Video: M.anifest Loves Azumah Nelson

 

 

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M.anifest has an interesting way of handing titles to his songs. These titles aren’t chosen for fanciful purposes. They are to highlight his position and pedigree within the music space. Song titles like ‘godMC’, ‘Bear’, ‘Ozymandias’, ‘Damn You Rafiki’ all have inherent messages embedded within them.

So is the case with ‘’Azumah Nelson Flow’’, the latest video released by M.anifest; which he began teasing out a couple of weeks ago via tweets and a short trailer video. “Azumah Nelson Flow” is a homage paying title to the greatest pugilist Ghana as country, Africa as continent and the world has seen ramble in the ring. It also doubles as a toast to the 60th birthday of the man we know as ‘The Boxing Professor’.

The song has M.anifest drawing parallels between his rap abilities and the boxing talent of the much beloved boxer, Azumah. ‘’It’s the return of the god so press record/I speak my piece I’m a beast no peace accord/ The pen is a sword I’m a samurai of course/ Sum it all up I dey job, be rest assured’’, he raps, making a forceful point about his talent and gift of standing unscathed even when the danger seems ominous.

 

The video for “Azumah Nelson Flow” bears resemblance to many from M.anifest’s visual vault: a snapshot of the activities of ordinary, everyday people within the city of Accra, like was the case on his heralded ‘Someway Bi’ track. Directed by Makere Thekiso, the video combines footages from ‘’Me Ne Woa’’ and ‘’Simple Love’’; two videos that Makere Thekiso directed for the rapper.

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The video begins with the famous victory speech of Azumah Nelson after knocking out British boxer Pat Cowdell. The fight took place in 1985. Azumah mentioned how the West doesn’t want Africans to win despite their efforts and ‘want to prove to them I’m the best in the world’. With this as the backdrop-a statement M.anifest identifies with- the video cast scenes from the beaches of Tema and from the banks of the Odaw river. The director, Makere artistically juxtaposes some of the scenes with M.anifest’s lyrics for effects. (Watch from 0.45 seconds and 2: 17 seconds where he makes the wavy and Paris references). Included in the video are scenes of boxing gyms were both the young and old are training and sparing with one another.

Finally, M.anifest is joined by Azumah Nelson inside a boxing gym. Outside the gym, the two pose in front of a canvas with images of three famous sons of Jamestown -Azumah Nelson, Floyd ‘Klutei’ Robertson and Arthur Wharton. (Floyd was a featherweight champion of the 50s & 60s with a total fight record of 51, winning 31, 13 loses and 4 draws. Arthur Wharton, a Ghanaian goalkeeper is considered the first black to play in the British Football League). The producer of the song, Rvdical The Kid also makes a cameo.

No Ghanaian sportsman has received the same kind of love from his fellow citizens like Azumah Nelson. This level of love was reciprocated by the Boxing Hall of Famer whenever he stepped in the ring to fight; not for personal glory but to defend the good name of Ghana. For those old enough to remember, the whole nation woke up during his fight nights to watch him step into the ring. The nation is always thrown into a state of euphoria whenever he wins. And when he loses, the somberness that surround the country is usually telling. For ten years, the ‘Zoom Zoom’ Nelson ruled the Featherweight division like his kingdom. By comparing himself to him, M.anifest isn’t selling his credentials but honouring the name of the legend.

Watch ”Azumah Nelson Flow” video below

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Kojey Radical Reflect On Being Black on “Water” (If Only They Knew) Video.

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Kojey Radical celebrates his blackness and black excellence despite the odds stacked against black folks on ”WATER”


Water is a powerful and important resource. It quenches thirst. It causes havoc in the same way it brings refreshment. It could bring about peace or provoke war. As the UN estimates, the world would face a striking water crisis by 2030 if steps aren’t taken to save the world from the debilitating effects of global warming and climate change.

But, if there’s one quality of water that is both striking and fearful, it is its power of malleability. It is said that water takes the shape of its holding material. It also find its way around any obstacle on its path, either through occupation or circumvention. The occupation is done through force of destruction.

For his new work, UK rapper and poet, Kojey Radical employs water as a metaphor to tackle a variety of themes. His 8 minute video, aptly titled ‘Water (If Only I Knew) explores the subjects of race, blackness, excellence and humanity through the medium of dance and music. These themes aren’t new fields of exploration for the experimentalist rapper. His three previous EPs- :”Dear Daisy” (2014), “23 Winters” (2016), “In God’s Body” (2017) – have all explored social unrest, racial divisions and identity within his own environment.

The United Kingdom, like many other European countries have laws that discriminate against people of colour-no matter how much they tend to deny these facts by believing their country as the cauldron of multiculturalism. The recent unfortunate fire disaster at Grenfell Tower where hundreds of residents, mostly immigrants and people of colour died in the flame, and the Windrush immigration have further exposed the inherent racial imbalance apparent and backed by British laws and existing within the society.

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In an era where alt-right movements in Europe and US are pushing their governments to tighten rules on immigration, overlook police brutality and killing black kids for no justifiable reasons rather than being black and immigrants fleeing wars, hardships and havocs in their native countries getting discriminated against and their rights to live as human beings are being curtailed, Kojey Radical’s “Water” is of great significance.

The firsts part of the video – “If Only”- begins with the image of a black person in handcuff. An image of a young black girl sitting pensively on a swing outside follows. A preacher man is seen gesturing to the young girl to rise up. Two young black girls are seen enjoying the beauty of the universe. The raspy voice of British actress and Black Mirror actress, Michaela Coel accompanies the visuals. She points out how the system isn’t built to accommodate black folks and how black folks become victims of cultural appropriation and exploitation.

With colour pigmentation, you must accept that your historically pivotal leaders were likely to be killed. With darker pigmentation, you become an example of exoticism under the Western microscope’. Michaela delivers this hard truth in a soft, deliberate tone reminiscent of a mother sharing some hard truths with her kids yet cautious enough to not scare them. This was after her lucid presentation on how, as a young child, had to conceive and live within a certain realm: ‘I built my ideals on standards I learnt as an infant and I had imagined my own”. This statement by Michaela is informed by the unfavourable system existing and how to navigate through it.

The two girls from the begining of the video breakup and begin to dance. Kojey Radical finally appears, joining them to dance. Pegging the commentary of Kojey and the dance movements, one can draw parallels with the heralded “This Is America” video by Childish Gambino minus the chaotic background happenings in the Gambino video. Over hard hitting trap beats, Kojey Radical, in a gravel-like voice opens his verse with this striking lyrics: “If only you knew/ I got fresh wounds bigger than you/ funny how they all wanna watch my steps/ but they can’t run a mile in my shoes’. Though it sounds like a personal statement, the lyrics capture sentiments of people of colour who get battered by a system not built for them.

And for all of it, you must smile and dance. Yeah, keep dancing knowing revenge would taste so much sweeter once you’ve made it – Michaela Coel

The 24 year old rapper and visual artist has built a reputation as a vocal and opinionated rapper. A social commentator who has been compared to American superstar Kendrick Lamar. He is a firm believer of free expression. In a 2017 interview with the Guardian newspaper in the UK, Kojey spoke on what it means to be describes as the voice of his generation: “I’m waiting for a day when the idea of speaking out and being opinionated is the norm. That’s when being a voice of a generation means something, otherwise I’m just a voice in a generation.”

As the verse continues, Kojey poses the question: ‘how did you sleep through the violence? You just get used to the sirens, you just got stuck in the cycle’. The descriptive lyrics reflect how people have either become numb to the abnormal due to excessive exposure or those tasked with fixing the system seem unperturbed. At the end, he speaks of coming up tops despite the obstacles surrounding him.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you – Maya Angelou

The second part of the video- “Water”- shows the young black girl on the swing once again. This time, she’s in an alley heading home. She finds a morose looking boy sitting on a bench outside his home. The next scene set things in perspective regarding the demeanor of the boy: His parents are having a fight inside. The fight eventually turns into a very beautiful ballet dance that highlights the various shades of love: the good and the turbulent periods. The expression of love continues outside where three ladies sit watching the affection on display.

Kojey Radical is seen in a boxing ring with the preacher man in scene one as his trainer. There’s a switch in song style but not message. The beat assumes a tropical reggae-hiphop ambience, with uplifting horns serenading the edges of the beat. Kojey Radical takes a dig at today’s media. ‘I still don’t watch the news, barely trust the facts now’, he raps. This is a criticism of today’s media where through news tampering and propaganda, what is churned out is mostly suspicious and unworthy of one’s trust. As George Orwell wrote in his book 1984, ‘he who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” The media is guilty of propagating falsehood and anti-black sentiments for centuries- and still continues in this century as well.

Mahalia Burkman, featured on the song, provides a dose of soulfulness with her singing and biting raps about ‘coming back to this’ after being gone for a long time. (“This” refers to the discriminatory system). She blames it on ‘something in the water’; a phrase that Kojey Radical builds on calling on God to ‘come and take away the pain’:

Something is in the water, bad things in the water. Something is in my brothers; something like no other’, she sings in a calm manner. That ‘something’ is the poison that keeps holding people of colour back like the discriminatory laws designed to keep people of colour at the periphery of society. ‘I can’t put my finger on it/ all I know is we don’t want it/ all I know is if we carry on we’ll fall/ all I know is if we take this honour we’ll lose it all’’, she sings towards the end of the song.

“Water” (If Only I Knew) is a celebration of blackness- excellence, strength, love, beauty- while projecting the challenges that affect people of colour. The water must be purified.

Video: R2Bees And Efya Seek Answer to The ‘Could This Be Love?’ Puzzle On New Song

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Rap duo, R2Bees ponder on the ‘Could this be love’ question on their latest single, featuring label mate and afro soul act Efya.

The Killbeatz produced slow tempo, RnB oozing “Could This Be Love” has Mugeez posing the question on the opening lines of the song: ‘could this be love? Is this forever? Or ebi say i dey waste my time/ you dey waste your time?’

Mugeez proceeds to reveal the back story to his question: he can’t tell who she is again; she brings fire when he walks with her through the rain. Efya, in her notable soulful tone put forth her own burning questions like wishing to know if he ‘could be her king’ and ‘the one that sets me free?’

Omar Sterling (aka PaeDae) charts a path away from the musings of Mugeez and Efya. Rather than harbour negative doubts about the outcome of his love affair, he puts all his cards on the table in a very sobering and confessional delivery. ‘I put my trust in you/I put my hopes in/ I put my heart on my sleeve/I put my soul in it’, before anchoring his feelings on this the lines: ‘I’ve fallen for you, I’m falling deeper’.

The Video

The video opens with Mugeez stretched out on a couch in his hall. The table at the centre has cards, cups spread on it. An hour glass sit on the table. (Guess you know the significance of the Queen card that was singled out from the pack)

Mugeez descends downstairs to a makeshift studio where his engineer is cooking up a beat after waking up from sleep. A closer look at video appears like scenes from a dream Mugeez had.

The Babs directed visual are largely presented in a slow motion format with the scenes shifting from indoors to outdoors- basketball court where Mugeez and Efya exhibit their balling skills. Selasie Amewusika makes an appearance in the video, playing the role of Omar Sterling’s girl.

The video isn’t only a feature on love. It’s also a display of some artworks of significance such as the Beatles crossing Abbey Road painting, the couple caressing, the portrait of an ebony queen, the ‘smoking man’ all alluding overtly or covertly to the message of love.

Off the back of songs like ‘Slow Down’, ‘M’akoma’ and now ‘Could This Be Love?’, R2Bees keeps proving their worth on mellow, soulful beats.

