EP Review: Buying Our Freedom by Eli Muzik and Alex Wondergem

 

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Unorthodox. Brave. Relevant. Growth.

These were the adjectives that came to mind after listening to this Eli Muzik and Alex Wondergem EP, ‘Buying Our Freedom’ some weeks ago. Here are two artistes who have joined hands to create a project that mirrors their thoughts at issues of our times.

‘Buying Our Freedom’ is question plagued. Questions bothering on life and its frustrations, hope and people. The elements found in Eli’s music is ever present-the Afro neo-soul/afrobeat influences. Just that, the love-ly lyrics are shoved aside.  They are replaced with grating lyrics bedeviling us.

If the growth of an artiste is measured by the depth of their lyrics and of course, their wokeness, then Eli has hit that spot. Any keen observer of Eli would have noticed how daring his lyrics have become lately. One hears within his voice a tone of activism and social consciousness. On songs like ‘Gold Coast’ and ‘Gaudette’, he expressed a new element in his art.

The art and its value has been a concern for Eli for a while. In 2015, he wrote an article for this blog titled ‘The Times’. The article-more like his musings-bothered on how the art being made today is lacking a ‘truth’ value. In the article he posed a question: So I ask: Of what value is truth and false to the young mind, whose foundations are built upon what he hears, sees and feels through these forms of art?’

The quest of sharing the truth value is present in ‘Buying Our Freedom’. From the opening track, (more like a skit), what is heard isn’t Eli’s voice. Rather, an advice from Prez. J.J. Rawlings about ‘evil dwarfs’, from which the track takes its name ‘Old Evil Dwarf’. In the skit, Rawlings takes political shots at the leadership of the country at that time (the NDC). ‘There’s nothing more oppressive than when a political leader refuses to see the actions of negative elements around him’, Rawlings observes. For him, a leader must ‘put his feet down’ and remove these negative elements-the old evil dwarfs.

It becomes clear that, Eli and Alex are going to producing a work that eschews all courtesies. In its place, ‘disruptive’ truths. While Chapter II and Je M’en Bats Les Couilles are neo-soul influenced, the messages/themes covered aren’t similar. ‘Je M’en Bats Les Couilles’ (I don’t give a shit/care) has Eli pouring out his frustrations about how things are evolving; how ‘this world is eating him today’ yet doesn’t ‘give a fuck’. The strings, pounding drum and striking snare driven ‘Chapter II’ preaches self-love and how that inspire your own creativity. Eli soulfully croons about ‘having issues with the way I felt by myself’ born out of low confidence and self-esteem.

Low confidence and diminishing self-esteem are two dangerous mix for an artiste. The two situations has the potential of not only confining the creativity of artistes but also, push them into a state of depression (mental health). And when that happens, who does the artiste call? Thus Eli’s rhetorically question: ‘whose is it to make me feel right’? In self-love lies the answer.

On ‘Hygrade’ and ‘Sunday Morning’, the pace of the songs increase, abandoning the soulfulness for hyperactive afrobeat sound. Alex Wondergem’s productions are more aggressive and rightly loud, to match the themes of songs. ‘Hygrade’ is unorthodox, as it wasn’t a subject I expected Eli sing about- calling for the legalization of weed. An interview granted by Kwaw Kesse after his running with the law over smoking weed preceded Eli’s ‘legalize it’ call. In a style reminiscent of Fela Kuti, Eli, singing in pidgin, chants ‘the thing, e dey everywhere for here…we know the power it get’. He points out the irony of the ban-the people with the power are the abusers of the drug.

