THE CUTS: EP 03 Vol. 4

THE CUTS is a weekly round-up of songs and videos that has caught our attention or think you must hear. The music featured here aren’t genre specific. THE CUTS is delivered every FRIDAY


Kiddblack – About You

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‘About You’ has the potential to kick Kiddblack from semi- obscurity to the limelight. This love song is couched to emit rhythmic pleasure and thrill. Kiddblack ask his girl if she’d stick with him through his journey to stardom. Produced by Kuvie, ‘About You’ opens with a slapping kick and bass, something similar to what’s heard on Busta Rhyme’s ‘Dangerous’. Kuvie neatly tucks in a series of african elements only Kuvie could create, on a track that opens with both the minor and major piano keys surrounding it. Kiddblack’s booming and textured voice especially when singing the hook is perfect. The deadlock wearing, black kid has the vibes by his side.

 

Ty Bello – Dance For You

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“I’ll dance no matter what this life is playing/ I’ll dance to the rhythm of your grace’’. Ty Bello’s declares on “Dance For You”, a gospel song that exalt God, the pillar in her life. The song is recorded live and boast heavy keyboard and massive kicks which beam with glorious excitement. Her voice (with its lisp) carries a reverb effect, and emotions dripping through the song, adding to the sensation the live recording offer. Ty’s voice range isn’t in the same category as some of the best singers in the world but, she can hit them with less difficulty. This is how Ty Bello narrate the making of her 2014 album, ‘‘The Morning Song Book”: In 2009 I begun this amazing season where I would write music to God as my morning devotion. It was a unique time of discovery and I I felt it was a unique way to give of myself…Open and sincere…It wasn’t long that I realized that I was receiving way more than I was giving. Every beautiful exchange with God always leaves us with more. I was also humbled when I got this heartfelt assurance that he thought the songs were perfect. Perfect?? If you’ve ever written music you would know that ‘perfect ‘is the one that simply evades …Well…it’s taken a number of years to make… Here it is. My gift to God… His to me.

 

 

Kwame Yesu – Real Rap II

Kwame Yesu is the latest artist to pay homage to afrobeat legend, Fela Kuti, on his song Real Rap II produced by YungFly. (The beat is from Yung Fly’s re-work of some Fela songs released last year to celebrate “Felaberation”). The trap sounding song has chops of Fela’s “Zombie” and references of some of his classic songs. Kwame Yesu talks about the state of music industry – how bloggers, fake friends, radio dampen the efforts of young artists- ad the hypocritical tendencies of these same individuals when you make it. He incorporates parts of a Fela interview about music and role of the artist in society to help drum his point home. Kwame Yesu has the talent to make him one of the best from this part of the world.

 

Pambour feat Kwesi Arthur – RARE

‘Odo kakra/ Sika kakra/ So, why you dey love me too much?’, a question Pambour seeks an answer to on ‘Rare’. A love centred song about a girl who holds her man down on all fronts including financially- she gives him money to pay the waiter when on a date. Pambour is an artist from the GroundUp Chale camp. His label mate Kwesi Arthur makes an appearance on the song, delivering a simple yet flawless hook. Over a moody trap beat with a touch of soulfulness –courtesy the horns and guitar licks and violin strings bubbling beneath, the two perform in both Twi and pidgin made sure, this Jay Fyn beat wasn’t wasted.

 

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THE CUTS: EP 03 VOL.3

THE CUTS is a weekly round-up of songs and videos that has caught our attention or think you must hear. The music featured here aren’t genre specific. THE CUTS is delivered every FRIDAY


Wayo feat Joey B – Muscatella

Wayo - Muscatella ft. Joey B (Prod. by kuvie)

Two things are noticeable listening to ”Muscatella”. First, the sing along hook could become a catch phrase: ‘she’s sweet like Muscatella/she has a wicked flavour’. Second, you need to sometimes trade off bombastic productions for a strip down one. And relying on Kuvie for such work is the perfect move by Wayo. ‘Muscatella’ feels very Caribbean. It’s skeletal, clanging instrumentals of percussion, steel drums feels like something inspired by carnival party music. Wayo, an Atlanta raised, Ghanaian rapper/singer is joined by a singing Joey B on this single to night out escapades including cheering up a lonely girl at a party. He uses Muscatella, a fizzy drink once popular in Ghana (don’t know if it’s still on market) as metaphor to express how lovely the girl is. Wayo may see his career or popularity take off in Ghana should he promote this single. Need to say, the song title reminds me of Dasebre Dwamena (RIP). The accompanying artwork (a guy and girl riding a bike on the beach on a lovely night) is so cool.

