The sophomore album of EL is one fans had been waiting for since his debut landed in 2012. Something Else, the 20 track double CD officially saw EL emerge out of the cave of semi-anonymity to the throes of stardom.
Elorm Adablah winning the Best Hip-hop Artiste at the 2015 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards was not by default. His work towards his current status was by dint of hard work. And I dare say, EL is the most hardworking artiste at this particular point in time. The evidence to back this assertion is right below:
First off, EL is a music producer. He is also the president of BBnZ Records, the label he is signed to. I’m guessing most of you know the other great and talented artistes on this famous record label; If these aren’t work enough, be informed that between his debut in 2012 till date, he has released two well received mixtapes- BAR I & II. And this past weekend, he embarked on an official album signing tour for his latest project. In between these busy schedules, EL continues his hustle with various video shoots to increase the aesthetic value of his art as he also goes on tours and features on other peoples’ project. That’s how this 6’4 lanky looking bar spitting Ghanaian is working.
As stated earlier, on the 27th of December, 2015, EL and his BBnZ label hosted an album listening event for a select few. This past weekend commemorated the official release of the album heralded by two album signing sessions. Frankly, I never saw the release of ELOM coming-not in December, 2015.
Dropping a mixtape and an album the same year as another record label mate had his album released in December was one I never anticipated.
EL’s sophomore- titled ELOM acronyms as Everybody Loves Original Music – like its predecessor, is a double CD album featuring some of the biggest names in contemporary Ghanaian music. Also, he enlisted three top notch Nigerian acts for this project.
Three things do stick out when listening to ELOM. First, the singing. EL chose to sing more on this album than rap as evident on such songs as So Amazing, Don’t Let Me Burn and the radio hits Mi Na Bo Po, Koko. It seemed EL was exhibiting another side to his craft in his quest to becoming an all-round artiste.
Second, the direction of the music (sound) was kept purely African and diverse. One can hear all shades of Afro beats on the album-from ‘agbadza’ to ‘azonto’ rhythms. EL also went further to experiment with Electro Dance Music (EDM) rhythms.
Again, featuring Phyno, Patoranking and Banky W sounded like a good step for him towards growing his brand across Nigeria and Africa since I have wondered why he keeps playing within Ghana and not spreading his wings outside the borders of his homeland.
The opening track, Kwame Nkrumah 2 is a re-work of Obrafour’s classic ‘Kwame Nkrumah’ and what hits the listener first is the bass guitar strings and also the long, auto-tuned wail of EL. Obrafour’s exposition about EL’s journey till date is befitting.
The EDM influenced So Amazing follows next with EL singing about an imaginary girl and throwing in a 6 bar rap line. The song’s appeal lies much with Drum Roll’s production abilities; infusing those subliminal trap works in there.
The singing continued on Watch The Way You Dey Waka featuring Phyno, whose laid back Igbo flow and EL’s singing complimented the ‘agbadza’ rhythms. The song advices one to have an eye at the back of their heads in life. Hearing EL rap in Ewe for me was really surprising.
The tempo of the song peaks on the ebullient and feisty Stonebwoy assisted Cake, a song about fake friends and girls. The theme is a continuation of the previous track and Stonebwouy gave the song an extra punch.
On the Nel Magnum produced Don’t Let Me Burn , EL let us in on his dilemma, singing:
‘A blank page is so beautiful/ So many possibilities we control/ So, should I say the truth and burn my soul/Or should I harp about my fantasies? I don’t know’.
At the end EL chooses to speak truth whiles sharing the inspiration behind the song, recalling his mum’s advice that ‘if you lie and you die its bye bye’. The sampled horns, guitar works, the emotions and the message of the song makes it appealing.
Banky W proved again on The One why he is one of the best crooners and versatile artistes on the continent with his singing and rapping on this catchy pop induced, afro beat flavoured track with I’m- Giving-It-All- Up- For-The-One theme.
‘Like the fire burns/And the young ones grow/ Every night I learn that I’m all alone/And I go so numb/In my heart and soul/ Cos there’s no one here with a broken home/So, if I told you I was ailing would you take my hand?/ If I told you I was hurting would you heal my wounds?/ I don’t know how this happened/But I need someone to save me’ – Save Me
EL remembered to give his hip hop fans something to roar about with Pour Put Inside featuring Dex Kwasi and Sarkodie, Save Me featuring Gemini and Yehowa where the “EL the rapper”, who all this while had been taking a snooze woke up, dropping punchlines, reminiscing on his ‘cup in a mic’ days with the Skillions and how haters are working hard to end his run with lines as “Deliver me from my enemies especially those who hate me for my melodies/ They can’t believe they can’t achieve my pedigree/ They wanna see my legacy as memory’.
ELOM is a good attempt by EL to diversify his musical talents (singing) en route to becoming a complete versatile artiste. And judging by the array of guests he featured, the producers he lined up and the overall good vibe the album carries, EL is on a good path.
However, ELOM has its flaws. The album is so much auto-tuned to aid EL’s singing- not a bad inclusion when rightly pitched. On some of the songs (Kwame Nkrumah, So Amazing, Don’t Let Me Burn), the high pitch renders them irking. The use of auto-tune renders EL a prisoner to melody leaving you to question why these obvious blemishes weren’t rectified during the mastering stage.
Another is the sequencing of tracks. The ebb and flow of the arrangement takes a bit of fun away from the album as one’s piqued excitement after a high tempo track fizzles on the next. For instance why should Cake be followed by Love Her More? Or Sugar Girl be stuck between Pour Put Inside and Gbagbalaja?
EL’s passion for the art of music is not in doubt. As he succinctly stated in the Mike Millz produced Osibisa sampled classic We Are Going: ‘I’m not an addict, I’m focused. This is the path I chose. Don’t take my passion for jokes cos I’m laughing a lot’.
A true statement from an artiste who knows himself. An artiste whose achievements is a joy to his parents who proudly tell ‘their friends their son is EL the rapper to make them jealous’.
But, judging from his sophomore, that passion, the energy and hunger pales in comparison to the two mixtapes he released previously and even with his debut Something Else.