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THROW BACK: Sounds of Our Time: Okra & Motia-The Workshop


Every producer and A&R hopes their artistes become superstars in the future. One of the main reasons that fuel this hope is the depth of talent the artiste possesses. The hope for rapper Okra Tom Dawidi (David) and Motia to succeed and become formidable rappers within the Ghanaian rap scene was high in 2004.  And even Mantse (voice of Last 2 Music) was convinced that in two years, Okra and Motia would be the kings of rap.

‘Okra and Motia will be around for a very long time to come. And take my word for it. A year or two from now, you’ll understand what I’m saying as being the best lyricists I’ve ever heard. Skill, command and talent; raw talent’ – Mantse.

But, as we’ve come to know, the game has a way of fucking things up for rappers; incredible talent notwithstanding. The slippery road of rap dashes these hopes. Okra and Motia, despite their stellar showing on the Hammer produced ‘Sounds of our Time’ tape, the two unfortunately couldn’t rise to the top as predicted by Mantse in 2004. Both Motia and Okra crashed and burned before their time.

‘Sounds of Our Time’ featured artistes from the stables of Last Two. It was Hammer’s way offering the unknown talents on his roster the opportunity to sell themselves to the Ghanaian hip-hop community. The tape churned out two hits- Bollie’s ‘You May Kiss The Bride’ and Kwakwa by Kwaw Kesse (who is still a force till date).

‘The Workshop’ was the song that convinced Mantse to make that ‘take my word for it’ claim about their future. The song was an exhibition of rap skills and lyrical proficiency. The two young rappers indulged in a proverb-filled, bar-for-bar lyrical exchange in unadulterated Twi. Both artistes were masters of language and expression.

Okra and Motia were literally being boastful and warning other rappers to feel threatened as they were about to usurp whoever was (rap) king. The song had no hook. It was a 5 minute worth of rap. The Workshop, as the metaphorical title clearly suggest, was an exercise in ‘lyrical dexterity’ as Mantse notified listeners in the intro.

A decade or more after Mantse’s predictions, Okra has returned; attempting to light up the torch he was once predicted to hold aloft. He, and Motia were top rap prospects who slipped off the scene when the eyes of the public was about to settle on them.



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