Safo feat Nino – She’s Gone

The song title is enough to give you an idea of what this song is about. The lyrics and the story told on ‘She’s Gone’ isn’t about losing one’s love. It’s more about chances not taken. A guy is crushing on a church girl yet doesn’t make his intentions clearly known to her. She falls for another guy whom she eventually marries. As if that’s not crashing enough, she makes her crush a champagne popper at her wedding party. Conceived in a conversational setting, Safo narrates his ordeal to Nino in a way that’s engrossing and humorous. Nel Magnum, the producer, chops up the soulful samples over which these two rappers tell a heartfelt story.

Taps – To The Dreamers

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Everybody has dreams, yet not all are able to realize them. Taps, the Narrow Road signed artist and member of the group SI Unit isn’t one scared to pursue his dreams as exhibited in the lyrics of “To The Dreamers”. Through his aggressive rap flow, Taps shares what his dreams are and how he’s scaling obstacles over a soulful beat. It would have been good if the hook of the song had been performed by a singer rather than himself. That notwithstanding, the positivity in his message (glean at the artwork curiously) is relevant in the time of our lives.

Kenny Huskin – On The Road Freestyle

From cyphers to rap battles during his Senior High School days at St. Thomas Aquinas to fully ventuirnf into music after graduating from the University in 2015, Kenny Huskin has hones his lyrical skills quiet well. In his pursuit for recognition and prove of his lyrical abilities, he began a short rap video series called ‘On The Road’ in July 2017 which shows his grind, skills and journey as a rapper. Kenny Huskin has a dream of becoming one of the greatest musicians from Africa. The ‘On The Road’ series is how he begins this journey.

THE CUTS: EP 03 VOL. 2

THE CUTS is a weekly round-up of songs and videos that has caught our attention or think you must hear. The music featured here aren’t genre specific. THE CUTS is delivered every FRIDAY


COREY feat Yung Mesa – In My Mind

Think Kanye West and 808s & Heartbreak album: the heavily auto tuned vocals and and the fuison of hiphop and electro sounds in particular. On this song, Corey and Yung Mesa add layers of grimness to the sonic landscape. Corey contemplates life; this time it’s his thoughts speaking to him, the person. The inspiration, according to him ‘was mostly in my head. No one ever listen when you talk so gotta let the thoughts out somewhere’. The stirring bass guitar on which the beat rest is incredible.

Oshomah Native. – The Village

Soulful rap music is no more a thing considering the influence of trap music. Oshomah Native taps into this good old soulful influence, expressing views on the gift of life- loneliness, purpose, dreams. Armed with a good use of words as revealed by this line: ‘’I’m here prescribing words for your aids’, Oshomah Native sounds very comfortable; sharing his words with a laid back candour on ”The Village”.

RSVLT PAM – Cyattie

Slow and shadowy beats with a touch of tropical sonic appeal have for a period dominated the music scene, thanks to Drake (globally speaking) and DJ Juls and Mr. Eazi (within Africa) in recent times. Nigerian singer/rapper RSVLT Pam goes on this tandem on his love themed single CYATTIE, which he dedicates to his BFF who has been getting raw deals from both family and friends. This aside, the song is a reminder to other girls getting raw deals despite their kindness that, there’s someone out there who loves them.

Gyidi – Fire

“I feel that fire/ burning through my soul”, Gyidi declares on his trap fuelled, dancehall clad single. The song has Gyidi chasing success by way of hardwork and prayers, declaring himself non- pushable by those who wish to topple him. Despite this claim, Gyidi wishes everyone success but reminds them it takes more than just talking about it. One has to work hard.

Cypaq – Feel

Few minutes into “Feel”, you realize how much Bryson Tiller’s trap soul influence washes over the song; something its creator, Cypaq describes as deliberate. Like its name, it’s his musings over love: he’s in a hurry to find love yet his mum’s advising not to trip. Cypaq’s voice and words are sometimes lost in the beat. Interestingly, his backing vocalist sounds more audible.

THE CUTS: EP 03 VOL. 01

THE CUTS is a weekly round-up of songs and videos that has caught our attention or think you must hear. The music featured here aren’t genre specific. THE CUTS is delivered every FRIDAY


EL feat DopeNation – Ayeyi

Any Ghanaian with a bit of religious exposure knows how important it is to praise God for his mercies and blessings in life, no matter how little they may be. As his first single of the year, former ”VGMA Artist of the Year”, EL chose to praise God for his success. “Ayeyi” (which means Praises) has EL raps ”do your work right/you go get raise… only good things dey come if you get faith”, urging all not be lax. The PeeOnTheBeat (who seems to have the magic wand for EL) produced song features DopeNation, who did deliver a catchy, gospel fervour chorus. (DopeNation on this hook was something I never expected). Giving the contents of “Ayeyi”, EL is obviously following a workable route which began with ‘Koko’ (in 2016) and ‘Agbo’ (in 2017). With it’s catchy afropop beat and hook, ‘Ayeyi’ may rival ‘Koko’ in popularity, just that the second verse did fly off the song’s theme.

