The Cut bring to readers each week music or albums that the writer deem worth listening or having in your playlist. The music is not genre and/or regionally specific. Once it is good, it will be covered here.
DEX KWASI feat. Kojo- Cue – EYEZ
You cannot mention Dex Kwasi and Afro-Trap in different sentences. He has found a way of making himself the King of afro trap in Ghana. And acclaim is reflected in his new single EYEZ featuring Kojo-Cue.
EYEZ samples the classic Alhaji K. Frimpong ‘Kyekyen Bi’, spiced with some trap beats only Dex could engineer. The song advices guys to watch before they leap-be weary of the girls you date for beauty is not everything (they are mostly players).
Dex raps ‘I see she with Drake in Mexico/All Star Weekend as spot am the 2nd row/She don’t know a thing about basketball/ But she handle the ball professional’.
As Joey Chase of #AccraWeDey said, Dex knows what Ghanaians love musically and is always on hand to serve them just that. And on Eyez, he blends the old with the new, lacing it with a provocative hook and flipping Reggie Rockstone’s famous line his way ‘if you’ve never ever been told, keep your eyes on this hoes’.
YOYOTINZ Present OSHUN MIX
This is the second mix by the YoyoTinz team-an art documenting collective. The first mix was released last year to resounding applauds. This new mix –Oshun Mix- is a 40 minutes mix of some of the hits songs and throwbacks from Ghanaian acts such as Mutombo DaPoet, Blitz The Ambassador, JaySo, Worlasi, ASEM, Kwaku T and Rumour.
The songs on the mix are the kind that you would have playing on your music shuffle but hardly get played on radio. It also reflect the kind of music that the YoyoTinz crew love to vibe with. The mix features only love themed songs-all shades of love represented. No coincidence it was released in February-love month.
KWAME NSIAH -BACK TO BUSINESS
The first time I heard his name and verse was on Rumour’s ‘Can’t Go Wrong’ along with Lady Jay off the FFF album. Later in the year-2012 (I think), I saw him on stage at Indie Fuse along with RU performing.
That was the last time I heard of him until a few days ago when he sent me a link to his new 8-track tape Back To Business.
The album spun subjects as friendship as on Jewels where he raps ‘I’ve been gone for a while, it seems I’ve been forgotten. Only goes to show the love shown on twitter is phoney/They love you or they may love you not’; the need to mind one’s business: My new existence is too depressing/ A born winner, lately L is all I’m catching’.
On Back To Business, Kwame Nsiah shares bits of his life-his fears, challenges and friendship- reminding the listener that ‘jewels don’t shine. They make you bright’. The skits are interesting and his flow is good. A good attempt for someone who has been gone for a while.
JAYSO feat M.anifest – 3NYOM’NO
Paying homage to the pioneers like Obrafour, Reggie and Buk Bak for the ‘swag’ they invested in hip life (rap) is a worthy venture. And JaySO on his latest, which dropped today- his 4th single off his upcoming album featuring M.anifest- does that. 3nyom’No which translate as ‘the song’ bemoans how the rap game is losing its authenticity thanks to mass boarding of the rap train by artistes who are shallow in skills.
And the two didn’t hold back on addressing what are the ills besieging the genre ‘trends come and go every year I swear/you want prove? Azonto is dead… talk be cheap roff/ That be why every bra dey get moff/It used to be so hard to get a co-sign/ now it’s cheap to get props’, M.anifest highlights.
Trust JaySo to add a touch of gold to the track. I’m not talking about those G’MO signature beats or how he makes rapping look easy. The gold lies in the chopping up of some old classics from Akyeame, Obrafour, Reggie Rockstone is nostalgically brilliant.
KLU: ASOKOR YELLOW DISCO COLLECTION MIXTAPE
KLU aka KLU MONSTA decided to bring us bring to us full blown trap music on his Asorkor Yellow Disco Collection. One can safely say that, he and Dex Kwesi appear to be the only two rappers leading the ‘Trap Movement’.
Except three (3) tracks- Lie Nu, Wossappn’(with Joey B) and Goodnight, the rest of the songs on his 17 track album are trap influenced. One cannot speak on the idea to create a trap mixtape but KLU, who has a respectable buzz at the underground level, didn’t disappoint with his flow on the album-he was comfortable on the beats.
