‘‘What’s the word/ what’s the world. The sound is back”
Just yesterday, I tweeted about how evocative Joey B’s artwork for his single Otoolege was. Hours later, he released the visuals for his latest tune 89, which by all account IS a certified hit. 89 also happens to be the title of his soon to be released debut album.
Sometimes, one can judge the ‘dopeness’ of a song by its opening lines. The opening verse of 89 is an example. In his usual laid back style, Joey B introduces himself: Is the god of waves/Ma mi sima (give me a minute) make I launch the way/how do you proceed without informing the king’.
89 evokes nostalgia on many fronts as depicted in the video and heard in the lyrics. Joey B decided to stir in the listener some of the famous soundtracks, stories, videos and TV shows that became part of the growing life in the 90s though Joey was referring to the periods 89 to 95.
The Wanlov directed video was entirely shot in North Kaneshie, home of Joey B and features poet Mutombo also a resident of the suburb. The visuals for the son reflect the 1980/90s hip hop videos of the likes of NWA and Run DMC and the hip life videos of the 90s. Also, Instrumentals sound as similar as those from the 90s – as one can imagine.
With close-ups, long shots and panoramic angles, Joey is seen riding through North K on a bicycle, leaning beside a vintage car or hanging out with his friends on the basketball court. The panoramic shot of the Kaneshi Sports Complex is superb. (Needless to say, the state of the court is tragic but it did bring the flare). Clothing was everything “90s”; denim jeans folded up the ankles, subtly oversized shirts, a cap tilted, sunglasses, and obviously his Adidas; high top Adidas sneakers – The Fresh Prince of North K.
Joey B references some of the finer moments of the late 80s to mid-90s (wavy era) such as characters in the ever popular TV show Things We Do For Love (Pusha, lend me your handkerchief my sweat dey drip/ Aluta, lend me your afro comb my hair dey itch) whilst mocking kids born in late 90s for missing the good times (89 to 95 all wavy/ 98, you’re rather late, all babies).
He also compares his style to Terry Bonchaka and Rap DactA (Okyeame Kwame) and acknowledges the classic nature of Pae Mu Ka and Maka Maka, albums of Obrafour and Reggie Rockstone respectively as his ‘green card’. Joey also pays homage to Tic Tac, Keteke, Buk Bak and Kwame Despite (a famous entrepreneur who started out as a cassette seller).
It is unsurprising hearing Joey B admitting how ‘sicker’ the sound of Hiplife was back then. He raps: The sound was sicker than all the newer things now on the scene. It sounds ridiculous what be this sef? I bore chale. Skip it. Dammit!
Mutombo the Poet continues the walk down into memory lane with his poem (despite reminding us he is an ’81 baby) touching on how there was only GBC TV and GBC 1 back then; a famous pioneer nails advert, turning sides of cassette tapes to listen to both sides and how dubbing songs from radio to cassette was so cool (Don’t talk to me if you’ve never recorded from radio to tape music from your favourite stars). What was streaming or downloading again? Mutombo proceeds to shout out some of Accra’s favourite DJs/radio personalities of that era like BB Menson (Radio Gold), Bush K (Vibe FM) and DJ Black (Joy FM).
On 89, Joey B reminded us of the good ol’ days when all was classy and wavy and also positioned himself as the guy bringing back the waviness of that era- the 89 sound-back into our lives again.
Y3daase Joey. Watch the video below: