Throwback: Pat Thomas – Sika Y3 Mogya

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‘Let me remind you again, (that) money is not a beast as they proclaim, money makes a man, money is blood (life)’. 

The opening words on one of the most beautiful composed, well known highlife song of all time. ‘Sika Y3 Mogya” (which translate as money is blood) happens to be, arguably the biggest song by legendary highlife crooner Pat Thomas. For those born in the 80s and early 90s, the song was a soundtrack to their lives by virtue of it being the theme song of the then popular National Lotteries sponsored TV show. An apt song choice if you ask me.

“Sika Y3 Mogya” sounds like a response to the well-known mantra of ‘money being the root of all evil’. Pat Thomas challenges this notion by underscoring the point that, money isn’t evil. Rather, it is blood; it’s a livewire to man’s existence and sustenance. And that, all must strive to be financially comfortable.

He makes this very clear by highlighting the ‘magic’ that (a) bag of money conjures: good health, good relationship, respect, and finest things in life. He further points out a very interesting fact: when misfortune strikes in a family, all decisions and suggestions are put on hold till the opinion of the wealthiest family member is heard. This sad truth holds since as the Akan saying goes ‘for all that would be said, it takes money to do it all’.

 

The song’s title doubles as the album title of his six track LP.  Recorded in 1991 at the Oketeke Studios, the qualities of the song rise beyond the central theme of being rich as expressed by the ‘Golden Voice of Africa’, Pat Thomas. It’s your quintessential highlife sound: the unmistakable warmth of the Yaa Amponsah guitar rhythms (defining instrument in highlife), the seductive mellowness, the sparsely arranged instruments and the generous ‘dance time’ on the song.

Even though Pat Thomas used ‘blood’ as a metaphor in his song, the significance of blood in Akan culture can’t be overlooked. In the Akan concept of ‘Man’, three elements constitute the make of human beings (Nipa): the Spirit (sunsum), the Okra (soul) and mogya (blood). According to the Ghanaian philosopher Kwesi Wiredu, the blood, despite science pointing to it as essential in man’s survival (through the supply of oxygen and other essential nutrients to vital organs), is nothing but a family lineage determinant. In the Akan cultural system, kids inherit maternally and by custom belong to the woman’s family since the child inherits the mother’s blood. But, Pat Thomas, a Fante (an Akan) wasn’t referring to the significance of blood in the Akan composition of humans as stated earlier. Rather, his reference seems to draw from the scientific perspective where blood matters very much if you are to scrap it off any metaphorical reference.

“Sika y3 mogya/)nsh3 wo ho a na 3yare” (money is blood/ you feel sick when you don’t have it), he expresses his observations with such open candidness. Indeed money is life. Money is important. Money is essentially why we work hard. Money guarantees comfort. In short, money matters.

This Pat Thomas release is and shall remain such a classic song not only because it’s based a poignant statement of fact and exquisite production works. “Sika Y3 Mogya” is a sampler’s four course meal.

DJ K3V and Khadi present ‘Khake Project’

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”The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs.” -Charles Baudelaire

Music and dance have gone hand in hand for ages and it is no wonder that DJ’s naturally gravitate to people who enjoy dancing.

The Khake (pronounced “cake”) Project represents the relationship between DJ’s and dancers that has existed over the centuries. DJ K3V in is undying mission to expose the Ghanaian commercial market to growing genres of music such as Afro House, EDM and Trap, connected with Khadi instantly when they worked together on a previous project.

Khadi, an energetic, artistic and vibrant dancer who expresses her artistry in various forms of dance, has managed to capture the imaginations of numerous Ghanaians who have now developed a taste for her form of art.

Together, the duo have embarked on a journey in which they plan to combine both their love of music and dance; with the aim to not only entertain viewers and listeners, but also to encourage them to try new things and not be shy to move their bodies freely to any type of music.

This first volume of The Khake Project features music from mainly the EDM sub-genre Moombahton, with a blend of Trap and Dancehall.