For non-trap music fans, AYDC may sound monotonous and boring to listen knowing you’d be hearing the same beats pattern. One cannot also place a finger on the style of KLU as tries to sound Drake-y on IYRTYAL (If You’re Reading This…mixtape) or Future with nasal, word swallowing experimentations. However, the bouncing beats are good for a weekend ‘turn ups’ or car rides.
Tracks like Lie Nu, Wosspappn’ and Goodnight sees the Adenta boy, KLU injecting a bit of ‘Ghana’ into the album courtesy those azonto beats which Ghanaians love to vibe with. The Asorkor Yellow Disco Collection features Dex Kwesi, Joey B and Kojo-Cue.
STARGO feat Lil’ Shaker, Gemini- EYE RED
Stargo sheds off his hip hop skin and jumps on the azonto train with his new single, Eye Red which features Lil’ Shaker (on the hook) and Gemini. Stargo got mainstream notice courtesy his verse on EL’s ‘Wash Away’ (B.A.R Mixtape).
This is not the first time Stargo has gone azonto as Super Glue, off his G.O.D EP reminds us of exploits. Eye Red produced by EL speaks about going for the ultimate in the rap game with Stargo reminding us of the phoniness in the business ‘they talkin’ bout money they never go dey blow/they talkin’ about level wey they never them go go/they talkin’ bout cars them never go hold’.
Moving, fun-filled and one to get Stargo some shine in the rap game is how Eye Red could be summed up. Judging by how the economy is set, being eye red (stepping it up) is definitely necessary.
DARK SUBURB ft E.L – HUSTLE
Dark Suburb, the mysteriously masked afro rock band dropped a new single, HUSTLE, this week. As could be inferred from the title of song, it is about surviving despite the odds (all the pain I feel inside, I turned it into motivation..keep hustling).
Soliciting the assistance of EL (who, as usual never disappointed with his flow), Dark Suburb has erased any doubt about how ‘rock’ they are with Hustle (hard electric guitar riffs, thumping drum beats). One thing about EL is he, brings most often, much more on when guest featured. Hustle is the first single to be released by the award winning group this year. Hustle reeks of bubbling life, a good starter for a day’s shift.
TRIX – BRONTIDE
Trix has tricks in his big frame and gladly exhibits them on his latest EP, BRONTIDE released a couple of days ago. Trix’ style is simple: he is not too obsessed with punch lines, metaphors or complex rap lines. BRONTIDE brings out TRIX’ versatility- he sings and raps- and he showcases his singing abilities on the love tinged tune Lois Lane ( Last night the world lost its axis/And I want you in the worst way/I was lost until you found me… You’ll never be superman until you find your Lois Lane). Don’t confuse him with Richie of Lynx ENT on this joint)
On YOU he sings well although he struggles with his high notes. TRUTH is an introspective song with TRIX questioning when success would come (I just keep walking on earth/Let’s see if I can walk on air). Brontide’s minimalistic feel makes it attractive to listen albeit -enough of the ear piercing beats.
KESIWA – 2.14 AM
2:14 AM is a poetry and jazz filled EP by Kesiwa, a Ghanaian based UK poet. The title is of significance in her life –as it is time she was born 25 years ago. The EP is an ode to her dad and explores their relationship as vividly captured on My Vonny (for the first time in my life you made me a Papa/ Until the 13th of June, 1990 at 2:14 AM I had never been a father but now I was), a narrative from the standpoint of her dad.
The trumpet accompanied Cobwebs, sees Kesiwa delving into the traps of life her dad didn’t share with her like the ‘difference between Spider and the Cobwebs’. She observes on Cobwebs (Men lie, A lot/ They’ll lie and apologize/Never believe their first stories but let them believe you do) and how children and adults handle situations (People are mean but children are evil/Adults are weak. Life has had several shots at them and their words have been tamed).
The EP is an easy listen, replete with straight forward poems that prick nostalgic memories between a child and parents. Though it is an ode to her dad, 2:14 AM, the poems are bare and lack vigour (a feature of ‘thank you’ tributes). Or was she too overwhelmed by memories?
