From obscurity to stardom, Ko-jo Cue’s march towards becoming one of the best rappers in Ghana has assumed greater momentum with the release of the ‘The Shining’.
When the artwork and track list of his album was released a couple of months ago, many were excited and expectant. Expectant to hear what the newest member of BBNZ LIVE, Ko-jo Cue will be outdooring on his The Shining mixtape. The album art work was boastful (a shadow through a door) and the list of producers and features bold to say the least.
The Bantama rapper was not new to the music scene-having captured the attention of many with some ‘underground’ works, prominent among them ‘Lie Ben?’ featuring ASEM. That song made me take note of him.
Fast forward to 2014. Ko-jo Cue began making strides on the music circuit; collaborating and getting featured on singles. It wasn’t too surprising when news broke that the rapper had been snuffed up by BBNZ LIVE. This move seemed to have marked a turning point in this 24 year old’s career.
Yesterday, Ko-jo Cue’s first work under the BBNZ label was released (click her to download https://t.co/H08cMSaZod). The mixtape has pushed the rapper a mile towards his ambition of becoming a ‘god’ on the music scene.
Every rapper has a story to tell especially with his come up. And on A Ghetto Story, K.O took us on that roll. ‘I dey come from a place people know as the bottom/so when they say money no be problem/I can’t relate/cos we dey wire when the salary is late’, he raps over a thumping drum and piano dotting. He also speaks about the advice parents proffer their wards, though well intended ends up limited their ambitions.
A Ghetto Story is a hustler’s anthem: a motivation for the ghetto kid not to allow his environment to define his ambitions. “The theme song to the rise of a ghetto kid/pay attention and just look at what the ghetto did’.
Self adulation is not a vain enterprise in the arena of rap music. It would be most bizarre for a rapper, a new act trying to win hearts and minds of fans not to travel in that boasting capsule. Champion saw Ko-jo Cue wear his braggadocio vest to hilt, rapping ‘trend setter/I set and make the trends better/ And pen more bars than Shatta Wale pens letter’, a reference to self acclaimed ‘dancehall king’ who’s penchant for penning diss letters to his ‘haters’ is widely known.
Money matters and must be made known. Ko-jo Cue knows. He went on a money talk on Kudi (Cash), the new street anthem. The song talks about the ‘moves’ money makes. One has to admire his wordplay. Making a case of how tough life is, he references Master Richard and Aboagye, stating you don’t point to Aboagye if Master Richard is feeling the economic pinch. Those who watched the popular TV series ‘Taxi Driver’ have an insight into what that lyric meant.
It takes something special to feature M3nsa (one half of the FOKN Bois). And for him to avail himself on a song with Ko-jo Cue goes to say a lot. Esi Araba indeed said a lot. First, the song is a classic (I have a feeling it will not court much radio play). Next, the beat is gripping. Lastly, M3nsa’s singing was simple and engrossing. If you’ve listened to ‘Fante Love Song’, you would know what I mean.
Esi Araba is a love song, where the rapper is heard confessing and exalting his heart’s interest. I remember telling M3nsa to do a highlife EP. Don’t know if he would ever do it. Plus you have to love the ‘concert’ vibe after the hook.
Ko-jo Cue decided to go all “Drizzy Drake’ on Pretty Please- singing and rapping about his heartbreak. He solicits the help of Black Way (who is establishing himself as a ‘problem’ on this Mike Millz produced track). He acquitted himself perfectly with his singing (never mind the auto-tune). It’s groovy. My issue has to be how they truncated the song. Not cool at all!
When the track list was released, one of the songs I was expectant to hear was Young Daddy Lumba produced by DJ Juls. I was expecting two things to happen- a feature of Daddy Lumba by way of sampling of an oldie or a ode to the highlife great. However, Kojo- Cue decided to sample a popular Daddy Lumba oldie Mensae Da (I Won’t Lose).
Judging by the longevity (career wise), achievement and relevance of Daddy Lumba on the highlife music scene (the legend has over 25 albums till date), one can’t fault a young artiste like Ko-jo Cue for regarding him as an idol in his quest to becoming the ‘Young Daddy Lumba’.
Ko-Jo Cue passes as a brilliant rapper and song writer. He has a skill at not playing with words but a gift with lyrics. He is able to craft his words, especially the explicit ones in a way that glides off without the listener noticing the explicit content.
The Shining is a good look-good songs, excellent production, awesome guest features. It could in many ways pass as an album but we are told it is not. If Kojo –Cue’s quest, prior to 2014, at being recognized as one of the best rappers in Ghana was a case of swimming against the tide as the cliché goes, now courtesy BBNZ, he has been handed a new board to surf along the waves. It is up to his to prove he can stay on top of the waves for a long while. Something I’m sure he’ll do.
written by @swayekidd