Subscribe to their YouTube Channel:

Khake Projects

Follow Khadi and DJ K3V on Twitter:

@Khadi_

@DJ_K3V

On InstaGram:

@khadi_

@fokn_dj

Video Review: Darkovibes – Tomorrow

It’s always a tricky situation for new artistes after breaking into the mainstream music scene. There is the pressure to prove their breakthrough isn’t a fluke (their new releases must be as hot as the one that won them attention). This pressure from such expectation could sink a new artist. 
But for Darkovibes, the pressure or expectations are not weighing on him. Following the release of his classic (yes I said it) single ‘Tomorrow’, the perioxide hair artiste has sustained his modest fame through features and respect number of performances. As @stingg_ of Harmattan Rain said in a tweet, is ‘unwise’ to invite Darkovibes to your gig since he’ll out-perform everyone.

Few days ago, he released his long-awaited video for the most notable song from his catalog: Tomorrow. The gorgeousness of ‘Tomorrow’ translate into it’s visuals. The video reflect the theme of the song- his lover being his buddy and confidant.
Babs Direction (the director) had Darkovibes and his lover on a date at a waterfall with them doing what lovers comfortable with each other do- the swim, the walks, hugs, ass grabbing. The visual, shot in black and white carries an excellently chromed tone (the outstanding thing about the video). The scenic view of the waterfall and the capture of the running water add significantly to the overall warmth of the video.

Was Darkovibes having a seizure or was feeling cold towards the end of the video as he laid in the water? (I know, acting but it’s kinda funny in a way).

Watch the video for Tomorrow below.

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.

New Music & Video: Safo, Anyemi & Kwame Nino – Trotro (# Allegation)

 

Trotro experiences are among the interesting moments one would have especially Accra residents. From the conversations- sometimes heated and/or fun across a myriad of topics; the stoking heat, the annoying stoppages and of course, the mates’ attempt to conveniently forget your change- all melt into moments of infuriation and/or excitements. Residents of Accra city and the many trotro (mini bus) commuters know that, trotro experiences are a trial. These experiences are what Safo, Anyemi and Kwame Nino have storified in their latest song ‘Trotro (#Allegation)’. With a sing-along hook, descriptive and relatable lyrics, the three rappers narrate their experiences in trotro rides over this horn Nel Magnum produced beat. To sum up the experience: ‘Accra dey be but the traffic dey bore’

The Experiences:

Anyemi (@AnyemiBone)

Papa trotro driver, aha na wo b3 loadi?”  is usually a common question one hear passengers ask drivers who flout road regulations with impunity. Anyemi also questions the driver in the same manner but he (driver) doesn’t seem to be bothered as his mate continues hollering for passengers. His trip doesn’t feel so bad compared to the other passengers at the back because unlike them who have altered seats and little spaces to occupy, he got to the front seat which was relatively comfortable than his co-passengers.

Safo (@forksafo)

Safo’s trip was to Botwe (the town and not the school). Entering the bus and heading straight to the backseat may have been a bad idea as he realized it wasn’t a comfy spot for a long legged fellows like himself. Amidst the feeling of discomfort, you realize you’re not that special when you get addressed by the amount you gave the mate; just like everyone else gets addressed (yes, yes Ghc 10). If you forget to beckon to the call, you lose your change. His trip was also filled with a many infuriating stops, which is very unusual.

Kwame Nino (@nino_GOT_game)

For Nino, he once got a troski (trotro) from Tetteh Quarshie to Abormi and he was already irritated before the trip; the deleterious heat in Accra and his empty pocket depriving him of comfort (an uber ride). His trip started on a bad note when a fat woman (obolo) sat beside to him. He was fuming with anger but not as bad as the fumes from this Obolo’s weave-on. The conductor (mate) also seemed to have made matters worse when he kept on stalling with his change. At this point, Nino decided he he’d had enough; deciding to get down at the next bus stop. To cap his frustrating experience, he had his white t-shirt ripped by poking metal from one of the seats when alighting. The Ga expletive ‘ony3 s*#mi’ was his way of saying thanks to the driver.

What a series of unfortunate events you might say? But this could be a pretty regular troski experience. You’ve probably not had a full trotro experience if your answer is NO to Anyemi and Safo’s questions: ‘trotro tear your shadda before? / You ever sleep wey them take you pass before? / The mate ever take your change before? / The driver never ever delay your time before?”

Despite the video being a low budgeted one, it had some good moments. Some of the visuals did match the lyrical narratives of the song-for example when Kwame Nino spoke about an obolo passenger sitting beside him. The drone shot of the Kwame Nkrumah Circle was also well done. Likewise, the spot of humor captured when a female slapped a guy who was harassing her. One can’t fail to realize how the lighting was from inside the trotro. The pictures were dark; making it hard to clearly make out the faces of the artistes. Also, the humorous moments were few. The director could have added a few funny shots which didn’t make the final to bring out the different worlds one witnesses in trotro rides.