 

Kwame Yesu feat Questo- M’akoma

‘M’akoma’ is a slow burner tune with highlife elements about love and loving someone. Kwame Yesu, on the song, is willing to hand out his heart to a girl if she continues doing the little things she’s known for. Question who he features isn’t ready to say no to a threesome if she’s down with it. ‘M’akoma’ (My Heart) is from his EP “Friday Night Chillz”, which is dedicated to ‘those searching for love and betrayed by love’.

 

Okukuseku feat Lykay & Bryan The Mensah -I’m The Nigga.

Even Nas was forced to change his album’s name from ‘Nigger’ to ‘Untitled’ once. For these two, nobody can tell them nothing. Rapping over a hiphop beat built over heavy drum (think Mike Will MadeIt) by Okukuseku, who is the resident producer at WeirdXGenuis, Lykay and Bryan share their truths about the friends they roll with, their ambitions and uniqueness. There couldn’t have been any good time for these two highly regarded rappers to be on one song than now. They held their own as expected. This song is however 8 months old.

Uche B feat Spacely, RJZ & Kwesi Arthur – Ohemaa

Uche B is a producer. The three either rap or sing. On ‘Ohemaa’ (Queen), they talk about, you guessed it right their Ohemaa and why she’s special. The song has a good rhythm but isn’t one that would live with the listener after the song ends due to it’s generic feel-both theme and beat. RJZ did ok on hook (it’s repetitiveness aside), Kwesi Arthur brought his energy on, Spacely wasn’t exceptional. Uche B’s infusion of root rock reggae sample in the beat (it’s rare to hear that) is one of the best things about ”Ohemaa”

THE CUTS: EP 02 VOL. 14

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.——————————————

bigBen – ‘Back To JTown’ EP

Nigerian act, bigBen’s five track EP, “BACK TO JTOWN” is a fusion of rap trap and afro music featuring artistes like Ko-Jo Cue, Efraim (Ghana) and Tray, S.MAC (Nigeria). He describes the EP as ‘an experimental one; something that will clear the typecast of him sounding like other artistes and see him as a versatile recording artiste and producer’. Even under so much pressure from school, he sees the imperfect process of making “BACK TO JTOWN” as an inspiring challenge, ready to learn and keep moving a step further from the benchmark. ‘Back To JTown’ is an homage to his country, Nigeria and his home state of Jos.

bigBen remarks on the opening track, ‘I’m gonna do what I like. There’s no restriction in music’ holds true throughout the song,especially the influences explored.

On “Adore”, the beat is soulful, like one from the vault of J. Dilla. “Come Closer” carries an afropop vibe. Trap beat surround “Bullion Van”. The vibe is similar to ‘We Dem Boyz’ by Taylor Gang. “Hold Up” featuring Ko-Jo Cue has a danceable feel. bigBen switches to trapsoul on “What You Need”. “Back To JTown” is available across all music platforms.

Ansah Live feat Imani N.A.D- ‘Shine Your Eye’

Ansah Live is one of those young rappers who’s not afraid to experiment with his sound. Unlike some of his compatriots who like to swim in the ocean of traditional boom bap, trap or afropop beats, he enjoys fusing these elements with electro or house influences as heard on his latest tune ‘Shine Your Eye’.

In two verses, Ansah Live lays down his history as a young rapper; his musical influences-including Mensa- and his present position in the rap game: ‘Black and white but Joe, it’s all coloured/ No bi just Pen and Paper, Joe, it’s all powered’. On the second verse, he outlines his dreams, which include inspiring others, accepting criticisms and keeping an eye on backstabbing friends.

‘Shine Your Eye’, is a pidgin slang meaning ‘Be Careful’ or ‘Watchful’, and on the song, Ansah Live and Imani make this point, especially on the hook: say focused. Best part of the song is when the beat runs with the timbre voice of Imani pounding over the rhythms.

DJ Mensah feat Sarkodie (Prod. by Kuvie) – Say I Do

DJ Mensah putting Sarkodie on a track is like MixedByAli putting Kendrick Lamar on a track. Point is, DJ Mensah is Sarkodie’s DJ so this isn’t very strange. Produced by Kuvie, the song carries his signature imprint- skeletal yet groovy.

