Fancy Gadam played himself on ‘Total Cheat’: A funny look at this summer hit song.

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Fancy Gadam and Sarkodie on the ‘Total Cheat’  video shoot. photo from his twitter page 

If the use of ‘summer’ got you raising your eyebrows, then, you don’t know what time it is (no apologies to Sarkodie). Summer has entered our weather season lexicon courtesy the abrokyire people (the diasporans, returnees mostly). And even though it’s mostly hot in this part of our world, we can’t  ignore the use of the term- summer too!

Now that we’ve settled that ‘summer’ confusion, let’s talk about Fancy Gadam. Ever since his ‘coup’ at the 2016 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards- where he won the award for New Artiste of the Year against all odds- he is proving why he deserved that accolade.

We all saw the viral video of his triumphant return to Tamale after his win. The crowd that came to meet him was similar to a Roman emperor returning from a victorious conquest. The artiste who can rival that crowd is Shatta Wale, arguably. Fancy Gadam and Macassio seems to be the two biggest pop artistes from the northern part of the country making waves. The Northern region has some incredible talents who are respected and regarded in their ‘homeland’. Unfortunately, their music barely permeates the southern market.

Atongo Zimba, King Ayisoba got noticed off the back of their traditional brand of music music they made. Sheriffa Gunu hasn’t really stamped her name within the pop music arena. Wiyaala is another ‘northern star’ presently making huge waves. Fancy Gadam and Macassio are now rearing their head very strongly. If you want to know more about the art scene in the Northern part of the country, @wunpini_fm  has the juice. Her blog, savannahlifestyle.org is a curating pot.

Back to the topic, Fancy Gadam has released a mega hit. His latest outing ‘Total Cheat’ is a jam. With production from the award winning Killbeatz and a feature from Sarkodie, ‘Total Cheat’, with its catchy afropop aura, gripping melody, simple hook and the bounce is a radio formatted jam. And it’s unsurprising to hear many radio stations locking it in their playlist. The song has an impressive video to match. The David Nicol-Sey directed video received the ‘DNS’ (Nicol’s initials by the way) treatment: glossy, great use of light, fashion(nable), well edited.

The song and its lyrics is where my attention lies. For those who haven’t heard the song, Fancy Gadam details the cheating and deceptive ways of his lover (I’ll come to that soon). First, the song title- Total Cheat- sounds like a Ghallywood movie title. It tells you exactly what to expect without watching the movie. Same applies to the song. One can easily deduce what Fancy is going to whine about.

Then the lyrics come in and there you realize who Fancy really is. Yes, men lie, women lie too. Men cheat, women cheat as well. But to be cheated on or be deceived in more ways that one is an absolute heartbreaking shit (strike through thing). Based on the chorus alone, you sense it’s not a fancy (all pun intended) situation. ‘She be born one virgin/ born two virgin/ born three virgin/she be born four virgin’, he sings with a tone of shock, not the pain in his voice. This hook leaves me with so many questions.

Unless Fancy Gadam was in a long distance relationship, it should be possible to figure out if a girl you are seriously dating has kid(s). Of course, one could hide the fact that they have a child for fear of losing the person they love. However, it would be such a strange tale for a ‘born four’ (single mother with four kids) to hide such truth for a long while. Fancy Gadam expressing shock about this means he’s not diligent- an unacceptable trait to have in these times. He’s the type of guy who loses his reasoning abilities in the face of love. Love being a drug playing out right there.

Another question: how can you date someone without seeing her actual face? Unless she’s Arya Stark who can wear someone’s face. I must admit, make-ups do wonders. The makeup artistes are the real devils of our time. It’s a jaw dropping moment each time I see a video of how they transform some ‘ordinary’ looking ladies into stunning damsels. It’s ridiculously unbelievable.