‘Sunday Morning’ samples one of Joe Mensah’s famous instrumentals (it was a signature tune for Viasat One). On this 1:24 mins, Eli celebrates Ghana. ‘Sunday Morning’ is a call to all immigrants to return home for ‘Ghana better pass any place in the whole world’. He admonishes those with thoughts of travelling to rescind their decision: ‘make you no leave go chop shit for Yankee (US)’. ‘Sunday Morning’ is your grass-is-not-green-on-the-other- side’ advice pack. Afro-trap influences envelope ‘Hueman’, a song about defying labels (‘they want to identify me but that’s a story hard to write’); being themselves and the many things fans/world doesn’t see (nobody know the things e dey do me) features singer/rapper Worlasi and Adomaa.

Good art is when it comes from the heart. Good art is what impacts society and life positively. Eli Muzik and Alex Wondergem perhaps set out to reflect on this country and its people but ended up with an EP that speaks the minds of many as well.  In its broad lyrics, interesting themes and vibrant grooves lies the appeal of the tape.

‘Flame On’ by Ria Boss is a relevant song for this time

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On her recently released EP, singer Ria Boss was quick to remind us of the need and importance of being free. The advantages of finding ourselves and traversing this catastrophic thing called life to a place of bliss where happiness and freedom shake hands frequently and not intermittently.

Every song on the Six (6) track EP- beginning with ‘Golden’ to the last track, ‘Everything’, has Ria  motivating the listener, with hopeful lyrics. Lyrics that calls on the listener to eschew all negativities and start trundling on the path of happiness. The EP name, ‘Find Your Free’, captures the crux of her messages succinctly.

One of the outstanding songs on the EP (in my opinion) is ‘Flame On’, the guitar accompanied, live recorded song. ‘Flame On’, aside the great qualities it boast-good production, the soulful singing- it’s the message in the song that captivated me. A very necessary and timely song for this era where fear and uncertainties stifle our efforts at reaching a place of peace and happiness.

We live in a society where fear and terror is on the high, unemployment is biting and parents aren’t ready to encourage their wards to seek opportunities that are deemed unconventional. We hear of the experiences of people who are trapped in situations where quitting should be the rational decision to take but are forced to stay within such frameworks-bad marriages/relationships, jobs we hate, opportunistic friends. Such people sacrifice their own pleasures to make others happy thus deferring dreams. The fear of failing or being deemed a failure scares all of us; holding us back from finding ourselves and also, our freedom.

It is not uncommon to witness, especially on social media the many incidents of abuse, either sexually, verbally or physically yet the empathy needed by these victims are replaced by hateful comments. There also have been cases where others have been mocked for expressing unpopular opinions/comments. The fear of getting judged leave many to silently nurse their wounds rather than ask for help from others (you can’t even trust those you’d share your deep thoughts with).

“The world can be overwhelming, and sometimes we get scared. Of ourselves…of…time. Regrets build and it sucks and we forget that life is passing us by and we should trust in ourselves more. We shouldn’t deny our inner children. When we were little, we had aspirations for adulthood, we shouldn’t deny ourselves the joy we thought we’d feel. There’s light, there’s happiness, on the other side of fear, and wallowing. I was depressed when I wrote this, I wanted to remind the kid in me to stop being scared and trust the journey.” – Ria Boss

It is for this reason that ‘Flame On’ is such a necessary song.. Armed with the right words, Ria Boss proceed to inspire and assure us to ignore those self-inspired pressures and those society pile on us; dig within ourselves and chase our dreams. Although she is singing to inspire herself, Ria Boss’ words is for everyone else She begins by sharing her state of mind: ‘Losing focus, I can’t sleep at night no more’. Then on the pre-hook, attempts to motivate herself to chase the dream ‘maybe I’ll be somebody else if I wish hard enough/Maybe I can make the pain disappear/Maybe if I face all my bad days with some armor/Gotta stop living in fear’.

On the second verse, Ria Boss points to the many issues afflicting the world and by extension fuels her fears and draws her away from her aspirations. She sings about the crumbling of the world around and how ‘through the blood, the strange fruit, bombs and prayers all seem mute’. Ending with a very relevant question: ‘What’s the point of living?

When our fears tend to overwhelm us, we conceive a variety of assumptions to cocoon within temporarily. We know these ideas or escapes are nothing but fathoms that would vapourize; yet, they’ve become ways that help us dump down on our fears. And Ria Boss did same on ‘Flame On’, teasing out thoughts that could hide these fears: ‘maybe I can find love to make time worthwhile/Maybe I can try to set the demons free’. When such options lacked the potential to lock out her fears, she finally decides to live: ‘Maybe if I face all my bad days, I’ll be strong enough/Imma stop living in fear’.

Life is like a volcano spewing its dangerous lava each day. In our quest to avoid getting burnt by the flowing lava, we are forced to stay within our comfort zone, even when it’s a depressing zone. Distancing ourselves from the fears and uncertainties that entangles us should happen at a point. That’s what Ria Boss is encouraging us to do when on the hook of the song she assures the little girl that: ‘you don’t have to face your dark days alone/There’s light on the other side’, so she should not be afraid to ‘set yourself on fire’.

Even though Ria Boss wrote this for the little girl inside of her to encourage and motivate her towards finding her free, all can relate to the inspirational words behind Flame On. Don’t let fear dim your shine. Set yourself on fire.

 

 

Album REVIEW: JULS – Leap of Faith

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On his love soaked EP, Juls takes a leap that has definitely paid off

Love is at the centre of Leap of Faith, the debut EP released by UK based Ghanaian producer, DJ Juls on 8th May. The meaning behind the EP title comes as a double entendre. First, it’s reflect a certain doubt in his crossing from a credible producer to an incredible one. It also reflect, based on the themes covered, a man in love.

For many years, DJ Juls has worked his way to the top. The many years of work is beginning to pay off in a huge way. What began as an experimentation with a new found production style, which he credits his girlfriend for, became a ground breaking one. Employing classic highlife grooves and deliberately slowing the tempo of the song caused a seismic shift as far as the afropop sound is concerned. Juls, arguably created what is today’s afropop sound. The experimentation which began with Mr. Eazi has become an industry standard.

This new sound is what is heard on this EP. DJ Juls also assembles some of the ‘new age’ artistes who are proponents of this wave; this eclectic afropop sound. A cursory look at the features shows a host of Nigerian artiste with a few UK based Ghanaian artiste.

The EP opens with ‘My Wave’, an infectious tune soaked in rich highlife grooves with Juls blending various elements of traditional African music. The guitar riffs and horns along with the excellently delivered vocals of Odunsi (The Engine) and Sona makes a solid opener. Maleek Berry and Nonso Amadi, two fast rising artistes croon with passion on ‘Early’, a love-tinged tune, which sees the two exalting their love interest. ‘Is that invitation to take you out? Even if you say no, I’d take you out/I just wanna wake up and check you out’, Nonso sing with tenderness. Whereas Nonso comes across smooth and soulful, Maleek Berry’s tone was intense. A perfect blend. The emotions expressed are passionate and honest; something that hit the listener. ‘Early’ is likely to be the radio banger off the EP. ‘Give You Love’, released as the first single in late 2016, doesn’t deviate from the norm: the charming guitar riffs, triumphant and the hard hitting percussions suck you in before L.A.X’s words. He croons about love like someone bitten by the love bug.

The tone of the EP tilt towards afro-dancehall on the Kojey Radical assisted ‘Temperature Rising’. Employing elements of Nigerian juju music, Juls lays down a beat for Kojey to slay- thanks to his booming voice and cadence. The sing along chorus aside: ‘you feel the temperature climbing/you know that time is expensive/ you know that these moments are priceless’; the DJ scratches hand the song a late 80s/early 90s mixtape feel. The afro dancehall template is followed on ‘After Six’ (featuring Santi and Tomy Agape), ‘Coco’ (where Santi joins Odunsi) and the Frass AOD featured ‘Mi Luv’. Next comes ‘Bad’; the club crafted tune which features Nots3, Kojo Funds and Eugy. The minimal elements of drums and snares tease the bad in you out. The EP ends with Eji Owuro, the R&B influenced love-themed song featuring Moelego.

There are a host of positives on Leap of Faith. First, Juls has formally cemented his place within the pantheon of producers who have shaped the sound of African music. Second, the feature list and the pairing of acts as well as the sequencing of songs were perfectly done. Finally, settling on a host of African, new age’ artistes pushing the new rhythms of Africa to a wider global audience was an excellent decision. The switch from the mellow, slowly burning rhythmic grooves on Leap of Faith to dancehall vibes saved the EP from becoming a boring, repetitive outing.

It is uncommon for even experts in a field to have a bit of doubt when making a transition from one spectrum to the other-a transition with the potential of changing their lives. Granted Juls, has in recent times, etched his name in the top African producer list but that doesn’t erode the doubt, as seen in the EP title. The leap taken by Juls has indeed paid off. Acceptance: check; success: guaranteed!

written by Swaye Kidd (@swayekidd)

 

 

THE CUTS: EP 01 Vol. 9

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

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DJ JULS – MY WAVE

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‘If your first opening lines don’t grab the listener, it ain’t shit’. This was the advice Kendrick Lamar received from legendary rapper Ice Cube. It seems the advice doesn’t only apply to rappers. It applies to the art of curating a playlist (for DJs) and sequencing songs on an album (for artistes) as well.  The above principle is evidently displayed on Leap Of Faith, the new EP by producer and DJ, Juls. The first track, My Wave is as grabbing as any opening track could get. The beat is infectious, the arrangement is literally consuming and the voices drip with moisture.

Enlisting fast rising Nigerian artiste, Odunsi The Engine and Sona, who combined brilliantly (voice wise and energy) to wreak havoc on the brightly made beat that surround the song (the inescapable highlife grooves). The excellently placed guitar riffs and the horns on the on the song is the most appealing element of the song. I give it to DJ Juls for that over 1 minute of ‘dance time’ before the song fades; an odd trick in this era. ‘My Wave’ oozes pleasure. It is the kind of song you play on top volume with your car windows down or when in a drop-top. A full review of Leap of Faith would be up next week.

ELI Muzik & Alex Wondergem: Je M’en Bat Les Couilles

Buying Our Freedom is a collaborated EP between Ghanaian afro neo soul artiste, Eli Muzik and Alex Wondergem released somewhere last week (a full review of the EP out next week). The 6 track EP is an interesting collection of original compositions about life, legalization of cannabis, what it means to be human. In short, it’s a reflection on Ghana, the country. The lyrics of the songs are very blunt and ‘raw’-something I never associated with Eli. Je M’en Bat Les Couilles is an example of the unconventionality (lyrically speaking) displayed by Eli. A soulful tune which sees Eli throwing the F word around. One could hear his frustrations on the opening lines of the song: ‘this is a reflections of how I feel… I don’t give a fuck’. The pain in his voice along with the lyrics on the song makes ‘Je M’en Bat Les Couilles’ a befitting title for the song. If you don’t understand a word of French, the title translate as ‘I don’t give or care a shit’

Poetra Asantewa ft KMRU – Round Pegs

Round Pegs, an expression with a negative connotation. It’s used to describe individuals who don’t fit into a space due to lack of skills.  Sometimes, those we consider as round pegs defy our perceptions; rising to the top of their trade. These are the people poet, Poetra Asantewa is speaking about on her new spoken word piece Round Pegs, a joint work between Kenyan Electronic music producer KMRU (Joseph Kamaru) and herself. Round Pegs criticizes the notion of people forcing kids to pursue certain professions they have zero interest. She instead calls on people to encourage kids to dream and help them pursue their interest since ‘we all can be kings’, as the hook says. This is how she describes ‘Round Pegs’: ‘Moved out of my comfort zone working with KMRU – Kenyan electronic producer. Round pegs is spoken word fused with electronic!’

AKAN – Manhole

AKAN, for the first time is talking about love on his latest single Manhole. He narrates his experiences with unrequited love-where he was treated or felt like a manhole (waste or loser). He weaves a story about how his affection went unrecognized, his state of loneliness (the door to my heart is opened. I need someone to fill it). He begs for the hollowness left by her to be filled by something. ‘I’d be fulfilled if you’d stay with me for just one night). I must confess my admiration at the roll out of this track. Akan and his team teased fans with it, and later released a ‘fun fact’ video (Genius style) about the song. It was a poem written in English which Akan expanded into a song. He translated the English worded poem into Twi. JaySo was on hand to provide the trap beat, helping bring Manhole to life.

Kay-Ara – High On Epiphany.

Kay-Ara is covering a lot of grounds since his 4-year hiatus-which, according to rumors saw him seeking God’s face. That rumor is what Kay-Ara partly addressed on his latest song/video ‘High On Epiphany’.  The opening note to this Yaw P directed video plays humorously on this rumor: Rukie didn’t find God or faith. He was hiding in an uncompleted building. And that’s where the two-in-one video began-in an uncompleted video with Kay-Ara taking a piss. The video is raw and energetic with Kay-Ara on his worst behavior-action wise and lyrically: ‘I used to chill in the back/left space now back to fill in the gap’. It’s like watching an uncut version of the video. It has no storyline; just Kay-Ara showcasing his lyrical prowess before he ducked for 4 years.  ‘High On Epiphany’ is Kay-Ara proving to all he still has bars for days. He hasn’t lost his skills on the mic cos he’s ‘God’s Son, I bleed Hova’

 

Video Review: Sister Deborah ‘Sampanana’ feat. Medikal

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Word of mouth information is very important since one can’t put a thumb on everything happening around us in this fast pacing universe. Through word of mouth, lives has been impacted; both positively and otherwise. When it comes to music, a friend’s vote of confidence is enough to get you to press play or listen to an artiste(s). In this era of social media and easy access to music and videos, a tag is the new word of mouth.

I’m not one who get sold on music or videos by others especially when the person who’s making the recommendation is the artiste’s stan or belong to the circles of the artiste; either via direct or distant association. So, when I heard @officialKWAME on his show on YFM this past Sunday raving, throwing the ‘I live for this’ mantra about Sister Debbie’s new video, I was indifferent towards checking it out. Monday morning came and as I settled on scrolling through my twitter feed, I chanced on the link. Clicking on the link doesn’t take much to do, only your data would be wasted if the video or music isn’t as good as you might have heard or envisaged. Thank Lord, the wi-fi is paid for by someone.

Sampanana by Sister Deborah featuring Medikal was worth the data spent watching it. The video is simple, ornate, stylistic and very conventional. The seam between these qualities came out with perfection. Sampanana was shot in an uncompleted storey building; with the camera following Debbie within the building. The camera does switch from her to Medikal, who also cut across various floors of the ‘house’. The simplicity of the video was in the choice of building and the colourful textile curtains used – a common feature of squatter homes. Shooting it at one place meant whoever is watching won’t be excessively distracted by many shots from different locations. If there was one scene I loved, it was how Wanlov’s feet made a cameo when Debbie played on the name Wanlov) and Fokn Bois in her verse.

Of course, Wanlov directed the video. You may not like Wanlov for whatever plausible reason but when it comes to his concepts for videos, you can bet on him to create something arty out of the ordinary. Unlike some of these video directors who are associated with glossy and big budget videos; where often the unnecessary excesses overshadow the necessary, the Wanlov Kubolor Cini crew do much more with relatively small budget. Not really puzzling since their greatest gift lies in keeping it simple, raw, organic and relatable. The crown jewel of his video concepts are that, the art is paramountly represented.

EP Review: A track- by- track review of ZAMANI EP by AYAT

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There is a difference between boastful talk and confident talk despite the thin line that separate them. The striking evidence that usually separate the two is the product or action that is presented after the talk. The expression, ‘if you talk big, you need to back it up’ becomes the star one need to aim and shoot at.

Since emerging on the mainstream music scene in 2015, off the back of his crowd pulling, trap moulded single IDKY (I Don’t Know You), AYAT (who can forget that epic performance at the 2015 edition of Sabolai Radio?), has seen his stock peak; his confidence shoot up; and the pressure to prove he is not a one-hit wonder, enormous.

The music scene has witnessed a lot of incidence where promising acts crash and burn after just a single song. Others linger on for a while then fade into the ‘one-hit’ chamber of our memories. Amidst the pressure, AYAT kept telling all that he’s not going to crash and burn. Neither is he going to be filed into the one-hit wonder vault. IDKY was that single he needed to break through the door of notice.

To be accepted means releasing more songs that won’t only rival IDKY but topple it in terms of influence. And for the past year, that’s been the mindset of the Madina based rapper. The end result is the release of his debut EP, ZAMANI. The ten track EP was released online on Friday (17th March) after holding an online listening session a day before.

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Working with four of the best producers around- Kuvie, Magnom Beats, Manny Beatz and Kayso, who produced 90% of the EP- and two featured guest -Sarkodie and Ria Boss, AYAT unleashed a solid project on our heads.

Here is a track by track review of the ZAMANI EP

IRON BOY (Intro) (Prod by KaySo)

Unsurprising to hear AYAT speak on the challenges faced by underground artiste and how the contentious issue of featuring underground artistes by mainstream artistes or event organizers putting underground acts for exposure purposes is nonsense ‘because studio time dey cost and exposure no be pay’. Singing entirely through this taut, laid back, piano filled trap beat from the boards of KaySo, he keeps reminding us that ‘he has been hungry for far too long’ (which could be a double entendre-success and real hunger). The Rex Omar ‘ di da da di di’ sample infused into the beat is clearly one that sticks in your head.

PANIE (Prod by KaySo X NXRTH)

Shared production credits between KaySo and NXRTH (Villain Sounds). The title is a reference to a popular Daddy Lumba tune. A true story (if the comment from the beginning holds true). AYAT croons about his debauchery exploits following a hook up between him and a girl whose Whatsapp DP got his attention. You can’t title a song like ‘Dr. Panie’ and not sound unapologetically raunchy.

ANTASHIMUSU (UP) (Prod by KaySo)

This song is strictly addressing the haters, naysers and the doubters who did not believe in him. AYAT didn’t mince his words as evidenced by the opening intro: ‘we are nearing 2018, yet you still rap like you are in 2015 with your childish raps’. Switching between Hausa and English, he declares ‘they can’t defeat us cos God got us’. The song oozes with vigour and the bounce on the beat is crazy. Listening to the song conjured an imagine of @effthedj raving without any inhibitions to this jam. If IDKY got you moving, Antashimusu will definitely bring out your worst behaviour.

PLAY FOR KEEPS (Prod by Kuvie)

One of the singles dropped last year to resounding acclaim, Play For Keeps is a love song on which AYAT, singing in both Hausa, Twi and English, confesses his love to his girl: ‘the fuck boy ways have been ditched since you came my way’. The afro-trap beat accompanying this tune is exquisite and groovy. It passes as one of the best beats off the catalogue of Kuvie- sonically. The 808s slap hard, the xylophones hands the beat extra flavor with AYAT reminding his lover that she’s the only one whether the hard times or good times come.

DAWA (Interlude) (Prod by KaySo)

‘Why didn’t AYAT make a full track out of this?’ is the question I have been asking since I heard this track. The message on the song is simple: Get out there and grind. AYAT reminds the youth: ‘there’s no time to waste when you wake, get to work and make some money’ over a mild-tempo beat. In short, to survive, one’s daily hustle should never be in vein. Dawa is the song you play with the rising of the morning, to inspire you for the day’s task. What comes to mind listening is J.Cole’s ‘Mo’ Money’ (off Born Sinner). ‘Money Apree!!’ is the new anthem!

MAD CITY/ OH LORD (Prod. By KaySo)

This is a two part tune with the first part ‘MadCity’, is an ode to his hometown of Madina where the people are ‘spartans in the city’. Switching between singing and rapping, AYAT itemizes the reasons why Madina is such a ‘Mad city’-a city that doesn’t accommodate the weak. Only the strong survives. On ‘Oh Lord, the minimalistic beat-soft thumping drums and high hats- gives way to robust trap beats with AYAT praying for blessings in life: My vision 20/20 but my Gucci cost 500’. The only reservation I have against this track AYAT choosing not to sing throughout MadCity but dropped in a rap verse which quiet didn’t cut it for me. And it was good to hear him shouting the likes of M.anifest and Blitz The Ambassador, notable rappers who hail from Madina. AYAT is, indeed in good company.

DODO feat Sarkodie (Prod by Magnom Beatz)

One of the singles released during the latter part of the year. ‘Dodo’ (which translate as ‘Monster’ in the Hausa language) has AYAT at his aggressive best. His voice is coarse, striking against the Magnom produced beats to great effect. He outlines his ambitions in the rap game ‘this year I go dance with the stars’. This song is definitely within the comfort zone of AYAT. Whiles promoting the release of this song, AYAT deliberately kept out the fact that he had Sarkodie on the track. So, it came as a surprise hearing Sark not only drop a verse but validating AYAT: ‘thank you for taking me back/back to the essence of rap/first time I hear your track your style got me like fuck’.

MUNZO (prod by KaySo)

‘When we step in the town with my people/ Munzo’. This surely is a banger. The melody is wicked, the groove is crisp and the song, wavy. Munzo, a hausa word which means ‘we’re here’ or we have arrived’ is a party statement with easy to sing along hook. You need to get your dance steps right when this tune drops.

CHANGES (Prod by KaySo)

You can relate to this song better if you’ve woken up at a place which isn’t your home after a night out. AYAT goes back to singing about a wild night out with details still hazy. All he knows is that ‘I’ve been here before/but this no bi home/cos the bed no be comfy/ and these girls no be wifey’. Ria Boss with soulful and tingling rendition, still reeling from her hangover, wants answers to the previous night’s rendezvous: ‘the nights are all blank/can’t remember it all’, after the henny (Hennessey) hit her lips. The trap soul beat on this track is the kind Bryson Tiller would love to hop on.

TAKE OFF (Outro) (Prod by Manny Beatz)

Her, AYAT lays bare his ambitions and success in the rap game despite his relatively short time (even though he has been rapping for a while under the name Billy Banger). Highlighting his collaborative efforts with some big name acts such as EL, Edem and Sarkodie, AYAT tells all ‘I’m gon take off tonight’ to the land of many success.

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The ZAMANI EP has really lived up to its expectation boasting of crisp production, good lyrics, spirited delivery and of course, jams for days. AYAT, whose name means ‘proof’ or ‘miracle’ has, indeed, lived up to his name. And naming the EP ZAMANI-which translate as new era or generation- AYAT is ushering us into a new dawn, a new place where good lyrics could marry awesome trap beats in a beautiful way.

THE CUTS: EP 01 vOL. 2

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THE CUTS is a short review of songs that you’d hardly hear on your radio. It’s not genre specific. And it’s a weekly thing. Our way of helping you update your playlist 

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Osofo Abrobe- (Skit) Chpt 1

There are two ways to sending out ‘offensive’ messages to many Ghanaians without courting their wrath. You either frame the ‘offensive’ messages in humorous jokes or you condense it with the word of God (preach the word). A combination of the two is definitely the best way to grab peoples’ attention. On this skit by GroundUp’s Osofo Abrobe, these two styles are woven together to highlight the truth about the preoccupations of today’s millennials. The Tema based Ground Up ‘is a creative house for up and coming talent’.

