New Music: Papa Chie talks Unity on new song ‘Kupe’

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‘Kupe’ is an Nzema word meaning oneness or unity. The dialect is spoken by a majority of people in the south-western part of Western Region. The meaning of the word forms the crux of fast rising musician, Papa Chie’s latest single.

A born Nzema, Papa Chie revisit his roots, sermonizing on the need for all to be united; to respect one another whiles enjoying the greatness that such unions birth. Produced by collaborator Kayso, ‘Kupe’ features soul singer Ria Boss and afro-neo-soul act Eli.

Kayso abandons the flashy synths and reeving cadences that characterizes dance music for a minimalistic, taut percussion driven sound.  Whereas Papa Chie’s vocals compliment the quasi-aggressive production, Ria Boss’ soothing, duvet-esque vocals spread over the beat. Eli butt in with a neo-soul-tropical vibe, giving the song a deserved riveting aura.

The release of the song, though coincidental, comes a day to ‘Founder’s Day’, a day to honour Kwame Nkrumah, an Nzema boy himself, and also his efforts at promoting the ideals of unity in Ghana.

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THE CUTS: EP 02 Vol. 11

THE CUTS is your weekly round-up of songs and videos that has caught our attention and think you must hear or see. The music featured aren’t genre specificTHE CUTS is delivered every FRIDAY.    


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Kula – Don’t Do It

Subs! Subs!! Subs!!! The two versed ‘Don’t Do’ It is full of subliminal shots at people of all shades- self styled social media critics, bullies, corrupt folks and those who engage in vicious political debates respectively. The beat, produced by Timmy (he produced Don’t Blow It) is hip hop in tone; instantly drawing one to nod his head to its rhythms. Kula, on the first verse attack the often displayed facade of many on twitter who ‘disrespect people for 10 retweets’ despite ‘making zero income’ as well as internet bullies. Kula is one of the most talented young artistes around. His versatility is confirmed by his ability to live perfectly within the walls of today’s new pop wave and good old hip-hop. For what makes Kula a favourite his social consciousness: his ability to observe and ran rap commentary on social issues. And on ‘Don’t Do It’, he exhibits that.

 

 

Kuvie feat RJZ, $pacely, Kiddblack –Fine Girl

Villain Sounds producer Kuvie steps away from his infectiously mellow and instru clanking productions for a stripped down, fast paced, azonto flavoured beat on ‘Fine Girl’. Featuring RJZ, $pacely and KiddBalck, three of the many prominent upcoming collaborators tipped for greater things, they take turns to express their affection for a ‘fine lady’. The entire song is simply fun – courtesy its body wiggling effect and simple lyrics. ‘I only hope that you can please me/ Covered up but you look so revealing’ fittingly describes the fine girl in question. The chorus could mean anything from her being requested to shake her bum or flex her posterior.

 

HK – Somebody

We all need to mind our own business. People should be allowed to grow at their own pace. That’s the message singer HK is sending on his song ‘Somebody’. The song’s strength lies in the mellow, soft drum perforated beat and the soothing vocals dripping over the beat. Singing mostly in pidgin, HK reminds us ‘everybody get ein shine’ and that ‘we all, we be somebody’. Sam Sowah, popularly known by his stage name HK, is a Ghanaian Afro-fusion artist and producer. He began doing music in college despite the fact that the ability and enthusiasm for music has for some time, been there since he was young. HK featured on the ‘Acoustic Night Show’ with Berla Mundi on Live 91.9 FM. He has since worked with other artist and producers including Kuvie, in the creation of “Before I Say Yes” by Mimi Elsa. “My inspiration and drive comes from two AVMB’s quotes which says ‘Your mental picture is your actual future’ and ‘Success is Mediocrity'”, he said. “I just want to inspire the world through my music and be a major contributor to the global proliferation of Afro music.” He added in his interview with Berla Mundi on Live FM. Those horns are nothing but heavenly.

 

PapaChie – Why You Wan Hate?

