When Kuvie first earned his breakthrough off the back of “Awo’a”, a song he produced for rapper Pappy Kojo, not only did he score a hit song, he also caused a seismic shift within the game. The shift eventually fed into the new afrobeats/pop sound or wave that was earning attention courtesy the good works of fellow Ghanaian producer Juls.
The fashionable bombastic, flashy, bass heavy productions gave way to minimalistic overtures which weren’t only scintillating and soothing in same measure, but also reflected a new paradigm within the music scene courtesy the implantation of traditional Ghanaian rhythms over western hip hop beats.
Following his quick ascent on the ‘best producer’ list, Kuvie has finally debuted a full length, 10-track- and a bonus song- EP ‘’Gruvie’’. The EP stamps deeply his unmistakable signature sound of skeletal, riveting rhythmic grooves that pays homage to his Ghanaian/Ewe roots.
“Gruvie” is an excitement booster; an EP carefully curated to offer the listener a thrilling moment. This is strongly showcased by the song sequencing, the simple, catchy and sing-along lyrics and the danceable beats that saturate the album.
Assembling artists from within his inner circles and those he has established working relationships with, Kuvie leverages on infectious melody and excellent grooves on ‘Gruvie’. Another strength of the EP is the pairing of artists on songs: each artist brings on a seminal feel that adds panache to the overall output.
Take for instance the mid-tempo track, “Energy”, where B4Bonah and RJZ display varying degree of energy (pun intended) on the song. Whereas B4Bonah’s ‘aggressive’ tone filter across the first half of the song, RJZ does spread a calm and soulful feel on the song. Same goes for “Popping” where Odartei, who received high praise from Kuvie for his maturity across the years at the album listening session, joins Nigerian crooner Odunsi and Darkovibes to serenade on this cheery jam.
Being a good producer is being able to put a thumb on what the new musical trends are; not to replicate it but put your own spin on it. For Kuvie, “Euphoria” is one of those tunes. “Euphoria” is unmistakably afro house music handed a Ghanaian outlook. An in-love Zepora describes the cocoon she finds herself under: ‘you make me get the feels with chills down my spine’. This isn’t the first time Kuvie and Zepora have worked together. In February 2017, the two, along with Darkovibes released the impressionable single “Deep” (Into You), which also carried afro house inflections.
The trap sentiments that has become ubiquitous with LaMeme Gang is present on ‘Gruvie’ as evidenced by “Sheen”, an obvious hit song from the EP. Featuring $pacely and KwakuBS (from LaMeme Gang), Kuvie lays a mid-tempo beat adorned by sublime keys and synths on which the two acts to paint a picture about strive and success. Kuvie’s production sounds like something from Neptunes-era playbook.
Closing the EP is “What U Need” featuring Tinuke, who brings on board her stellar rapping skills. For those who felt let down by her single “Ayalolo” (also produced by Kuvie), where she traded rapping for singing, “What U Need” is adequate compensation.
By the time the tape folds after a little over 30 minutes, Kuvie’s intentions become clear: “Gruvie” is an excitement booster; an EP carefully curated to offer the listener a thrilling moment. This is strongly showcased by the song sequencing, the simple, catchy and sing-along lyrics and the danceable beats that saturate the album. Talking about beats, the minor elements that bubble beneath is more delightful than the ‘big’ beats that surround the music. “Gruvie” is also Kuvie’s way of showcasing of ‘new’ voices like Kobla Jnr, Hvlfman and Bortey Music whose tune “Fire” (Edzo) is one of the standout tracks off the EP to (a) new audience.
Only disappointment is that, a song like “Don’t Stop the Music” which features Kwesi Arthur, B4Bonah and $pacely could have been the big record off the tape considering the stature of the guys on the song rather than the ‘ode to Kuvie’ it project. Also, the King Promise assisted ‘Too Much Love’ scores low among the tunes we’ve heard him perform in recent times.
What Kuvie has achieved with ‘Gruvie’ is to present to the listener a full body of work that could be enjoyed on the go and a display of the various strands that makes him one of the best young influential producers in the country.
Gruvie is avaliable on aftown.com