Why be say I marry you beautiful/ Next day and you are ugly

But, at a point, one would definitely see her ‘real face’. You’ll definitely visit her home. Go out on a swim date or have her sleep over at least once. Being shocked at seeing her face a day after your marriage confirms my suspicion that Fancy Gadam was in a long distant (online) relationship; the reason he never got the opportunity to see her in the physical, take her out on a date, never indulged in sleepovers or got to know her family or her friends. In my opinion, only online dating could bring about such a wrong choice in a relationship.

Based off this misfortune that befell him, one could clearly say Fancy Gadam wasn’t smart enough. He allowed himself to be played big time. He allowed love to blind him totally. For his lack of smartness, he deserved to be cheated on. He obviously didn’t pay heed to Daddy Lumba’s famous advice that ‘mbaa bi y3 dangerous’. (Some girls are dangerous). Fancy Gadam cheated himself.

Throwback: MzBel feat Castro – Yoopoo

 

IMG_20170706_171524Today marks the third year since Castro disappeared. Till date, no concrete news has been adduced for his disappearance. Whatever has been in the news reel is based on plausible speculations. Today’s throwback isn’t deliberately to celebrate Castro, even though it would not been out of place. It’s just a coincidence that the throwback song for this week features him. 

 

For starters, let me state emphatically that I’m a MzBel fan for two great reasons: one, she has consistently worn her sexuality with such offending resplendence since she first emerged on the music stage a decade and half ago. Two, MzBel is a strong person who hasn’t allowed her past to define her. She has been raped, abused and judged negatively by society, yet the singer/rapper, Nana Akua, walks with her chin high and her upper lip tight.

Of course, she hasn’t been very professional in expressing her opinions on certain subjects, be it political or social level. Her comments have always been more stronger than her physique. The backlash her actions often court is self-inflicted.

These notwithstanding, MzBel is a trail blazer. She succeeded in shattering the ceiling as far as how female artistes were suppose to carry themselves. She entered the music scene when being ‘descent’ was the general expectation. She, however chose to show that moral code the middle finger and bring her baddest behavior to the fore.

The Sassy Girl’s showbiz persona was heard in her music, seen in her videos and during performances. The lyrics of her songs were explicit and suggestive, her performances ridiculously rauchy and her videos, often steamy. MzBel wasn’t a good girl who went bad. She was damn bad from the onset. 

One of her songs that confirmed these qualities was the 2004 hit song ‘Yoopoo’. From every angle you look at it, ‘Yoopoo’ (a slang which loosely translate as excellently done) was bound to be a hit. From the production to artistes featured to the music, ‘Yoopoo’ was a hit from the first day.

MzBel had prior to the song established herself as the foremost female artiste on the secular music scene. Her debut single ‘Ade d33d3’ (Sweetest Thing) had earned her deserved popularity. The producer behind ‘Yoopo’, JQ, was also establishing himself as one of the hit makers in the country (he was adjuged the best producer at the 2004 Ghana Music Awards). JQ was then managing a young, vibrant and multi- talented singer/rapper Castro. Also, Screwface, a rising dancehall artiste was also sliding atop the dancehall wave.

MzBel ensured she showcased her bad behaviour on the song. ‘Yoopoo’ is very sexually toned yet claded in metaphors to conceal its true meaning. The Two language employs a lot of metaphors especially in expressing sexual thoughts making it easy for artistes to incorporate in their music. 

But, despite this observation, MzBel was MzBel on the song; singing and rapping about her sexual encounter/intentions for a man as the chorus indicated : he loves it when I’m sitting on him but gets mad when i get up and leave/ my love do it quick/I don’t have capa (the strength)’.

Castro also took the baton from MzBel and painted a nice picture of MzBel’s fearsome sexual abilities which could get you confused: ‘get me my cigarette to light up my matches’. In a trade-off of verses, she emphasized her naughtiness again: ‘i’ll ride you to heaven when I get you’. Screwface’s verse completed the narrative. He was indicative of her sex is the magic that keeps him staisfied.

JQ’s production was absolutely splendid. His signature beat which combines elements of highlife and Ga Jama rhythms (with it’s soft bubbling drums) and trombone (horn) placements gave Yoopoo an element of catchiness. This jama influenced sound made JQ a go to producer for artistes seeking that big commercial tune. 