The message is summed up by the song title. ‘Why You Wan Hate’ admonishes people to stay positive, encourage others to do better rather than adopting a crab in a bucket behaviour. Produced by Kayso, Why You Wan Hate? carries an afro- dance feel, a genre PapaChie is determined to make his own.  And it is inspired by real life events too.

 

Sarkodie celebrates love, solidifies his spot as the best on ‘Highest’

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For Sarkodie, the pressure was on to prove that he is still the indomitable force within the music scene, the rapper whose spot everyone wants, the Negus of his time. Changing his moniker from ‘King’ to ‘Highest’ were all calculated to drum home his credentials. For his fans, Sarkodie was infallible. Critics, however, had their own perceptions especially when Sarkodie became somewhat of a ‘Drake’ – keen on jumping on other people’s songs to advance his own clout.

This kind of strategy was considered by critics as vulturous. His fans saw it as a well-intentioned move to not only bring attention to himself but also, help propel the songs of these artistes into the reel of mainstream music. A verse or endowment by Sarkodie became the seal of approval for most of these youngsters. Every artist has his own ‘tricks’ that ensure their survival; that keeps them floating above the musical Bermuda. For Sarkodie, hopping on other artistes songs was his survival trick.

So, the question was this: what more has Sarkodie got to offer?

For almost a decade, he has been the burning light. We’ve heard him rhyme on a variety of themes or subjects which for many has become monotonous. What new themes would ‘Highest’ broach? What would Sarkodie do differently? What is inspiring his new album? Legitimate questions that, perhaps, crossed his mind after all, his safe nest had been threatened a year ago by M.anifest.

Whereas some artistes go out of sight when working on new material for an album, Sarkodie was never out sight. It’s interesting to note that, he released two songs – Gboza and Painkiller- from January till this point. All the rest were jumping on remixes or getting featured. Yet, it was as if he released over a dozen songs. For two years, the album was being recorded. And on Friday 8th September, the ‘Highest’, his fifth studio album, was released.

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Within the two years, a lot had happened to Sarkodie- growing his brand beyond Ghana, he became a father. His daughter, Titi and long time girlfriend Tracy offered the inspiration for ‘Highest’. And it doesn’t take long for one to notice it-songs like Baby Mama, ‘Come To Me’, Far Away, Your Waist, All I Want, All Night, See Only You– celebrate his love for Tracy.

On the Joey B assisted ‘Baby Mama’, Sarkodie is heard highlighting Tracy’s seductiveness ‘Somebody tell Tracy Titi isn’t asleep‘, he raps. On ‘Far Away’, the featured Nigerian crooner, Koredo Bello’s words ‘Far Away, lady don’t go far away/I no go break your heart‘ is an assurance of his undying love for her.

‘Highest’ features an array of artistes, Ghanaians and Nigerians alike. The likes of Joey B, Worlasi, JaySo (who executive produced the album) offered their talents to their projects. Big Narstie, Bobi Lewis (UK), Moelogo, Flavour, Koredo Bello, Praiz, Jesse Jagz also came in waving their country’s flag. And it’s obvious why he put them on – friendship and economic reasons. According to Sarkodie, his decision to feature these artistes were based on Jayso’s recommendation.

It’s not all Tracy love on ‘Highest’. Sarkodie’s hip-hop sentiments, which has been capped in recent times by the rise of afropop across the globe was revisited on the album. On songs like ‘Silence’ (featuring poet Suli Breaks), the poet is heard exalting Sark as ‘the beast who wrestled with rap legacy and came out victorious’. Sark takes time to reminisce and thank all who helped him on his come up. ‘Dr. Duncan is the one I’m thanking cos you’re the only one who ever saw the dream’, he reminds all.

On the Jesse Jagz assisted ‘Overdose’, Sarkodie lived by the Jay Z lyric that ‘sometimes you need to remind these fools’. This is classic boastful, I’m-the-greatest- to-do-this talk with lines as ‘90 percent of rappers copy my style/I ain’t mad, I feel proud’. On the second verse, he drops the line ‘on Jay Z and Kanye’s level/don’t bring your Bobby Shmurda life close to me‘. For Sark, there’s a dichotomy between relevancy and hits. In his words ‘that philosophy doesn’t exist‘. An artist’s relevance is measured by how he’s impacting the game and selling Ghana to the world.

