Before the first set of lyrics pours over the beat and long before the soulful hook cocoons you; it is those loud, hard hitting, church-esque piano chords and the gently introduced high-hats, and low drumlines beneath the big chiming chords that peaks your interest. They get you desiring to hear, impatiently the words that comes next.
Even before the birth of hiplife, there had been songs that had reflected -both socially and politically- happenings within the Ghanaian society. Years on, following the emergence of hiplife as a genre, some legendary rappers such as Obrafour, Lord Kenya, Sarkodie, Fokn Bois have reflected, at various times, on happenings within the country.
If a list of some of the best brilliantly made socio-political theme songs are to be compiled, one can’t gloss over rapper Ko-Jo Cue’s Ewiase (This World), off his 2014 The Shining mixtape. There are songs that jumps at you the first time you hear, sticking in your head for hours and days.
Ewiase is one of such songs. It was the first song I enjoyed (played it more than any other song on the mixtape) simply because of its relatable lyricsand also, the soulfulness that Elimuzik oozed over the song.
Produced by Yung Fly, who has over a short period proven why he is one of the top notch producers around (his production credits include Someway Bi (M.anifest), 10 Commandments (EL), and JaySo’s Freestyle 06 among others) the young producer is writing his name in golden ink and the infectious beats accompanying the song is a testament. Aside, “Ewiase”, he produced 3 other tracks on the mixtape. (Yung Fly has also reworked, in two installments, some classic tunes by highlife great Ebo Taylor available on SoundCloud).
Its loud, ear bursting piano chords notwithstanding, “Ewiase” carries a mellow ring around it. The lyrics throw light on the ‘dark sides’ of the Ghanaian or humans in broader terms. Ko-Jo Cue, in a deliberate and slow manner goes about teasing out the ills or vices associated with us humans: selfishness, betrayals, greed, dishonesty, exploitation, envy, lies people peddle against others-which are very pronounced within our society.
What makes this song a standout is the fact that, for each one of the vices hinted, there are many anecdotes to give credence to them. At a time when so-called men of God are caught in very ungodly vices like sleeping with peoples’ wives and duping their followers; people resenting the success of others and plotting their downfall, where fair-weather friends continue to linger around when the stakes are high and disappear when the opposite happens; traders exploiting buyers- Ko-Jo Cue outlines them one after the other.
Sometimes, hearing the back story or the inspiration behind certain songs leaves you appreciating the song(s) even better. In a chat a couple of years ago, Cue threw light on how the idea for the song came into being. It was a simple conversation with a taxi driver about life and its experiences that ended up inspiring him to make this song.
Aside the lyrics, the choice of Elimuzik to cover the hook was indeed a good move. Eli is a singer whose style is steeped in soul. He is also a socio-political commentator as one could judge by some of his songs. Lending his unmistakable, soulful voice not only contributed in making “Ewiase” one of the best and relevant songs but also spoke truth in his delivery. Putting Eli on Ewiase I believe was some pay back gesture for Ko-Jo Cue delivering a verse on his (Eli’s) song “Magma”.
On the hook, Eli sings ‘People are just what they are/but you for no take am so/Ebi them wey, them say, them wan make I blow/But now, they no wan dey dey with me through the hustling’. In short, the friends who root for you to succeed in your endeavours are not fully prepared to help you through the struggle towards success.
In just 4 minutes 39 seconds, Kojo Cue and Eli placed a mirror in front of Ghanaians and all of humanity reflecting the negative tendencies that sabotages the progress of the country and their individual successes. “Ewiase” is indeed a song with charm and no matter where and who you are, at least, one of the vices spoken about by Ko-Jo Cue might resonate with you.