She ends by appreciating her dad for giving her (introducing her) to Red Wine and Jazz and she gave him Gratitude. It ends.
It will be safe to say rapper; C-Real has assumed a ‘rebel’ mindset in recent times as evident in his punchy lyrics. The Em.CEO is expressing strong views on politics, social vices and attitudes that stymie the country’s progress both in tweets and music. A couple of weeks ago, he with Wanlov debuted ‘Chale We Dey’ (a song with political theme). A week today, Ayekoo was released.
Produced by Nel Magnum (Roger That!), C-Real pours his heart out ‘If you doing your best chale more vim improve it/But if you causing a mess/just know that if the shoe fits/And Ghana lose grips/it is people like you they’ll be shooting’, a testament to
A.I – DO YOUR THING
2 Legit Records main act, A.I is out with a new single Do Your Thing, a song heavy on the theme of ‘making it if you want to survive’. The song, which samples Kendrick Lamar’s Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe instrumentations, is the first to be heard from the A.I after a long silence.
A.I earned a lot of respect after featuring on JaySo’s ‘Making Tasha Proud’ single last year. His voice and versatility -he sings and raps- are his selling points. ‘We all tryna survive get by/City lights got me hustling and so I try/ got to keep my head up high’, that’s exactly what we all must do in these trying times.
With good promo, Do Your Thing could become the next big anthem in GH. Listen to the song here
WANLOV –THE CORRUPTION DUMSOR MIXTAPE
The latest mixtape by Wanlov is a compilation of songs that he has created or being featured on by others. All the songs have either political or social messages. This won’t come as a surprise to many who follow Wanlov on twitter, where he continues to express disdain at the actions of mostly politicians crippling Ghana’s progress.
The 23 track mixtape features songs from artistes such as M3nsa, Sarkodie, EL, C-Real, Kwame Write, Eli Muzik among many. Songs such as the guitar led truthfully haunting Never Go Change and the sarcastically CoRaption. If there’s one thing Wanlov is exuding, it is him mirroring the political activism of one of his mentors, Fela Kuti. It is hear warming to hear artistes taking on subjects which hitherto were regarding on ‘taboo’.
What kind of world is this? /Greed has filled our hearts/Man has jettisoned truth/Hypocrisy is our bane/Wickedness is all around us’, are the opening lines on the new Obrafour track. Finally, the rumours are getting confirmed. Obrafour will surely be releasing his long awaited album.
His second single, Nkontompo (Lies) is a testament to this fact. Accompanied by banging hiphop beats produced by Jamal, which is an attribute of the High Priest of Rap on this new single sweeps clean most of the lies in society.
Obrafour touches on false prophecy, corruption, religious bigotry and need for unity on Nkontompo “Is not funny anymore/Some other believers even declare holy war/Chale abeg, tell me what’s holy about this war?’, he quizzes.
As typical of Obrafour, kicking knowledge is one trademark of his and surely he did school us on this new one. Check it
DAVIDO feat MEEK MILL – FANS MI
A crisp, eye-catching and rich video by Nigerian afro pop artiste Davido for his song Fans Mi has received over 137,000 in two days on YouTube. One can assume safely that Fans Mi which features Maybach Music poster boy Meek Mill is a graduation gift (Davido graduated from University few days before release of video).
The video, shot in the US sees the Aye hit maker in a La Vida Loca state of life, singing about making it big, winning fans and being the topic of conversation. And if you find the white powder on the tables and sizzling in the kitchen is ‘coke’ you can be pardon. It’s powdered yam-which we see him eating at the end of the video (best part of the video in my opinion).
Davido is not the first Nigerian to have an American act on a song. D’banj had Snoop and Kanye, Ice Prince and French Montana, Don Jazzy and Wale, P-Square and Rick Ross and 2Face and T-Pain immediately come to mind.
What Davido has done with Fans Mi is to up the scales; pointing out that having an international act is not enough. An equally dope video to match the song is the new order #NewRules.