‘We No Dey Fear’ (with Jayso) is a brazen display of bravado: ‘we walk up in a room full of vultures’, Jayso sings on the hook. The way up isn’t light work. It’s not even done when you’re the top contender. Haters will always be clandestinely watching and readying to prey on you. Sark is heard taking shots at those with weak lines on this menacing 80 dictated beat.

None of the songs capture the two sides of the album- sound-wise- than ‘All I Want Is You’ featuring Praiz and ‘Certified’. The Nigerian crooner, Praiz brought a dose of warmth on the confessional ‘All I Want Is You’, courtesy his soulful, gospel-esque vocals. Despite Sark’s adoration of Tracy, it is Praiz whose delivery will be remembered. One can loop his vocals and listen to it all day. He has earned himself a new set of Ghanaian fans.

On the other hand, ‘Certified’ with Jayso and Worlasi, carries a banging hip-hop beat that rattles through you. Jayso comes in with his verse about not rolling with people who aren’t productive. Did he say he’s the matador to the bull? Worlasi is the Tom Hanks of our era. He executes magic no matter where you put him on a song.

‘Love Yourself’, an inspirational song about self-love which features Moelogo carries a sparkling afro pop feel.‘Insecurities only allows you to look down on yourself, but it’s not true’. In an era where no one escapes the scrutiny of others, self-hate is on the ascendancy, leading to depression and suicide on some occasions. ‘Highest’ the title track is about being smart with your finances. The beat feels like a fast tempoed version of ‘Bossy’. The theme also sounds like an extension of ‘Hand To Mouth’. This is typical Sarkodie in his element.

‘Glory’ officially ends the album (if you ignore the bonus, Pain Killer).This is clearly a praise song to God. A motivational tune to strive higher. Over it’s mellow or mid-tempo vibe, Yung L’s crooning is a standout- somber, introspective and emotive. Excellent closing song for this album.

The ‘Highest’ has clearly lived to its expectation. It’s a carefully conceived and executed piece of work. The production shall remain a talking point. Lyrically, we’ve heard almost every line used by Sarkodie before (in a different realm) but it still sounds great. One can’t also take a dig at him for showering Tracy with so much love on this album-she inspired it. It’s also clear that Jayso crafted a beat that brought the best out of Sarkodie.

In the album vault of Sarkodie, ‘Highest’ will rank at the top more on profits (sales) than wholesale impact on the music scene. That’s, it won’t be a game changer. However, ”Highest’ isn’t only an act of vindication, but a solidification of Sarkodie’s position as the best around. There was pressure on him to deliver considering the positive reviews his arch-rival M.anifest’s ‘Nowhere Cool’ received. It also confirms why he has the rap scene under his thumb for the past decade. Add all these together, and it’s clear that, he is indeed the highest. At least for now.

Initial standouts: Overdose, All I Want, Certified, Glory, See You Only

 

Meet GHOST: The Bass Head who believes in experimentation

We live in an age where a producer’s name doesn’t only live on the album sleeve or cover of a musicians work. Producers are leaving their signatures (taglines) on songs, and it is rightly appropriate. With the ever increasing dwindling fortunes of physical album copies and more digital releases, producers are not enthused with just their name on a sleeve. They are trundling with the times, like the artists they work with or for.
That’s just one part.

The other part has to do with producers’ crossing over as artists themselves, through the release of albums or EPs. The reasons could run from angling for fame to recognition, depending on who the producer is. This producer-artist phenomenon is now part of the music culture and they are reaping the benefits.

But, there still are producers who don’t want to deviate from the old status quo. Of course, they are aware of the new paradigm. Yet, they choose to stay orthodox. They won’t leave their signature tagline on songs. Crediting them on the song/album credits is enough. Staying ‘ghost’ is enough.