It has been more than 10 years since Yoopoo was released. Yet, it still sounds evergreen and nostalgic. Not only would you sing along the memorable hook, if not the entire song, it still carries the magnetic pull that would get you to twirl around even if your dancing is as depressing as mine.

MzBel has a place in my heart still. She made some of the best music of her career songs from the early 2000s to around 2010. Songs that still sounds timeless. And in my eyes, MzBel shattered the ceiling and inspired some of today’s female musicians like Ebony to let the sexuality pervade the music they make. After all, there’s nothing shameful about being slutty on wax and videos.

And for that single act, MzBel deserves her praise. Yoopoo, just like other songs by her is certainly a classic tune.

One Year On: The birth of a ‘godMC’

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Thursday 30th June, 2016.

History is replete with iconic moments that end up impacting the world in a positive manner.  These moments move from mere incidents to great encounters that outlive generations. Nostalgia is what it provokes in those who lived to witness it. For the others who get to be told, fascination is what fills them up. For many Ghanaian music enthusiast, that iconic moment was June 30th, 2016.

Nobody saw it coming. Nobody expected it. It came to us like the rapture; many went to sleep the night with no expectation of a brooding ‘war’, yet woke up to the talk about the biggest heist in the Ghanaian hip hop history. For weeks, the world stopped spinning. The opinion tap was opened and they flowed in torrents, on social media, on blogs, radio, TV and newspapers. Rap intellectuals got busy scrutinizing lyrics. Many took to social media to mock and throw shade at the victim of attack while others kept wondering if they would be a clap back. In all the ensuing melee, one poignant question that remained unanswered was the trigger for arguably, the best diss song ever on the Ghanaian hip hop scene.

What makes ‘godMC’ such a dope song was the display of creative depth in terms of wordplay by M.anifest: “Don’t compare me to stone boy, I’m Amarula (I’m a ruler)’’. The delivery was calmer and charming; a rare quality seen in the art of dissing. He displayed a sense of humanity; appearing respectful in tone yet cruelly stinging Sarkodie with his words: ‘go to the market/buy yourself some manner/ don’t use my name in vain that’s just for starters’. He was like Mohammed Ali dancing around his opponents, ducking punches and stinging them like a bee.

M.anifest, a rapper whose deftness in rap (hip hop) was appreciated by few, saw his career take an upward progression after releasing his surprised, game changing single ‘godMC’. The song caused a stir among music fans, finally confirming the suspicion of a subtle beef between Sarkodie and himself. The genesis of the beef commenced when Sarkodie released ‘Bossy’, a braggadocio song where he referenced M.anifest’s moniker ‘M. do do ti do’ when ending his rap. Nine days after, M.anifest (M.Dot) dropped his response on ‘godMC’.

The song elevated M.anifest from the shadows of hip hop to the centre of the rap conversation. The light finally beamed on him and his career has never been the same ever. Surely, M.Dot would have been a force within the rap scene. But, ‘godMC’ sped his recognition process.

Dream Jay, the producer of ‘godMC’ laid the perfect afro-trap beat for M.anifest to rip apart. The opening horns which were expertly placed at the beginning of each bar sounded warlike. The placement of Lil Win’s famous ‘I can’t think madness’ quote evoked a sense of ill-intent albeit comical. His words were like molten lava spreading steadily over the beats.

The controversy that ‘godMC’ elicited was all positive since it, for over a month had eyes on the hip hop/hiplife music scene. It also saw ‘dead’ artistes throwing their hook of relevance off the back of the controversy. The biggest beneficiary was undoubtedly M.anifest. He got all the attention that would have taken him years to work towards finding. Many Ghanaians, including non-music fans were suddenly interested in knowing the rapper who had dared thrown shot at Sarkodie. ‘godMC’ brought M.anifest more exposure than his award winning song ‘Someway Bi’ ever did. And like an experienced warrior who has studied his opponent over a long period, he walked away when Sarkodie responded knowing his work was done.