Video: Here’s Edem’s Latest ‘Hurricane’ Video

 

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Edem and Pascal Aka serve a video that incorporates magic realism, colour and good energy that matches theme of song


Rapper, Edem, has released some incredible videos across his almost 10 year rap career. Some of his visuals have been compelling pieces of art as seen in ‘The One’, ‘Over Again Remix’, ‘Egboame’ and ‘Nyedzilo’. These videos have enhanced both his image as an artist with good artistic vision.

‘’Hurricane’’, his latest single and its accompanying video follows the same artistic concepts of Edem. The Coptic produced song is a fusion between hip hop sound-from the chambers of the New York based producer- and rock elements courtesy afro rock band Dark Suburb.

‘’Hurricane’’, like its name, reflects the theme of greatness: how Edem and those featured on the song-and by a stretch many other artists from Ghana and Africa are about to take over the music scene as Jojo Abot, tasked with hook duties and ad-libs, declares on the opening hook: ‘believe it or not, we here to win/Like it or not, we here to stay, look on your blocks, its masquerade/ it’s a hurricane’.

The Pascal Aka directed video features element of magical realism, with fusionist and experimentalist Jojo Abot cast as a speaking orange tree in what appears as a jungle. (The orangey tone adds extra gloss to the video). The video transitions between the jungle scene ‘inhabited’ by fire eating people and a studio set up where Edem and Teephlow take turns to drop some bars about their status within the music industry, knocking out haters and moving ahead with their careers. Teephlow, for instance offers a history lesson on his come up. Dark Suburb also brings along their rock-style energy to bear. The video also sees the likes of Tinny, Gemini, Kula and other artists making cameo appearances.

Although ‘’Hurricane’’ is a video for Edem, Jojo Abot comes out as the star. Her trance-like or horror inspired antics, whether as a talking tree or a black Barbie girl adds a layer of beauty to the video-after all hurricanes are destructive.

The video also receives the ‘Pascal treatment’ especially in the use of light and costuming, specifically the jungle scene and Jojo Abot’s barbie look and outfit, make up and excellent art direction.

‘Hurricane’ released under Coptic’s Brooklyn Bridge Ent. and Edem’s VRMG is the second single from Edem’s forthcoming album, ‘The African Answers’.

Watch video below

 

Video: Watch Ko-Jo Cue’s Rap Battle Styled “Wole Remix”

With all featured guests exhibiting their lyrical prowess, “Wole Remix” is what hip hop fans have been waiting to hear.


It’s finally here. Days after announcing a remix version, Ko-Jo Cue has finally released the remix of his street anthem “Wole”; this time featuring some of the finest lyrical MCs you’d find on the music scene.

“Wole”- a Ga word that means ‘pick up’- doubles as an exhibition of lyrical mastery by the MC’s and a motivational anthem that urges people not to despair but rather find the energy to steer through the challenges of life.

With what sounds like a sampled beat from Lauryn Hill’s ‘Lost One’, the BBNZ artist opens the song with a repeat of his verse on the original track –Wole Pt. 1.

The speaker shattering beat perfectly captures the theme of the song. The featured guests- Worlasi, Lil Shaker, Kwesi Arthur, Kay-Ara, Temple and C-Real serve verses that spill with brag talk, punchlines and metaphors that could go over the head of the uninitiated hip hop fan.

The video which dropped along with song carries a battle rap setting; where each rapper steps forward and raps ‘against’ Ko-Jo Cue, with beats from the DJ (JooJo The DJ) and fans looking.

The opening scene of the video shows Ko-Jo Cue in a trotro (mini-van) with his crew. The bus pulls over at a building site. They both enter a booth-like structure, which transforms into a club, with its neon lights and theatrical smoke or fog.

The guest artists came with their own unique style: Worlasi looks and carries a zen mood, like a priest; Kwesi Arthur, who ‘put the credible in incredible’ mentions how favourable 2017 had been for him; and Shaker drops some cool punchlines in his verse (see these (CDs) boys never know say na we dey walk, man (walkman)’. Get it?

Kay-Ara’s depiction of a ‘shackled man’ (or is he in a trance?) feeds remarkably into his lyrics, declaring himself as the saviour of rap (yes, I’m the saviour, bring your offerings to am). Temple, head of Pata Camp (and one-half of The Acropolis with Yaw P) opens his verse with the line ‘you can’t turn an alele (ho) to a spouse’, before proceeding to talk about his ambitions.

Ending the song is C-Real, one of the lyrically gifted rappers around. His verse is replete with rhyme schemes, punchlines and delightful wordplay like: ‘Fuse (ODG) come shock Ed Sheeran make e conf booze, booze so I’m thinking out loud’. This is a clever play on the hilarious experience of pop star Ed Sheeran, after drinking a locally brewed beer during his visit to Ghana last year with Fuse ODG.

Read about Up & Awake Video

The “Wole Remix”, recorded and shot in 2017 has been sitting in the vault for months now. Considering the afropop dominated scene in recent times-something Cue and Shaker attempted with Mama Yie- it’s such a welcomed feel to hear a banging hip hop song like “Wole Remix”. Maybe, the Edem lost verse might surface soon.

Watch Video below

Listen audio of Wole Rmx

THE CUTS: EP 03 Vol. 18

THE CUTS is a short review of songs, videos or albums that we think you need to hear or watch. The music is not genre and/or region specific. Once it is good, it will be covered here. THE CUTS is available each FRIDAY


Yinka Oshodi feat Remy Baggins – Options

Synth Records artist, Yinka Oshodi continues to prove her talent with each single she releases. If you thought her last single “For You” was an excellent outing, then ‘Options’ would leave you amazed.

“Options” carries a trapsoul vibe, with Yinka threatening to walk from a toxic relationship since she has ‘some options’. Her words are unapologetically straight forward; like a woman who’s fed up. Her opening lyrics put things in perspective: ‘oh you think you bad cos you have that pink lips/ nice skin type/ all the girls be dying for’.

Remy Baggins, who doubles as the producer of ”Options” assuages her fears: the girl she suspect as his side chick is indeed a cousin. He goes on to assure her of his affection; praising her physique and qualities as well.

Yinka’s vocal work is reminiscent of SZA: smokey, sultry and forceful where necessary. ”Options” sounds like a song inspired by SZA and Travis Scott’s ‘Love Galore’. ‘Options’ reminds couples to confront, appreciate and workout whatever strains that a love relationship brings along. And the two artists – Yinka Oshodi and Remy Baggins enforces that on the song.

Mestar Oscar – Duku

Afrobeats/Afropop music has become a global staple. The acceptance has led to some plugging in other variants of the genre. Mestar Oscar, an afro EDM (Electronic Dance Music) act is one of the few people doing that. On his latest single, ‘Duku’, he teams up with EDM producer, Afrolektra to serve a tune that triggers movement of the body.

“Duku” is a love song – he’s requesting a girl to be his lover. The lyrics are easy to sing and the hook is catchy. Afrolektra allows the beat- it carries elements of drums, kologo guitar riffs, xylophone rhythms- to play on for most part, similar to what an EDM tune must sound. “Duku’s grooviness is what makes it a force.

Kwame Yesu – Matter

Kwame Yesu wants to be free. He has had enough from people who like poking their nose in his affairs- dictating his ways and criticizing him if he dismisses their views. These concerns are what he sums up on ‘Matter’, a druggy sounding, mid-tempo tune.

Kwame Yesu switches between English, pidgin, twi in his lyrics and sing-rap style in his delivery. Criticisms, if fair is very welcomed. But, if its delivered with bad faith, then it must be overlooked. And that’s what Kwame Yesu is muttering on ‘Matter”. After all, he has a dream: ‘to make my mama proud’, he discloses.

