The mixtape circuit in Ghana is becoming intense and competitive with both established and up-coming artistes pitching their tapes to the listener. This year has seen the likes of M.anifest, C-real and E.L (many will follow) releasing mixtapes to great reception.
One of the up-coming artists to follow in this stead is Kahaz, who recently released his Can I Borrow A Cedi? mixtape. The 13-track tape is the second from Kahaz (Fante Dote was his first).
Can I Borrow a Cedi? carries an early 90s hip hop feel courtesy the kick and bass line. The album utilizes samples, keyboards, horns and percussions. The theme of life-triumph and trials, dreams and hope- form the crux of the album and Kahaz brings his story-telling skills and strong observations of life to bear on the album. And you can’t discount his wordplay as exhibited on the opening track ‘A Kings Mind’
‘I hope my balls are the kinda balls a reader catches’.
Tracks such as ODDienge’ and Dare You Have It’ transports you back into the early 90s era of hip hop thanks to the instrumentation that accompany the songs. With ‘Dare You Have It’ and Minding My Business, Kahaz borrows a bit from Biggie Small’s ‘Big Poppa’ and Drake’s ‘Wu-Tang Forever’ and didn’t disappoint, although he could have stepped it up a notch on Minding My Business (he sounded a bit off at times).
The subject of life’s and success can be heard on ODDienge when he raps:
‘Embrace life as a journey/As the trip provides/ never lose focus for a second till you get the price’.
Three tracks down Kahaz tells us, on In The AM:
‘it’s hard to find a job but never stop searching/little by little, small, small, you go graduate from a bicycle to 4×4’, a reminder that nothing comes easy unless you keep pushing ahead in life. In the AM is a jam one can’t ignore thanks to its funkiness-the flow was good, the hook is catchy and the beat makes it a listener’s favourite.
Another life induced theme song is the chilling Suicide. Here the story telling attribute of Kahaz comes to play. The tale, as can be deduced, is about death- the rape of a girl, failure in school and relationship gone wrong. He opens the song with these recounts:
‘She woke up to the view of her panty blooded
Couldn’t recall what exactly transpired
But she agrees she was merely clubbing
[…] she was in a hotel, regained consciousness […]
She saw herself on the background with men
Grabbing her head down taking turns.
when death speaks you can’t speak cos you out of breath’
Suicide samples the hook off Snoop Dogg’s ‘Serial Killer’ (off his renowned album Doggy Style). Note that Justice Ice the first to use that line on his MoshitUp track.
‘Let’s Ride is the track many will fall for. Kahaz chose to rap all his verses in fante, (something I think he should consider doing some more) and it’s simple arresting hook. Everything sounded flawless on this album. It’s the kind of song you play it loud whiles driving on a highway.
Can I Borrow A Cedi? is a different kind of mixtape. It not only leans towards the early 90s hip hop but Kahaz chose to advertise his intelligence in wordplay and story-telling, ditching the materialistic, misogynistic or sexist themes that is apparent in today’s hip hop. Something many up-coming artistes may not dare do.