M.anifest’s audacity to stop tiptoeing around names through his subliminal lyrics and calling out Sarkodie in such a manner is akin to Leonidas’ flying spear glazing the flesh of Darius, the god king. I’m not sure M.anifest had the intention of ‘dethroning’ Sarkodie. He wanted to show that, a king also bleeds. It’s important to also remember that, ‘godMC’, a diss track got M.anifest a VGMA best hip hop rapper plaque.

by Swaye (@swayekidd)

My visit to Mmofra Park

Safe playgrounds and open spaces are not a common sight in Accra. It’s an ironic situation considering Accra is deemed a ‘Millennium City’ (we revel in labels).  Parents, Guardians and adults seeking a very serene environment for moments of solace struggle to settle on one. 

So, a couple of weeks ago when I got invited to the Mmofra Park by one of the people I consider a mentor, I obliged for two reasons: one, you don’t ever turn your back on a request from someone you honestly respect. Second, it was an opportunity for me to find out what really the Mmofra Park was about.

I’ve heard about Mmofra Park, an initiative by the Mmofra Foundation. I’ve been invited to events at the venue on more than two occasions but failed to honour the invitations on both occasions, sadly.

The Mmofra Park

Located at Dzorwulu, som 5 mins walk from the Abelemkpe traffic intersection (you turn right when you are driving from the Perez Church). As the name suggest, “Mmofra” which means Children or kids in twi, is a playground for children. The park is everything that the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park, deemed as the nation’s children’s park, is not.

The park is the vision of the famed playwright and activist, Efua T. Sutherland. According to information I gathered, she bought the land many decades ago when Dzorwulu was nothing like it is today. (Dzorwulu was considered an unfit area for human habitation. Today, it’s one of the prime areas in the city).

The Sutherland family converted the land into what their forebear had always wanted; a safe, serene and educative playground for kids. 

It’s such a tragedy that a bustling city like Accra has next to no safe spaces or grounds for it’s inhabitants especially children. Early childhood development experts have indicated how important playing is in the development process of kids. An article published by the Guardian newspaper on child education in Europe showed that, kids in Norway grow smarter because the educational system places much emphasis on playing than rigorous classroom work. 

One of the best things playgrounds like Mmofra afford is the opportunity for parents to strengthen the bond between themselves and their kids; for kids to bond with other kids; and also develop friendships with other families through play and education. The park is the perfect avenue for socialization and friendship making. 

The park looks like a work in progress. It’s evidently clear that the owners have the intention of expanding the park. For now, kids can play on the swings, indulge in a game of basketball or kick some football around along with the usual running and other sporting activities. Parents could host birthday parties or picnics for the kids at the park as well.

Even though it’s a park for kids, the atmosphere offers the right ambience for adults who wish to do some reading, writing, thinking or indulge in mediation. The quietness is the perfect incentive. 

With the city seeing a fast paced commercialization and occupation of every space of land thanks to gentrification and real estate developments, it is a resounding move to see there are people whose interest lies in the provision of excellent place for both leisure and educative purposes for young kids.

If you’ve never been there, you should visit the facility. For parents looking to spend some quality time with their kids on weekends and holidays, Mmofra Park is the ideal place for you. It’s good to visit the mall but spending time with your kids in an open space is an experience. Don’t worry about the cost. It’s extremely affordable.



Bridging the Gap between Art and Politics: How Tuface Idibia and Tekno are leading the way

(all photos courtesy Royal TV)

Art and Politics. 

The arguments have raged on whether the two are distinct​ or are mutually inexclusive. The arguments of those who advocate  the separation rest in the fact that, artists don’t understand the nuances of politics and are therefore liable to misinform, misjudge and miseducate the masses who believe in their words. This ‘flaw’ is enough reason for them to step away from politics.

For defenders of the second school of thought, art reflect the state of affairs at any period of time, therefore artists- writers, poets, painters, dramatists and musicians- forming a critical part of the society, must involve themselves in the process. Any call for them to be uninterested in the political dealings of their society is assinine.