DredW feat AYAT, Magnom, Slim Drumz, CJ Biggerman – Abu Dhabi

Mention Abu Dhabi- the capital of the United Arab Emirates- and oil money comes to mind. That is what producer, DredW’s new single, “Abu Dhabi”- a metaphor for a rich lifestyle is. The beat is very trappy and the featured artists take turns to talk about their rich dreams. DredW is good with the features since their music styles are influenced by trap. CJ Biggerman delivers a standout verse on “Abu Dhabi”.

Raph Enzee – London Town (Cover)

”London Town” was an instant banger upon release by Mr. Eazi. The beat is speaker shattering and Giggs, the big voiced, London Grime act added his flavour to the song, giving it an irresistible aura.

Rapper Raph Enzee has jumped on the song, dropping a verse that has him boasting about his skills, depth of his pockets, sending out warnings to competitors. Adding a verse to the song is a strategic move considering how successful the record has been so far.

Rashaann – Pray For This

Rashaaan, a 22 year old hip hop artist from New York and currently based in Atlanta, is entreating rappers to stick to what inspired them to become rappers. Touching on the issue on “Pray For This”, he ask rappers to be grateful for their fans and ‘shake their hands’; stop demeaning their mums and women, and stay real in their lyrics.

‘Pray For This’ is a single from his recently released “No Previews” available on all streaming platforms.

VRSD feat LammyKate – Babies

In a world where exhibiting signs of vulnerability is misconstrued as weakness, ‘Babies’, a song by Nigerian act VRSD is timely. He encourages us to bask in our vulnerability and cry when necessary. Possessing a style that sits between rap/spoken word, “Babies”, produced by Sir Bastein, has a lo-fi hip hop character. LammyKate’s soulful hook advises against wearing ‘fake smiles’ and ‘crying sometimes’.

Video: Worlasi Replaces Jackie Chan as the New Drunken Master in “BoozeHigh” Video

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How far and hard are you willing to go to accomplish a dream? For, Worlasi he will go the full hog; even if he needs to risk his own life to realize his ambitions. This statement is evidently showcased in his new video for ‘’’’.

The POKA produced animation shows the afro-fusionist singer/rapper, Worlasi taking down every obstacle on his way to his greatness. The video cast him as a sword wielding, black samurai, who had to, literally cut to size a band of men, a giant and a floating shaolin monk on his way to a castle that held a secret treasure: a golden microphone.

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The three-minutes-and-twenty-one second video begins with a red bandana wearing Worlasi looking sternly at something menacing ahead of him. Behind him is a guitar wielding, fedora wearing man reclined at the foot of a tree (Juls). With strong winds blowing and danger ahead of him, Worlasi takes a sip from a small gourd strapped to his waist. This scene is indicative of the 1978 Hong Kong martial art comedy movie, ‘’Drunken Master’’ starring Jackie Chan.

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A band of warriors confront Worlasi, who dismembers them with a swing of his sword. His next obstacle is a huge monstrous looking giant. And like the storied David and Goliath scene makes a meal out of him by first chopping off his arm, before he decapitated him.  His final victim is a levitating kungfu master, guarding the gates of a treasured castle. Worlasi’s initial attack on his adversary results in the breaking of his sword. A dazed Worlasi is picked up by the guitar playing man (who happens to be song producer Juls). The kung fu master is finally defeated by the deafening sounds from Juls’ kologo (traditional guitar).

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With the golden mic in his hand, a triumphant Worlasi is confronted by a fourth adversary: a female Ninja. With no sword in hand and an attack on him, what would a smitten Worlasi do?

What POKA and Worlasi have done is to demonstrate how self-belief and zeal could fire one towards success. But, a bit of help from others is always an extra motivation. Telling the story through Chinese martial arts adds a layer of entertainment to the whole vibe surrounding the song ‘’BoozeHigh’’

Watch video below