PAT THOMAS & KWASHIBU AREA BAND – ME HO ASEM
Highlife and Brass Band Music have had a very interesting and inseparable relationship. And the relationship blossomed beautifully in the late 60s to late 70s. The birth of burger highlife and later computer softwares in music production killed this relationship. But, one man is out to bring back the brass band feel into music again.
Pat Thomas teams up with the Kwashibu Area Band on an album to be released on June 16, 2015. The first single, Me Ho Asem is out. The album sees ‘The Golden Voice of Africa’ collaborating with legendary music arranger and highlife ace Ebo Taylor and Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen.
Me Ho Asem (The Talk About Me) typifies the popular 70s highlife sounds- heavy bass line, horn riffs, deep grooves blended grandly with the smooth voice and effortless delivery of Pat Thomas. Oh, that solo trumpet delivery is a golden trip.
SIMPOL TINZ feat WANLOV – CORAPTION
It’s not corruption to corrupt a word to describe an act or behavior that is wrong. And that is what Simpol Tinz, one half of the duo Sankwas Bois has done with his new single CoRaption.
Enlisting Wanlov, the two are heard likening their rap skills to the corruptible deeds associated with people in power and authority in a style like. The politicians, police, judges, lawyers, public officials are pointed out on this Kwam1 produced song.
Sounding like they are scared of their words running away from before they say it, the rap is fast and intense, matching the horn and percussion rhythms found on the beats. Indeed, the two ‘corapted’ corruption.
TWI TEACHER – I GAVE YOU DUMSOR
The title of the song betrays the message behind the song. It’s about the major predicament afflicting Ghanaians –the energy crisis.
Borrowing Nas and DJ Premier’s classic ‘I Gave You Power’ concept and instrumentation, Twi Teacher uses dumsor as a metaphor to paint a picture of the difficulties he is proudly handing Ghanaians whiles bringing forth the joys of having 24 hour supply of electricity.
‘Won’t let you watch Ghana World Cup matches/ Un-ironed shirt is what I will have you wear/You’ll spend on batteries/All your money will be thrown at me’, he raps in Twi.
With Akon’s Lighting Africa Project kicking off, the hope is he can give us all power.
TREASURE FEAT EFYA – NWTR
I saw the link to this song on my twitter timeline and immediately linked on it largely because I saw EFYA’s name associated with it. I’m an Efya groupie, let me point out and also one who is anxiously waiting for her debut Janesis (that album has taken forever to be released).
But, it wasn’t a new EFYA single. Rather she was featured by rapper Treasure. The 9 month old NWTR (No Where To Run), produced by Gefacci has a lovers rock flavor where the subject is love’s blissfulness.
Treasure, who I’m hearing for the first time was good but EFYA gave the song the required glow obviously. NWTR is a song that grows on you after a couple of listens.
C-REAL feat KUBORLOR- CHALE WE DEY
One of the best qualities of a good artiste is to speak on current situations be it political or social. And that’s exactly what C-Real has done on his new single Chale we dey which features the African gypsy Wan Lov the Kuborlor.
We dey fear talk true cos Ghana we dey/But the system dey get worse every day/No bi NPP or no bi NDC/ Ebi you and me/everything be play’, C-real raps in the song’s opening.
The song touches on the issues of corruption, dumsor (energy crisis), hypocrisy and people power.
JOJO ABOT – FYFYA WOTO
She is one of the foremost alternative artistes from Ghana and those who have seen or heard her sing or perform would agree to this statement. Jojo Abot is a genre bender- an experimentalist who creates her own sound.
Fyfa Woto is a 4 track EP which brings the best in vocals and songwriting that is very Jojo Abot.
Listen to it.
BLACKWAY – LOST MY MIND VIDEO
Blackway has been gradually rising on the GH hip hop scene thanks in part to his guest features on songs by EL and M.anifest. His Radiant Child mixtape also boosted his fame among hip hop lovers in Ghana.
Just a few days ago, the US based rapper released a video to his song Lost My Mind. The video captures him rapping on the streets and also cuddling up with his girlfriend who is causing him to lose his mind.
Watch the video
KING PROMISE – SO SPECIAL
King promise, a new voice on the music scene teams up with producer JaySo on this new record titled
King Promise assures his love to his girlfriend on this up tempo beats produced by JaySo. King Promise’s voice and blend of English and Twi on this single gives it a vibe any ordinary listener(s) would bump to.