Although, the first argument sound ridiculous, the actions/inactions of some artists to recline into the comfortable chair of inactivism has fuelled the believe among people that, artists must not enter the political fray. The only occasion that guarantees them the right to indulge in politics is when they become full time politicians. 

Artists in Africa have always been political animals. Through the pre-independence era to post-independence epoch, records exist to show that, some African artists were very active participants within the political independence struggle. 

One country that found it’s artists blurring the two gulfs (if there exist any) is Nigeria especially post- independence in 1960. From writers such as Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and Ken Saro-Wiwa to foremost musicians like Fela Anikulapo Kuti along with many others, they never missed an opportunity to criticize their country’s leaders, whom they consider liable for Nigeria’s viscous transformation to a better society, both on the political, social and economic fronts. 

Whiles Ken Saro-Wiwa paid the high price for his activities, Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe fled into exile when their lives became threatened. Fela Kuti however, stayed in Nigeria, suffered for his commentaries (through his music), most times at the peril of his life, albeit taking shelter sometimes in Ghana when the political heat became unbearable.

The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of it’s leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership – Chinua Achebe, The Trouble With Nigeria

The torch of political consciousness lighted by Fela Kuti through his music continued to burn after his death. In his kids, Femi and Seun Kuti, his legacy lives. Other musicians, of recent generation, inspired by Fela have stepped into the fray, the prognosis of the Nigerian society serving as their artistic fodder. 

These musicians are not oblivious of the consequences of their actions: trumped up criminal charges, accusations and losing fans. They, however, recognize their civic roles of edifying the populace of happenings in society. By discussing the everyday struggles of the average citizen and identifying with their plight, these musicians are demystifying the notion of living in a comfortable bubbe-their riches or success are shielding them from the harsh realities facing the ordinary guy.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a video by one of the influential musicians in Nigeria, Tuface Idibia which carried a very important political theme. It was a video for his single “Holy Holy”. The song addresses the many allegations and challenges that Tuface encountered when he attempted to step near the political fire. He knew he’d sweat from stepping too close, yet he did. 

Earlier this year, news emerged that Tuface was organizing a demonstration against the choking economic crisis facing Nigeria; the country was going through a recession. The march didn’t happen. Whiles he was criticized by both the political class and some Nigerians for his ‘politically’ motivated march (it was alleged he was being used by the opposition), there were rumours of him being paid off by the government to call off the protest march. On “Holy Holy”, the ‘African Queen’ singer addressed some of the issues. The video of the song conveyed much more than what the lyrics offered.

The video for Holy Holy:

The video for “Holy Holy” spotlight two interesting ideas: first, the criticism and the overall actions of sections of the public when an individual decides to critique the political system. Second, it brings into focus the state of Nigeria after independence per its overall development. Even though the song is about Tuface and his trials, it also extends to all who get attacked for their political opinions.

As you get opinion make you know say other people get opinion too/Jah Jah love so amazing/I keep elevating’ – Tuface, Holy Holy

The first image that’s seen in the video is of kids fleeing from an area under attack: the flume, the gunshots and the confusion. The scene reflect the often seen mayhem that the senseless terror attacks carried out by Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria. 

A Fela Kuti video interview follows. Fela, in this interview sums up the reaction of Africans in the face of serious issues which should court their anger: ‘we suffer and smile’, he observed. A shot of a black Mercedes Benz (Nigeria’s love Benz) with numerous daggers (matchetes) stuck into it comes along. A sparkling Eagle emblem (National symbol) ironically sit on this old car. The Benz bears the registration number 1960.

The Benz, the matchete sticking through it, the shining Eagle emblem and the number plate of 1960 is a metaphor for the state of Nigeria. The burnt Benz represent the corroding state of Nigeria (the blatant corruption, mismanagement of resources); the shining eagle represent the pride of Nigeria; the registration number of 1960 is when Nigeria became independent.

2Baba, in his black (mourning) jalabia (traditional gown) is shown gazing across a vast land from a hilltop. He’s ‘visited’ by people from diverse backgrounds– priests, ordinary folks, judges, sultans, security persons who pelt him with stones. But, their efforts are thwarted by the invisible shield around him. This scene ties in to the earlier criticism he suffered when he decided to organize the demonstration and eventually backing off.

Towards the end of this Clarence A. Peters directed video, the Benz catches fire with Tuface, emerging from the flame dressed in all white, waving the Green, White and Green flag of Nigeria. A new dawn, a new optimism, a new dream. A clear case of it must get destroyed before we elevate. 

On “Holy Holy”, Tuface told his own story- his frustrations, his dream for his country, the current state of affairs of Nigeria and his ultimate wish of a corruption free, peaceful, and developed Nigeria. 

Before “Holy Holy”, another artiste had broached the subject of Nigeria and it’s affairs. Tekno, has made a name off the back of his hit song “Pana”. With it’s minimal tone, well infused synths and mid-tempo groove, Tekno won hearts and admiration for his stellar output. Other equally happy tunes followed, including production and writing credits for other big name artistes (he wrote and produced ‘IF’ for Davido​). 

But, one song that defined Tekno’s versatility and political consciousness is “Ra Ra”, a highlife influenced song. The song focuses on the conumdrum that is Nigeria: a country which has, since 1960 been scared to rise to it’s potential as a developed country despite it’s reources-oil and people. Tekno, touches on the issues of eternal energy crisis, poverty and under-development. 

He reminds the political authorities​ to satisfy the basic needs of the citizens before moving to the bigger things. His opening lyrics on “Ra Ra” dovetails into the observation by Fela at the start of the “Holy Holy” video. Tekno sings these words in pidgin: “my country people/dem dey talk talk/ dem just dey paramboulat/so so story every year”.

He touches on the energy crisis that has bedeviled Nigeria for decades and point to corruption as the reason. It’s a irony that, one of the worlds producers of oil can’t produce enough for the use of it’s citizens: ”NEPA no bring light/ Generator wan tear my ear/ Plenty greedy man for there”.  He goes on to remind the political authorities that dreaming big is great but satisfying the basic needs is of greater importance: ” forget about the big things/ so make we talk about the small things”.

International something/ Is a big situation/ Dem dey pack our money/take it to other nation

Invest for your country o/Spend the money for your country/ Make it a better place – Tekno (Ra Ra)

There’s no dichotomy between Arts and Politics. These two are more like Siamese twins than identical twins. Whereas art mirrors the political temperature, politics provides the fodder for artists to feed on. Even if there are efforts to separate the two, some artists still remind us that, that separation is nothing but a mirage. 

And it is heartwarming to see that, artists aren’t just finding inspiration in the political conditions in their respective country but are stepping within the political realm as activists; doing their bit in raising consciousness, projecting the challenges within their society and pressuring authorities to concentrate efforts in addressing these concerns. 

Taking a decision to be an activist has it’s consequences, sometimes injurious to the artists and those closest to them. This fear cows a lot of African artists from being vocal on political issues. But, as stakeholders in the political sphere, shying away from human related issues betrays your calling as an artists. That’s why Tuface and Tekno deserve all the love and encouragement. Not mission shattering criticisms. 

Rapper Wanlov shares inspiration behind the making of ‘Orange Card’ album

If there’s one thing most Ghanaian artistes aren’t good at, it is going out of their way to share the inspiration or concepts behind the songs or albums they make. One artiste, doing just that is songwriter, rapper and producer, Wanlov The Kubolor. 

Days after releasing his fourth studio album, ”Orange Card – Fruitopian Raps” (album was released on 26th April, 2017 ), the ‘My Toto’  performer took to twitter to explain, in short details, the inspiration behind each track and why he featured those he did on the album.