That kind of producer is who GHOST (born Jerome Kojo Boateng) loves to remain. His imprints have been on many songs or albums, either on or under the producer credits or mastered credits. His recent work was on Bryan The Mensah’s excellent ‘Friends With The Sun’ EP, where he played the role of a producer and a mastering engineer.

Considered by some of his peers as one of the best producers around, 26-year-old Ghost, who also goes by the “LXXXVIII’ moniker didn’t jump into the world of music production at first. He started out as a rapper in high school. ‘Well, I began my music career initially as a rapper, later ventured into producing’. His decision to quit rapping and be a producer wasn’t motivated by the inability of producers to craft the perfect beats for him to rhyme on. Rather, it was a friend who introduced him to the field.

And when I asked if that friend taught him the rudiments, he answered in the negative. ‘Actually, nobody did. I kind of always had my thing with music from an early stage. But I was hugely inspired to venture into production by a producer friend named Lorshee, who gave me a copy of FL Studio at the time. So I went home, installed it and started experimenting till date.’

A product of Central University, Ghost began producing music in 2009, after high school back in 2009. He took it more ‘seriously in 2013 when I was in college (Central University)’. Since then, he has worked with both A-List Ghanaian and Nigerian artistes including EL, Ice Prince Zamani J. Town, Cabum, Dee Moneey, Scientific (LIB), Ankwanda.

Despite working with some well-known artists, Ghost, who produced EL’s trap anthem ‘Lalafalama’ still considers himself ‘upcoming’. And during our interview, one quality was obvious: his shy nature, which he’s conscious about. When I asked him to describe himself, a simple question that often solicits a winding answer, Ghost’s reply confirmed his shyness, something he describes as ‘a constant battle for me every day’. ‘So Ghost 88 is an upcoming producer/artiste, a huge bass head and definitely makes synchronized noise’, he punctures his comment with a laugh before adding, in third-person, ‘He’s a humble guy, mostly nervous and shy. Also hella goofy and jovial if you get to know him more plus he loves to give back!!’. That shyness was also a reason in him shelving his rapping skills from a lot of people even though ‘I could even spit some ‘bars’, Self-doubt  also played its part, ‘I really didn’t think I was “Faya” enough.’’

Picking up names especially as an artist or producer (if you don’t want to go with your real name) takes a lot of consideration and are sometimes fueled by events or situations. In the case of Ghost, the latter was the case. He settled on his moniker because he wasn’t getting the expected recognition for his work. ‘During my early days of production, I’d worked, collaborate and helped other producers on projects without being credited in any form hence the alias “GHOST THE PRODUCER”. I later threw in “LXXXVIII” because it’s my favorite number. The number ‘88′ is believed to a lucky number in Chinese mythos’.

The lack of recognition left him feeling disrespected thus his decision to go out as a full time producer. He explained the situation further: ‘I wasn’t happy. I mean who wouldn’t be considering how much time and efforts you’ve spent into making their product lit. But at the same time, I looked at it positively as well because it gave my story so much depth and more experience. The exact reason why I’m full time producing (although) I was going to do that sooner anyways’.

That quest for respect is one reason Ghost is planning on releasing his debut project with fellow collaborator and producer Chris, together known as Synchronized NoiZe. The four track EP- Miusnderstood-is, as he describes ‘an experimental project that leans heavy on electronic music. It’s a mix of Bass music (which I make) with Disco funk(Chris’ specialty)’. For Ghost and Chris (whom he clicked with after a studio session together), they chose to go this route with their project because ‘we wanted to break away a little bit from the usual trend in West Africa, where it’s either trap or an afro pop thing. You know, to be more experimental’

Bass music isn’t huge in Ghana or across Africa so it was curious for me that Synchonized noiZe would choose to produce an EP that leans towards that genre. So, when I asked him how he became interested in Bass Music, Ghost revealed where it came from. ‘I first fell in love with bass music back in 2014 when I first discovered Flosstradamus, an electronic duo. Man! They were killing everything out there at the time’. Aside Flosstradamus, Ghost is also influenced or inspired by producers like Drvmroll, Sosa, LeMav, Rvdical the Kid, 7th Artist (Chris) and IllKeyz. Internationally, Quix, Fabian Mazur, Getter, Monxx and Luude are his inspiration. When I told him I didn’t know most of the foreign producers mentioned, he let out a guffaw before answering, ‘I know you wouldn’t be familiar with them’. He further added ‘everything about their work: creativity, sound design, structure and their personalities’ are the flicker that light up his creative path.