‘Say I Do’ has Sarkodie asking a girl to ‘say I do’ to his proposal. He advices all to learn to cut their coat according to the size of their cloth (as the cliche goes). There is humor as well in his lyrics. This isn’t Sarkodie’s best output, but don’t be surprised to hear it on radio.

Sizz The Truth – Show Up “Show Up”, the second single off ‘The Whole Truth’, set for release in January, 2018 is an alternative hiphop tune. Adopting a sing-rap style, Sizz shares a tale of his shenanigans. ‘Thought she kinda have a boyfriend/but she wanna do things that got me thinking if she got a conscience’, yet he isn’t eager to say no to her advances.

Sampled Nyck Caution’s ‘Out of Reach’ offers the song its smooth R&B feel reminiscent of the 90s hiphop era. The reservations about the song are that, the beat snuff out Sizz’s voice at certain points and the harmonies from Nyck Caution becomes a nuisance at a point. Sizz The Truth has the talent. He needs to firm up a few bolts to become the dope artist he envision himself to be.

Fre-D – Magodo Party

Fre-D teams up once more with Togolese/South African producer, Le Prezident on his new song ‘Magodo Party’. The song which has its scene set in Magodo Estate, Lagos (Nigeria) sees Fre-D courting a young lady with his usual braggadocios and witty raps. The instrumental features elements from South African Kwaito music fused with jazzy Afrobeat elements to represent the duo’s origins. The mix of groovy instrumental, raps and feel-good hooks make it a song for the festive playlists!

THE CUTS: EP 02 VOL. 13: Joey B’s “Sweetie Pie” and videos from other artists

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. ——————————————— Joey B feat King Promise – Sweetie Pie Joey B is lately not just dropping singles but visuals to accompany the songs; sometimes at the same time or within 24 hours of release. That trend began with the release of the nostalgia evoking ’89’ earlier this year. He followed the template with singles off the Darryl EP- ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Ranger’, and now, his new smooth and groovy ‘Sweetie Pie’ doesn’t depart from this trend. I love Joey B when he sing-raps. His thin voice and laid back persona permeates the song, giving it a feeling of appeal and coziness. These are what ‘Sweetie Pie’ boast. Featuring singer King Promise (who one YouTube comment described as a ‘virus’ for his recent musical ubiquitousness), the two trade voices and exalt the lovely virtues of their lovers: ‘your sugary lips are the sweetest’, For non- Ghanaian readers, ‘Sweetie Pie’ is a slang used to describe a very lovely or special person in one’s life. In the context of this song, Joey B, along with King Promise are telling the world how much they value the women in their lives. What makes this song such a potential hit (it’s Joey B anyway) is it’s feet moving groove, sing along hook, simple lyrics and the nostalgic feeling it offers, courtesy that Kofi Nti and Ofori Amponsah ‘Odo Ndwom’ interpolation. (He applauds them highly in the videos closing comments). The influence of legendary highlife crooner, Ofori Amponsah on Joey B is becoming apparent, and it’s something to be proud about. Joey is acknowledging a brilliant veteran artist and also helping re-introduce these old classics to a new and younger generation. Joey B enlisted Yaw Skyface for directorial duties for the video for ‘Sweetie Pie’. And like the experienced videographer he is, he let the location, coordination and the joyous intimacy breeze through the video. The location is absolutely stunning, especially the drone view of the valley of township and greenery nature of the location. The dance scene between King Promise and Joey B towards the end of the video looked superb, the costuming and the seeming playfulness adds to the video’s appeal. https://youtu.be/zY-NLE0SwLI GURU – Only You https://youtu.be/5grim0-GGe8 Guru qualifies as one of the most hardworking artists in the country, judging by the number of songs and videos he has released this year alone. His new video for ‘Only You’, a betrayal of love themed song is all glossy and pristine. Salifu Abdul Hafiz shows captures Guru riding through streets of Dubai, in a Rolls Royce, with the thoughts of a cheating wife playing in his mind. Unsure of his wife’s fidelity, he plants a secret camera (in the eye of a teddy bear) which confirmed his suspicions. It’s not a Dubai shot video if one of the city’s iconic landmarks , The Burj Al Arab and, at least a belly dancing scene isn’t featured. One curious question worth asking is how Guru continues to be regarded a ‘second tier’ artist despite his enormous catalogue- songs and videos? Diamond Platnumz feat Rick RossWaka https://youtu.be/q1iHgDTplfw Tanzanian act, Diamond Plantnuz is the latest African artist to join forces with American hip hop act Rick Ross on a song. ‘Waka’ carries an R&B tinge and is a celebration of life and success song, which are well reflected in the video. Diamond is seen in a party mood- enjoying the company of women-both indoors and by the pool, popping Bellaire bottles and teaching Rick Ross some dance moves. The video appears to have been shot in Miami and boast of elements visible in most Moe Musa directed videos. Hopefully, this collaboration with Rick Ross may get the ‘Sikomi’ hitmaker visible in the Americas. OTI- Lost https://youtu.be/6b2SxS-40qA Rapper OTI remains a fascinating figure to me since I first saw him. My interest led me to listen to ‘Truth’, off his mixtape “Untold Story”. Two things piqued my interest: his ability to lace a story and his consistent spread of positivism on wax. ‘Lost’ is his recent work. He shot the video in New York. ‘Lost’ talks about life, friendship and daily hustle. With a style reflective of hip hop icon, Notorious BIG (whose painting hanged from a restaurant wall OTI was relaxing), OTI paints a picture of his struggles: ‘Oh God, I was down on my last/Looking around for the cash’. He touches on about untrustworthiness: ‘the same ones who clown with you and laugh/ be the niggas who’ll be scheming/turn around and blast’, although he believes your problem’s my problem/ we y’all in deep’. He’s shown watching old tapes of himself rapping during his time in Ghana.