Osofo Abrobe’s name (it means Pastor’s pineapple) is a slang used to describe an uncomfortable truth. Over smooth soulful beat dripping with measured piano chords from the boards of KaySo (the producer), Osofo Abrobe adopts the character of a charismatic preacher, selling the gospel of hope to his youthful and woke congregation, assuring them of material and social media breakthroughs.

The prosperity preaching, despite soaked in humour and biblical references, reveal something truthful about this generation: the penchant for trivialities such as social media validation, chasing the latest fashion brands and of course, girl chasing. ‘You’ll wear H&M no more/ you’ll wear the more fashionable Valentino and Ralph Lauren’ (loose translations from Twi). The prophesy include guy’s being rich enough to cop the latest Yeezys, slide in girls DMs (‘it’ll go down in the DM’) and witness a surge in their Instagram and twitter.

The catchiness of the Skit lies in its ability to bite (mock) and crack you up in the same measure. It’s a track that captures, in vivid terms, the interests, lifestyle and priorities of today’s youth-fashion, quest to look cool and woke, girls and social media acceptance.

FU feat Ria Boss (Hajia Kitty) –Make War (Make Love Cover)

You can cross the path of Fu with no worries. But, be weary when you wrongfully step on the path in a ‘competition’.  is unafraid to speak her mind, speak dirty and even threaten you in the process. That character reveals itself on Make War, a cover of Gucci Mane’s ‘Make Love’. With its strip down beat, soft drums and clanking pianos, FU, on the first verse sends out warning to a rival(s) in a gentle, low tone (‘bitch… I got you shaking huh? Gotch you all in your fears like you making love’) while bossing up her creds: (‘who I am today is exactly who I was 5 years ago’). What’s interesting is that, she raps deliberately slow, allowing the words to sink in, one bar at a time. On the second verse Ria Boss’ alter-ego, Hajia Kitty (the first time I heard Hajia Kitty was on the Kuvie produced ‘Dumb’, off his 4 track EP ‘Senses’). sounding all raunchy, breathes some sexiness on the track. Listening to ‘Make War’, one can’t fail to draw comparison to Missy ‘Misdeamenor’ Missy Elliott per the rap style.This track has that Misdemeanor shade.

JOWAA – Boss Du Festival

Whoever said Azonto is dead lied. The sound may have faded but its embers still flicker. The vibe is all registered on JOWAA’s Boss Du Festival track. JOWAA is a travelling that draws from the musical influences of places they visit and incorporate them into their beats. Boss Du Festival was created whiles at Asa Baako Festival. With no major vocals, Boss Du Festival is a wholly made 3:35 secs dance beat that showcases different rhythmic flavours found around the coastal region of the country. This percussion heavy track boast of heavy snares, kicks and those carnival type big drum sound. This is the kind of beat you drop when you realize the energy at a party is hitting the low curve. An addition of a catchy, sing-along hook would have added a bit of sheen to it. The Gefacci produced Boss Du Festival is dope still.

Bryan Mensah – Sharp

What hit you listening to Sharp is how sharp the words are. Bryan Mensah doesn’t mince his words about staying true to yourself and rejecting a life that’s not you. In a world where everyone is scared to be different for fear of not getting noticed, Bryan, the self-acclaimed ‘King of Tea, (check that tune out) reminds us once more that appearances can be deceptive (‘if my shadda (clothes) no dey catch your appeal, that don’t mean my shadda dey determine my skill’). Bryan, like any good rapper, reflect on life and its trappings, knitting them together and sharing them over heard hitting beats. On Sharp, his lyrics, his delivery and his singing (interlude) are all hemmed into one sharp music. We need not to dance always. Sometimes, we need to bop head to music that speaks our own life and its struggles.