Ghost, like some of his producer friends have been vocal on the subject of how artists treat producers, which are mostly contemptuous. The subject ranges from no payment to not properly credited on songs. When the issue was broached once again, Ghost was straight forward with his views. ‘Man, they just playing themselves at the end if they really wanted their brand to grow (which most don’t even have brands to begin with). It’s mostly common among the mainstreams and I’m disgusted by it truth be told. And only if you knew my hustle with it because it’s a daily source of income for some of us. We got bills to pay, mouths to feed and isn’t a game for us but I wouldn’t be fair if I only pointed at artistes only for this. Producers aren’t valued for their work because of the saturated market of young producers who want to get famous so bad that they throw beats for free left and right to artists. The major reason I‘m not an artist producer anymore. I AM THE ARTIST!’

Even though I had seen his handle on my timeline, it wasn’t it until I saw fellow producer Drvmroll mention him in a tweet that awoken my curiousity. Within the same period, I saw another favourite producer of mine, Yung Fly comment on how Ghost’s 808s could shatter studio speakers. For Ghost, he regard such compliments as coming from friends rather than competitors, ‘’I will like to start off by saying these guys are awesome. Plus it’s definitely a great feeling to have guys like these not only giving me props but supporting me in anyway. No pressure at all because I’m originally dope (laughs). Just kidding. They are real close friends to me. We goof around. One of the few people I open up to’.

How did he, a producer on the come-up, managed to earn production credits on the albums of some of the artists mentioned earlier and the experience that came with it. ‘Few of them did contact me. Some, I had to reach out to make it happen. But, some of them were possible via recommendation by close fam who were also in their circle or knew them personally. The experience is an awesome one! Let me use this example for instance, it’s like this kinda high, once you achieve it, you never wanna get back to being sober again because it’s boring (laughs). You always wanna be that high, constantly!’

How do you prepare for such studio sessions with the likes of EL and Sark for instance? Do you have sleepless nights till it’s done? I asked. (Another laughter) ‘I Just bring my A game and laptop along with me like I normally do. I’m willing to do any amount of work on the project till it’s done irrespective of the artist. I’m mostly active at night so no biggie

Although no date has been fixed for the released of Misunderstood, Ghost has released three songs that foreshadows what he and Chris may be offering. On what the future holds, Ghost outlined three things he wants to see happen:

First, ‘West Africa being recognized not only for our afro beats or sounds but electronic music as well.’

Second, producers should experiment some more, something they aren’t doing. Currently, the ones who are, are being slept on. It’s shocking!’

Third, ‘more releases, more collaboration, more moves and prayers. With time my hard work will be rewarded’.

There are a handful of producers who have helped changed the soundscape of our time and from the conversation with Ghost, he has the ambition to not only introduce a new wave of sound but also push his name within the ‘who is who’ canon. Pushing the envelope of sound, experimenting with other musical influences is one of the foremost tools of creativity within his production vault.

Ghost knows a producers’ death knell is when they become static. And with the evolution of sound happening faster than a blink of an eye, one has to catch up, and fast. Hence his rhetorical question: ‘If you aren’t experimenting with your art as a creative then what are you doing?

Listen to his latest single ‘Entirely Sho’ feat Ansah Live

Press Release: UNCOLONISED Concert VOL.3 featuring VILLY & The Xtreme Volumes

VILLY   &  The  Xtreme  Volumes  are  back  with their  annual   concert   theme  ‘Uncolonised’.

Regarded  to   be   amongst   the   most   successful   concert   series   in   Accra, ‘Uncolonised’said is  expected  to  be  filled  with energy; to  be  filled  with  questions  and to  push the  boundaries of music and performance.  