KOJO-CUE ft PAPY KOJO – PAY DAY
Pay Day is adorned with minor piano chords, chiming bells with Kojo Cue and Pappy Kojo effortlessly floating on this DJ Juls production. Pay Day is the first single off Kojo-Cue’s soon to be released This Earth, My Brother (TEMB) album.
‘The sound of the money counting is music to my ears’ sums up the subject matter of the song’. Both Cue and Pappy put their strong feet out hard.
Listen to Pay Day here.
JAYSO FT HAIDARA – SAY YOU LOVE ME
If there’s one thing JaySo knows how to do best, it is choosing the perfect beats, matching lyrics and delivery style to body the rhythm.
The third single off his upcoming album, Say You Love Me put the soul back in hip hop without a doubt, something Q-Tip would be proud of. With Haidara (sister to RnB superstar Estelle) lending her soulful vocals to the song, the Skillion honcho talks love, affection and commitment. The magic of Say You Love Me lies in its infectiousness. Definitely, one to be found on the playlist of music aficionados.
Watch the visuals here.
ADOMAA MUSIC- BAAFIRA + ADONAI MASH UP
A feature in the Guardian newspaper is an attestation about the incredible talent of this young singer. I had a feel of her talent on Evolution of Music, where she served a potpourri of various musical phases in Ghana.
In this beautifully delivered rendition (mash up) of two huge tunes in Ghana, Adomaa is proving she is here to compete, stay and leave footprints on the music scene. Without a doubt, Adomaa is the next big star to emerge on the music scene. Success is waiting for her to grab.
EL- SISTAR ARABA
A tweet (Sister Araba > Shelele) led me in search of this song, thinking it is a new song only to realize it is 5 month old. Sister Araba talks about a cheating girlfriend.
‘Sister Araba get 50 lovers/40 be silly borgas with busy pockets/she do me aza wey she give me nonsense’ her behavior concisely summed up on this Azonto tinged tune.
ELI FT WANLOV- GOLD COAST
Anybody who has been following Eli Muzik’s on social media might have seen some of his social commendatory-airing his frustrations about all things negative in the society. And for a musician it isn’t very surprising.
His new single Gold Coast questions the practice of open defecation along the beaches and wonders why owners of homes choose not to fit in toilets for occupants use.
‘‘how person fi build house/Wey e no ge toilet/ Make person go sh*t/Free e nyash for there?’
Eli Muzik enlist one half of the FOKN Bois, Wanlov who added his midas touch to this single whose rhythms brings Osibisa’s Sunshine Day to mind.
Gold Coast is a beautiful (vocal delivery), groovy tune with enough food for thoughts. Add it to your playlist
DARK SUBURB – JUMP OFF A CLIFF
Jump off a cliff is more highlife inclined than rock, which Dark Suburb identifies itself with. On this JaySo produced song, they sing about the depth of their love to the girl of their dreams (You never know when you go jump off a cliff for somebody else). The strength of the song lies with the vocal delivery (husky but not rugged), the guitar riffs and the drums. It’s an infectious tune that will get you moving and singing along, thanks to the easy to sing along chorus.
Kwame Write- Public Verses Announcement
KwameWrite is a man of many hats-a writer, graffiti enthusiast, arts writer. But it is his poetry that has pushed him into the limelight. After putting up a few poetry shows and his sophomore spoken word album (Vocal Portraits 2), he has released a six (6) track EP of poetry titled Public Verses Announcement (PVA).
PVA touches on the struggle (Human Shield which features Ras Bomba on guitar and vocals. Ras Bomba’s voice draws you into the track); wrongs in society (Broken Pieces which he described as ideas groping with seizures); power of the pen (I Write); an ode to Sound (Let Loose the Music)
One of the standouts on this EP is Kwame’s employment of various rhythmic styles-acoustic, drum and kick and jazz. If there’s one thing PVA made obvious, it is Kwame Write’s mastery of word and wordplay. He’s still a force on the spoken word/poetry scene in Ghana.
