is built. Interestingly, Zepora was not the artist they considered for this record. But, hearing how well she vocally executed her part, it was a smart suggestion from DJ Eff to have her on the album.
The tales about life and impact of making wrong decisions continued on the ‘Bad Decisions’, featuring Kula. Carrying both afro-pop vibe, Kula encourages the making wise decisions when it came to finances and choosing friends. ‘Bie Mu’, a fusion between EDM and tropical influences featured Hama and Spacely, who shared tales about their desire to ‘explore’ the company of a lady. The up-tempo beat, coupled with the energy from the two artists made ‘Bie Mu’ an excellent fan pick. Like any human endeavour. Love isn’t all rosy. ‘Blue Tick’, another up-tempo song has Legacy and TeePhlow visiting the topic of unrequited love despite their efforts at being the best lovers. ‘Blue Tick’ takes its title from the blue ticks seen on WhatsApp messages after it has been read. Legacy sums up their predicament: ’43 days, no reply’ despite being constantly online.
The fun side of life is fully explored on songs such as ‘Omi Gbono’, ‘Lie B3n and ‘Do What You Want’. These records fully display the EDM/pop influences that K3v and Eff are disciples of. Nigerian artist/producer Odunsi (The Engine), on ‘Omi Gbono’ described a party scene where he encouraged ravers to have a ball. The Ayat assisted ‘Lie B3n’ followed the EDM/pop format except the beat switched to trap at a point. ‘How you gon’ come to the spot wey you no go dance?’, asked Ayat. With the craziness that social media offers today, people prefer to be present at a party to capture moments rather than enjoy the party. For AYat, he wants people to have fun, to get lost in the moment when they find themselves at raves. The beat switch from EDM to trap is one of the best moments on the album. Like the over-arching theme of pursing dreams and living free, Adomaa echoed these sentiments on ‘Do What You Want’, another dance heavy song about thrusting oneself in the moment.
‘U Have No Idea’ is an album that reminds us about the importance of living the best moments of our lives no matter what. It’s a provocative piece of work that inspires and encourages one to showcase their innermost strengths, disrupting the normal state of affairs as exemplified by K3v and Eff who abandoned the popular rap/afropop genres for EDM/house music; an unpopular genre in this part of the world. It’s made for the dance floor as confirmed by song sequencing.
As Johnny Stone amply stated on the ‘Outro’, ‘the diction of improving, learning and leveling up’ is what defines these two DJs. This is their first output and surely, they’d be picking lessons on how to improve on their next offering. By choosing this musical direction, IFKR confirm themselves as ‘’the earthquake that’s coming to seize the throne and shape their foundation’. Now, let’s watch how great the tremors would be.