THE CUTS is your weekly round-up of songs and videos-and anything that has caught our attention and think you must hear or see. The music featured here aren’t genre specific. THE CUTS is delivered every FRIDAY
Kwesi Arthur – Live From Nkrumah Krom
It was King Priam of Troy who said, upon meeting Helen for the first time –after she had been ‘stolen’ to Troy by Prince Paris- that ‘for once the gossips were right’. That was exactly my thoughts after listening to Live From Nkrumah Krom (LFNK), the debut EP by Tema based and Ground Up Chale rapper, Kwesi Arthur. For once, those who tweeted about his brilliance days before the EP was released were right. Kwesi Arthur is a talent. An excellent rapper with an impressive cohesive body of work. On LFNK, he takes the listener on a journey of his life, his ambitions and yes, faith as evidenced on the opening track Ade Akye, where he poses the question: ‘what’s the price of life when you ain’t got shit?’ before weaving a story about how a rich friend lost it all through frivolities. The first part of the song (the interlude) sounds like a tease of a full song. On the second part, Kwesi Arthur details his ambitions to make it in life and not stay lazy: ‘only the only lazy one finds fulfilment in sleep’.
On Back On the Wall, he points to the concept of riches breed friends and hardship births loneliness whiles begging for answers: ‘Is it envy? Is it jealousy? Why dey no dey like me like they used to?’ in a sing-rap style. Every artiste need that one crowd moving tune and on the trap soaked Grind Day, Kwesi Arthur offers one. Grind Day has him outlining reasons why he is working hard to be successful because ‘all these daily expenses, how you fit shop for the mall?’ when broke? The song is one that would get Travis Scott hyped. KaySo, who produced most of the songs got this jam locked. LFKN is not just an EP about his life. It also sees Kwesi Arthur spread his faith on it. On songs like the dancehall tinged Devil Knocking, he begs God to guide and bless his ways. God is also felt on Back On the Wall and Ade Akye. LFNK is an excellent introductory EP by Kwesi Arthur in his attempt to sell his craft to a wider public beyond his GroundUp Chale family. On just 5 tracks, the 25 year rapper discusses his beginning and a successful future with brilliant and inspiring lyrics whilst displaying his versatility.
Ria Boss – Find Your Free EP
Six (6) tracks is enough to get you mesmerized, inspired and awakened. This EP is the Ria Boss starter-pack to finding your free. Riding on soul, blues and jazz influences, Find Your Free (FYF) has Ria wearing her garb of inspiration rather than the lewd outfits of Hajia Kitty, her alter ego. Golden is a call to be what you want to be. Over simple piano chords, Ria croons about finding your purpose and being yourself: ‘be who you wanna be. It’s on you’, she sings in her trademark airy voice. She further poses the question: ‘do you wanna be more than you are?’ The charming piano chords on Golden paves way to the hard-hitting 808s and banging drums of Love Yourself. Showing glimpses of Erykah Badu’s singing style, she gives all those ‘feeling blue’ the tonic to ‘stay fly’ for ‘you got it all’. The EDWVN produced On Interlude hands the EP a haunting effect (the background humming) disturbs the feel on FYF (in a good way). Ria Boss sprinkles soothing aura on WHOULUV, a song with blues vibe. She seeks to unravel a puzzle in someone’s personality: ‘who taught you how to be calm in the face of the odds?’. Flame On is a live recorded song about triumphing over one’s fears. She is heard assuring a little girl she won’t ‘face her dark days alone, there’s light on the on the other side’. Ria urges her to ‘set herself on fire love’. String from a harp, a choir hum are the elements that surround Everything, an ode to the power and place of women is a closes the Find Your Free EP. The brilliant execution – production and inspiring lyrics- aside, i barely heard some of Ria Boss’ words on songs like On Interlude and WHOULUV (I lose the vibe if I don’t hear some words). The feeling you experience listening to Ria Boss is akin to the sweet, smooth breeze that sooth your body when you step out of a warm environment. It’s pleasurable and orgasmic, sending chills across your spine, sometimes. If you aren’t inspired to seek out your own free after listening to the EP, then I bet you can’t be saved.
MAAYAA – LIMBO
The voice is soothing and lively. The acoustic guitar riffs on which her voice meanders squelch with beautiful. Limbo is the first single from afro soul singer Maayaa, one of the newest voices on VI Music. Maayaa sings about the cycle of love: the joys, the pains, the desire to walk away yet you feel stuck and stays in it hoping for a better turn. Limbo carries simple lyrics which are confessional in nature and easily relatable. She admits on the opening verse: ‘I feel our fates are intertwined, no I’m not crazy’. She teases out her state before finding love: ‘I was broken when we met, you fixed me in two’, yet admits she is unsure if ‘you were a cure or my new disease’. Despite her doubts over the whole situation, finding the strength to leave remains a mirage: ‘you won’t leave and I can’t leave…I’m stuck in a limbo’. The honesty in Maayaa’s singing and her soothing operatic voice cast her as one with a bright future. And, its pleasing to see another female add her name to the roster of female singers. In her own words: Limbo is about addiction. Addiction to a person and experiencing dysfunctional love that’s difficult to let go of. To me, it’s a beautiful, honest reminder of why I started singing and writing music: the freedom to be as vulnerable and expressive as I want without judgement. This song is very special to me and I’m excited to share it with you all
Paapa Music – Losers
I think I’m right, you think you’re right/ It looks like we’ll be here all night
Life is too dear, life is too short/ so why do we turn love into a war?
These words are what opens the new single from Paapa Music, who has been off the music scene for a while (academics matter). His last outing was on M.anifest’s ‘Ozymandias’ (off Nowhere Cool). Losers is a song about living in peace, eschewing selfishness and being each other’s keeper. It’s a call to unite and say no to violence bearing in mind that, no one wins at the end. Paapa Music has always been about positivity on his songs. Aside the lyrics, his productions are always pristine as evident on Losers, which has elements of afrobeats (handclap is so Ghanaian), classical music and soul. His singing is flawless. As the world seems to spin towards disharmony, violence and suspicion-religious, ethnic- it is worth hearing Paapa remind us all thatin our quest to both win: ‘we both lose everything/ But we’re both still trying to win/ So we both lose everything’
bS feat Odunsi & Abu – Bomber
bS draft Odunsi ‘The Engine’ and Abu on this new afropop tune Bomber. The song carries a dancehall groove with bS sharing his nightly escapades with women; reminding the ladies that: ‘i no dey see you if the bottom no be fatter’ and how ‘when the beat drops, I feel tempted to touch’. bS switches between rapping and singing with Odunsi taking his spot on the hook, where he gives this simple hook a certain glow. Abu delivers the third verse of the track. Produced and mixed by Kuvie, Bomber carries those chiming chords, synths and slapping 808s- in minimal dose-which are part of Kuvie’s production tools. bS-whose earlier single ‘Respect The Government’ earned him fans is surely going to earn new fans off the back of ‘Bomber’ thanks to its delightful beat- its one to get you moving.
GAFFACI – Be Humble (Afro-EDM Remix)
With the success Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Humble’ is chalking on Billboard -and the overall record loud statement the album ‘DAMN.’ is making, it’s not surprising to see Gaffaci, producer and co-founder of Afro-EDM Collective JOWAA, put his own twist to the song. This remix is adrenaline filled as the beat has an EDM vibe. Gaffaci chops sections of the lyrics –b*tch be humble’, my left stroke just went viral and show me an ass with a stretch marks– on this tune. This remix isn’t one to sing along to. It’s one to sweat with when the DJ gives it a spin.