THE FIRST TIME I MET DELASI WAS IN 2013 at the sidelines of Chale Wote Festival. He was preparing to mount the stage later that evening. Spotting his trademark afro and a fugu (smock) over baggy jeans shorts and timberland boots; Delasi had his rapper’s outlook spot on.
In 2015, Delasi was featured by Kenyan rap collective MC Kah on their song Accra-Nairobi (watch video here). After watching his set at Accra Dot Alt’s Sabolai Radio event this year, two things stuck out for me about
Delasi: he knows how to croon over beats and his lyrics betray his identity-a Ghanaian (Ewe) and a Pan-Africanist.
With music fans craving for something different yet appealing; music that don’t duplicate today’s style or template (danceable beats, hackneyed themes), Delasi’s album is a good choice. His music is replete with thought-provoking themes.
The rapper cum singer has released his debut 25 track album, Thought Journey. As the presser that accompanied the album release stated, Delasie want listeners to ‘learn what’s on my mind… want to be able to start discussions’.
The album navigates the plains of happiness, pain, trepidations, sorrow and optimism-themes that are hemmed together in the consciousness of this rapper who is not unashamed to wear his Pan-African credentials proudly.
The album is profoundly localized thanks to the incorporation of African rhythms-fontomfrom and atumpan drums, horns, banjo and metal gongs which blends uniformly into the highlife, afrobeats and jazz and soul melodies. Again, Delasi digs into his lingua vault, blending English, Ewe, Twi and Pidgin in his songs.
Welcome to my thought journey express/ where I express my intellect, interests and sentiments/and make it dawn on the universe, Delasi croons in the opener of his album, giving the listener a glimpse of what he represents. This was preceded by a spoken word description of who he is.
On songs such as Dreamer, Delasi reminds us to ‘close our eyes’ and dream for ‘having dreams awake, troubles fades away’. Miss Material talks about well you already can deduce the message (the voice of an unknown vocalist is the punch in the song) whiles Artificial Lines bemoans the perpetual struggles of mankind (someone tell me why the Promise Land is not for everyone?).
Whereas Pigment Matter chides the new craze of skin bleaching or toning (I see moron I remain if I say can’t we all get along…give me the brush to paint your image a bit darker), Lom Na Va seeps with pure emotions; and Why queries some of lives begging questions (why do we treat each other with so much hatred? We were born naked. We need to cover how we feel inside).
The standouts on this album are the messages embedded in some of the songs Delasi has crafted. They are messages that occupy or have occupied the mind(s) of each one of us at a particular period. And of course there is that sweet, pliable and attractive voice that Delasi pours all over the album. His singing captivates more than his raps on this album.
Having to listen to an album that runs for 76 minutes where some of the tracks sound almost repetitive (in style and themes) and sometimes thinking a rap verse in a song could have been avoided (Adakabraka Girls as reference) takes a bit away from the album.
This notwithstanding, the album has a good ring around it. Thought Journey does not boast of any big hits (if you’re a big hit seeker). The album is an impressive, well conceptualized body of work but not one to blow the listener away sonically.