THE CUTS: EP 02 Vol. 12

THE CUTS is your weekly round-up of songs and videos that has caught our attention and think you must hear or see. The music featured aren’t genre specific. THE CUTS is delivered every FRIDAY.

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Ria Boss – lo-fi Experiment Vol.1

Ria Boss couldn’t have chosen a better day to release her self-produced, three track EP, ‘lo-fi Experiment’. It’s her birthday and the EP is her gift to fans. Under 8 minutes, she takes listeners into a zone of pure experimentation. The songs feel like a studio practice sessions where she’s trying to find the perfect melody for a song. All the songs are skeletal and piano driven. Juice + Lovers Mantra is like a cry of a jilted lover who’s still basking under the illusion of being in love (or is she reminding someone that she’s still his love?). On the final track, Nirvana, Ria Boss details her meeting with her lover, throwing in the ‘you know you’re mine’ reminder. Healer is a poem about identity, chasing dreams, hope, and self-love, recited by a young girl. She urges all black people to strive for the best. ‘Hey Black, do you know you can do what you want to do if you try to do what you can do’, the young black girl reminds us.

Cwesi Oteng feat Flo’Riva Inc – Next In Line

Cwesi Oteng’s new single ‘Next In Line’ is a song about hope and faith. It’s a call on all not to despair for they are next in line to witness the miracle of God. Fusing live elements of pop rock, techno and hip-hop, Cwesi Oteng serves another praise song that calls for all to sing and dance along. ‘Next In Line’ is the first single off ‘Anthems’, his album to be released in January, 2018. According to Cwesi Oteng who made a name off the back of his hip-hop driven God Dey Bless Me, the confessional ‘Next In Line’ introduces the sound carved for the ‘Anthems’ album- a global sound and essence of congregational worship and praise as greats like Hillsong and Bethel Music have contributed to the world’

King Promise – Selfish

A slow burner with the trappings of a hit song is what King Promise offers on ‘Selfish’. With it’s highlife groove laced exquisitely by Killbeatz, King Promise showcase once more why he’s among the best vocalist around. On this song, he doesn’t mind looking into the eyes of his lover from dusk to dawn. He doesn’t want to leave her side. King Promise is proving the depth of his love by being selfish (all pun). ‘Oh Yeah’ earned him commercial success. His gorgeous delivery on M.anifest’s ‘Me Ne Woa’ showcased his vocal range. Selfish is definitely one to take him to the next level. By the way, Killbeatz and King Promise evidently create something great when they join forces. A tape between the two won’t be a bad idea. Or?

Bowale – Afro Love

Bowale’s (real name Adebowale Adelegan) Afro Love is a slow burning, attractive song thanks to it’s afrobeat and highlife rhythms. His vocals are soft and tender, and on his new song, he serenades a potential lover in English, pidgin and Yoruba. Signed to Dream Chaser Management, Bowale is an afropop/jazz singer and songwriter who believes in the power of versatility: I believe versatility is a tool that every artist should have’.

Denzel Roberts – One Day Chale

Just from the title, one could discern what the song is about: keeping faith and waiting for your big break one day. Denzel Roberts is earning a reputation as a sharer of hopeful messages. As he points out, the road to success isn’t always a smooth sailing one. There are obstacles and hindrances that could suck away ones confidence. But, giving up isn’t an option. Keeping a positive mindset is what separate winners from losers. Produced by Nixie, One Day Chale’s magic lies in the well laid highlife beat.