“Orange Card: My Fruitopian Rap” is a 21 track album and features a host of artistes like M3nsa, Mutombo Da Poet, Anjolee (she was on his first album Green Card), Worlasi, Kay-Ara, Joey B, Medikal AMG, Sister Debbie, Dex Kwasi, Kwame Write and many others.

The album is influenced heavily by the general circumstances plaguing the country such as the plastic menace, galamsey, dumsor, neo-colonialism, immigration and corruption.

For any keen observer of Wanlov, it’s unsurprising to hear him tackle such issues on ‘Orange Card’. His socio-political advocacy against corruption hasn’t been a recent preoccupation. On his debut album ‘Green Card’, released in 2007, he addressed such concerns​. He has also been very vocal against environmental pollution (galamsey and plastic waste menace), homophobia and religious bigotry.

It is a well known fact that Wanlov divides opinions in more ways than one. His critics will point to his controversial​ opinions and his intolerance for differing views especially when it bothers on his art or that of his close pals. One, however, cannot fault his creativity or artistry, whether in crafting music or drawing up concepts for his films and videos.

By sharing insights on how the album and songs were inspired, Wanlov has provided, not only a dimension for ‘Orange Card’ to be appreciated. He has led the way in helping document these concepts without being requested to.

Watch his song-by-song interview with BeatPhreaks recently.

follow Wanlov for more updates on @wanlov

Video Review: Joey B – Sunshine

After some 6 months of silence, rapper Joey B returns to our screen/radio with new visuals/song for ‘Sunshine’, a movie themed, dark video with many high points.

Let’s all agree on something: Joey B is on a different wave. He is actually running a course many aren’t walking. It’s this: he’s not dropping singles before visuals. He’s releasing both at the same time. The last he did was with 89, his nostalgia-provoking tune/video. (Read our review here).

His new release, ‘Sunshine’ can be described in only positive terms: Brilliant. Creative. Cinematic. Magnificent. With Prince Dovlo at the helm as director along with Joey B, the two create their own version of ‘Magnificent Seven’-the movie. On the song/video, Joey B is lamenting about staying successful, the many frustrating obstacles hindering his dream: enviness and vile jealousy that plagues the industry (the whole industry be fake). He asks God to save him and grant him strength: ‘Yesu gyimi na me br3/work too hard I just dey stress/At times I wan’ shun then bed’, he sing-raps over sobering trap beat punctuated by piano chords. He continues on the hook: ain’t no Sunshine/ain’t no rain/all I wanna do is reign’. 

Sunshine is heavily influenced by Spaghetti Western movie themes. The difference here is that Joey B (aka Charlie Kwame Ranger) playing the lead role as a bounty hunter. Highlights of the video include the brilliant use of light. The video is mostly shot in dark, with bits of silhouette scenes infused in it. The only source of light are the flickers of fire ostensibly to warm themselves. The costumes are also vintage (cowboy apparels) as seen in movies like Django, Magnificent Seven. Even the lettering used to announce the cast is Quintin Tarantino/Django-esque. And what is a Spaghetti Western-inspired video without a horse? (dark horse for that matter).

A few symbolism can be gleaned from the video as well. The passing train scene with it’s blaring horn at the beginning of the video suggest the bold entry of Joey B, with the intention of wrecking damage to all who stand his way. (Joey B has been  quiet after 89). The lynching scene could mean hanging his troubles including haters. The ‘darkness’ of the video carries a multi-layered theme: the dark state of the music scene with him as the bringer of light or sunshine. It could also mean he makes his entry during the dark hours so his enemies won’t see him coming.

It’s impressionable to see Prince Dovlo stepping away from the often glitzy videos we have come to associate him with to delivering this dark video for Joey B. The concept won’t come as a surprise knowing that Prince Dovlo is himself a movie director.

Joey B has been annoyingly quiet for such a long while. The last time he released any material was some 6 months ago (89 video/song). For the many wondering what he’s up to, Sunshine is the answer. He’s been working. Joey B is here, putting some ‘Sunshine’ into our lives. The only reservation about this video is simply that, it’s damn too short and the song is a step less than the visuals.