Key Line: ‘Feminism and Patriarchy went to the market and bargained over the essence of humanity/ They cried that respect was an expensive luxury (Broken Pieces)’
R2BEES – M’AKOMA
If a fool becomes wise, all things cease to be as it is. This is what the Tema based duo is saying in their latest single M’akoma (My Heart). The song talks about betrayal and the hurtful feelings associated with love gone wrong.
In this KayWa produced single reeking of pure, smooth highlife charm, Mugeez (who never goes wrong with his delivery) and Paedae seem to float, effortlessly on the beat, delivering an infectious highlife song.
R2Bees has come to a stage in their career where they are confident to step into another genre and churn out a beautiful melody. Remember, some of their biggest hits have come by way of going highlife. With the depreciating traction highlife is receiving with the turn of the millennium, it is heart -warming to see the duo releasing highlife flavoured tunes.
M’akoma is the second single with a highlife feel the duo have released this year-the first being Lobi.
Pop Skinny ft Sarkodie – Party With Us
Rapper cum radio presenter pope Skinny teams up with Sarkodie on Party With Us. The song is one for the dancefloor courtesy its high tempo, dancehall tinged beats. Party With Us has the shade of his hit tune ‘Hot Cake’-with Shatta Wale.
The lyrics of the song are not worth remembering because they say nothing deep. The strength of the song is the beats-an invitation to sweat it out on the dancefloor.
It should fit on in any party djs playlist.
WANLOV & THE AFRO GYPSY BAND
WANLOV THE KUBOLOR is a controversial figure. His sarcasm, sharp yet unconventional opinions and ‘strange’ lifestyle has caught him in a love-hate affair with a cross-section of Ghanaian society. However, one fact remains: he is a gifted musician.
Wanlov, who is a half of FOKN Bois displays his artistic brilliance on his album Wanlov & The Afro Gypsy Band (he describes himself as a African Gypsy).
The songs are heavily Ghanaian courtesy the instruments (xylophone, percussion, horns, kologo guitar) blended with violin riffs. Also, he sings/raps in pidgin, English and Romanski.
The 10 track album was recorded live, offering the listener a better appreciation of the songs on the album. Wanlov on Vino La Mine translate a popular Ghanaian folklore into Romanski.
The Afo Gypsy album is different, original, lively and refreshing artwork.
BLITZ THE AMBASSADOR- JUJU GIRL
BIG HORN SOUNDS, SMOOTH and infectious guitar riffs, good vocal delivery and Dj scratches, awesome melody is what you’ll hear on this new single Juju Girl by Blitz The Ambassador. He takes listeners back into the late 70s when Juju music was the talk of town thanks to King Sunny Ade and his African Beat Band. The music genre came with its own dance steps.
The Brooklyn based Ghanaian MC has always borrowed from musical influences of old. With the likes of Ebo Taylor, E.T. Mensah, Fela Kuti as musical inspirations, it is not surprising to hear some of their rhythms featuring heavily on his works.
Juju Girl is a love song where Blitz exalts a lady he admires ‘I’d seen you across the room/I swear/my heart just skipped a beat… Juju Girl o/Oh watch your step o’. The long run of the instrumentation (more than a minute) offers the listener to move his feet to the rhythms.
DEX KWASI FT WANLOV – HBD (HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAY)
THIS SONG WAS RELEASED about a month ago and I love the vibe it carries. Dex Kwasi (formerly called Dadabee Ndex) has been entering and exiting the musical scene (no pun intended). Dex Kwasi bring his full Texas ‘flex’ to this track (which is about sex as his Happy Birthday present).
And drafting Wanlov on this track worked well. HBD is one to love for its ‘silly lyrics’ and well laid beats from Dj Jules and Kuvie.
SEWOR FT KWEKU MANKIND – WA KA WO HO
WA KA WO HO LOOSELY translated as ‘it’s part of you’ is a popular Fante phrase used to as a tool for reprimanding people who have been indulging in certain behaviours over a certain period.
Employing this phrase, Sewor (an up and coming afro pop artiste) chide lazy people, gossips and others who have nothing profitable to do but indulge in frivolities.
With thumping drum beats and impeccable Fante lyrics and sing along bridge, he gets the listener to bounce, move a head, feet, or clapping along.