Ask any watcher of the hiplife scene to mention some of the hit songs from the early 2000s, and Odo Esisi Me by Akatakyie would make the list. Odo Esisi Me, the debut single of the music duo, remains one of those songs that, for some inexplicable reason, registered on your memory after hearing it. And continues to years after its release.
Akatakyie entered the hiplife around the year 2000, a time when Ghanaians were accepting the sounds of hiplife; and hiplife as a genre, was also trying to find its own definition-sound wise.
It didn’t take long for Akatakyie’s song- made up of two siblings, rapper King Pharaoh and singer, Kobby Culture- to become a radio hit. The strength of the song was evident in its highlife groove and melody. In fact, Akatakyie belonged to the crop of music groups whose successes hinged on good melodies. One other reason for which the song became such a massive hit nationwide had to do with Pharoah’s rap.
Odo Esisi Me (Love Betrayed) is a tune about unrequited love, and the duo took turns to lament their loss despite doing everything for their girl. The song had a memorable opening: the single keyboard chords, heavy drum kicks and the flute generated groove combined to hand the song its rhythmic value before the hook breezed through.
The two verses of the song were sang by a woman but from the perspective of the jilted man, enumerating the reasons which attracted him to her (physical beauty). However, it was Pharoah’s rap that fueled the popularity of Odo Esisi Me.
Listening to Pharoah, one quickly realizes he was forcing himself to rap. The rap was humorous, not in content but delivery. He was rapping off-beat and his staccato rhyming style (the emphasis on the last syllables of his sonnet) made it tragically humorous. However, the humour found in his delivery did the trick for the song. It gave it mileage resulting in the duo winning the Best Highlife Song of the Year at the 2000 edition of Ghana Music Awards.
It is interesting to note that, after getting ‘celebrated’ for his display on Odod Esisi Me, Pharaoh on subsequent tracks like Ghana Mbaa, Odo Esikyire, Mingbo, exhibited a level of improvement. His delivery and rapping in cue were better; above-average performances.
Every artist need to start from somewhere and Pharaoh saw Odo Esisi Me as his practicing board. The gamble paid off and Akatakyie became a very popular music group. They even won for themselves the ‘Best Highlife Song’ at the 2000 edition of the Ghana Music Award.
Even today, when the song comes on the radio or played at parties, it generates a certain euphoria among listeners or party-goers. For his ‘classic’ rap, Pharoah and Akatakyie have earned a vault in the musical history of Ghana.