And if you think the song title Allegation means the dictionary definition, do watch to the end of the video to get the full meaning as used in the streets.

Listen to song here

THE CUTS: EP 01 Vol. 5

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DJ Juls ft. Not3s, Kojo Funds, EUGY – BAD

As a friend put it, the productions of Juls Baby reflect the man. They are calm, smooth and of course charming. His latest outing further my friend’s observations. DJ Juls is obviously picking up from where he left off last year, as far as creating and producing ‘Summer Jams’ for the ravers. Bad drips of mellow dancehall vibes drenched in minimal elements of drums and snares. Not3s, Kojo Funds and Eugy deliver verses that equally match the tone of the production. Not3s drops a very catchy and easy to remember hook: ‘So babe, could you slow down or go low? /…If you want you could go down or go home? / Told you already love how you go down’, his words swimming through the melodic beat.

In the Mira Jebira directed video for Bad, DJ Juls and his boys are in what appears as a basement club vibing with the ladies-with Nots3, Kojo Funds and Eugy trying to woo the bar tender and other ladies in the club respectively. What is impressive about the video is the lightening-it added an incredible tone to the club setting. Any keen observer of DJ Juls and his works would realize how he keeps topping his own works with each new release. Last year, he gave us Teef Teef and Give Me Your Love, two big jams that helped grow Juls’ profile across globes. With Bad, DJ Juls has not only dropped a potential global tune but introduced Nots3 and Kojo Funds to new audiences- including Ghanaians.

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WUSU feat Team Salut- Lumba

It’s always a great pleasure hearing new artiste sample works of old Ghanaian artistes. Over the years, we have had the likes of Joey B (Cigarettes, Otoolege), Ayat (Iron Boy), ASEM (Bye Bye), Reggie Rockstone (Keep Your Eyes On the Road) incorporate highlife samples or lyrics in their songs to great effects. WUSU, a UK based singer has joined the sample train with his fantastic tune that celebrate one of our beloved legend, Daddy Lumba. The song is well put together-from the catch hook which references Lumba’s dance moves (I don’t dance/ I daddy Lumba) to the piano rendition of the classic Lumba single Aben Wo Ha. The blend of highlife and trap beats aside, Wusu was smart to reference titles of very popular songs on this obvious hit track. If Adam Levine paid tribute to Mick Jagger’s dance skills on Dance Like Mick Jagger, seeing Wusu put respect on the name of Daddy Lumba deserves much praise. Still unfamiliar of what the ‘I don’t dance I daddy lumba’ reference is, watch it here

 

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ADOMAA – April Fool

Adomaa as appropriately titled, the video was released on April 1. Colourful, great camera angles and shots, nice costumes and location, the video had Adomaa, along with rapper Wan O playing hype man, trading the soulful ballads for bars (rap). With talk about (insert lyrics), Adomaa’s momentary veering off her lane of singing to rapping over the Drumroll laid beats might have caught many by surprise. Watching her reminded me of Efya when she started out on her smokey, heart is bleeding pain tune: ‘You think say I be stuck to jazz, then April Fool/ point to them rappers make I murder who?‘. One standout scene for me was her puppetry antics. Her body expressions and again, the colouring handed it this hell tomb sense. The song may perhaps grow on me. It was a good attempt by her at projecting another side of her. However, the video is very much memorable than the song

Watch the video below:

 

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EDI-YOUNG – Ginger

Edi Young is back with a wavy new song- Ginger!  The old Skillionaire and current Kings Capital Music Group singer delivered a smooth rhythmical song on a MonieBeatz instrumental. He talks passionately about how his lover ‘gingers’ him up to achieve a lot in life just to make her comfortable. After all, she’s the reason he’s grinding, so in the end she could be his: Sake of you I dey grind baby/ because of you I go go make money/ odoyewu ehh. His lover is the primary reason he’s working this hard and he recognizes this. If she’s nothing but daily inspiration/motivation, then the love here must be really strong. If that’s how it goes, it wouldn’t be bad to love this hard then? After all it’s a win- win situation. Ginger has the bounce to make you do some few body wiggles.

 

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.