We  are  dedicating   this   year   to   the   one   who   kickstarted   the   fire   for   us:   FELA KUTI, marking  his  20th   year  since  he  left   the  fight for  us  to  continue.  

THE  ONE  GROUP  SHOW,  WILL  BE UNFORGETABLE.

Date:  Saturday, 30th September, 2017

Venue: Alliance Francaise, Accra

Gate Fee:  30  Ghana Cedis 

Time:   8PM  Sharp.  

This event is powered by Blank   Creation   Entertainment  

“Gaffaci did that?” Producer accuses Sarkodie of ‘remaking’ his beat on ‘Highest’ Album

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Gafacci isn’t enthused with Sarkodie (photo: twitter page)

Three days after releasing his highly anticipated, well received fifth studio album, ‘The Highest’, rapper Sarkodie is taking heat for allegedly remaking an original production for a song on his album.

Gafacci, a producer, and DJ took to twitter to air out his concerns. In a chain of tweets, Gafacci who is also the lead producer/DJ for JOWAA, an Afro-Electronic/Global Bass musical collective, said he composed the beat for ‘All I Want’, yet didn’t earn credit for his work.

The producer has produced songs for the likes of Chase, D-Black, Dee Money, Sarkodie, Ice Prince and many others. He also produced the 2010 BET Freestyle Cypher featuring Ghanaian artistes. The producer expressed his disappointment at Sarkodie’s behaviour, accusing him of pulling ‘a fast one’ on him. He again questioned the moral fortitude of Sarkodie in appealing to bloggers and websites to not share downloadable links on their platforms yet would do same to him.

 

The phenomenon of producers, especially the upcoming ones accusing some artistes of either not crediting them, paying them or having their work re-sampled by others has gained prominence. Months ago, producer Kuvie publicly accused rapper EL for recreating his beat for his song ‘See You Sometime’.

Although Gafacci says he’s not ‘vexed’ by the issue, his tweet that ‘the lack of integrity is really deep in some GH artiste’, underscores his disappointment.

This things happen to up and coming producers but i never knew how serious it is till @SARKODIE Show me say that fuckery is real.

— GAFACCI (@Gafacci) September 10, 2017

But, an audio surfaced online (twitter) of Sarkodie explaining how his collaboration with Praiz on ‘All I Want’, the song originally composed by Gafacci happened in an interview with Antoine Mensah of Live FM days before the accusations of Gafacci.

 ‘…big ups to Amanda (Jisseh) on Hitz FM. She also put me on Praiz as well. And everybody loves Praiz. I think the biggest song he had was ‘Rich and Famous’. The first original beat wasn’t this one (on the album). It was produced by Gafacci. It’s still there. I’m gonna release that one too. But, that was the first instrumentals i sent to him (Praiz). But then, the kicks to it, i had a theme for the album and how it’s supposed to sound. It has to be hard. When you play ‘Certified’, you see the energy. That’s why we changed the kicks’ – Sarkodie speaking with Antoine Mensah, Live FM

Listen to the audio

New Music: Cool Joe feat Darkovibes- Sweetie

​Rapper, Cool Joe flaunts his lyrical genius on his new song titled ‘Sweetie’ featuring, Darkovibes. ‘Sweetie’ talks about how much the rapper misses his lover in her absence; reminiscing about what they do as lovers when together.
Although written mostly in the Twi dialect, Cool Joe does well to beautifully craft rhymes and rhythms which displays remarkable mastery over the dialect. As if that wasn’t good enough, the rapper brings along ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘Mercy’ hitmaker, Darkovibes who adds extra depth to the piece via his soft melodies in both the Ga and Twi dialect, greatly improving the record.

Benjamin Kojo Frimpong, better known by his stage name Cool Joe, is a Ghanaian rapper who grew up in Belgium, Antwerp and signed with Phaceone Records. He first garnered recognition for his track, ‘Whats Up’ featuring Rachel and Pistice in 2013. He did the opening act for American singer and songwriter, Ciara at Club Noxx in that same year.

Cool Joe also has songs with the likes of Pappy Kojo, Philou Louzolo amongst others making him a regular artist in the Ghanaian music industry.