THE CUTS review songs, videos or albums we think you need to hear or see. The music covered are not genre and/or region specific. Once it is good, it would be reviewed here. THE CUTS is available each FRIDAY
Nana Benyin – Happy Place
Finally, Nana Benyin aka Rumor, has stepped out of his long hiatus following the release of his new album, “Happy Place”. Across the 10 tracks, Nana Benyin cascades across myriad of themes, musical sounds and moods. His stellar lyricism and quaint flow, coupled with his tone of voice makes both his rapping and singing (which he does on this album) an attraction.
On the piano burrowing opener, ‘’Bittersweet’’, he cast light on his thoughts about being a Ghanaian artist. ‘’Freaky Tonight’’ bellows a funky feel and lives up to its title: get freaky. On ‘’Smile’’, Nana Benyin steps into the azonto vibe by reprising Joey B’s single ‘Cigarette’. With assistance from Magnom, Nana Benyin offers us a trap joint on “I Be Jerh”; a song about ‘making your own’ wave. ‘In My Heart’ which features Lil’ Shaker and EL is a tale about keeping eyes on the dream. On the closing track, ‘Everything’, which features Bryan The Mensah, the theme of staying focused and ‘coming for everything’ is explored.
Aside the excitement which greeted the announcement of a new EP from Nana Benyin after his 4 year hiatus, ‘’Happy Place’’ portrays a man who is indeed happy to be back into the rap game. Or, so it sounds.
King Promise: Abena
One thing is uncontestable: King Promise knows how to make good music. His melodies are fantastic, his production is heartwarming, his voice is soothing. After getting everyone singing his gospel influenced “CCTV”, he returns with another hit tune ‘Abena’. The mid-tempo tune happens to be the second single from his upcoming debut album. ‘Abena’ is a love song which describes the feeling of missing a loved one.
The video sees King Promise and his loved one having jolly moments: walks in the park, visiting ice cream parlours, taking strolls in the street. Similar to the character of the song-mellow, simple lyrics- the video is simple and appealing to watch. The twist in the video is revealed towards the end when King Promise wakes up from his deep sleep to a call from his lover, Abena.
The choice of a market to shoot the video is a great pick. It’s the perfect ground to meet women from all walks of life-from traders, buyers, working and the low class women. Why it took a very long while to shoot this video, I can’t hazard a guess, but Efya played her role well, switching between various roles- from a shop owner to chopbar operator; a seller and a buyer. Together with a couple of women, they filing through the market. The Hassan Beiruthy and Abstrakte ‘’Whoman’’ is a portrayal of the strength of women.
VILLY & The Xtreme Volumes – Humanimals
”Humanimals”, the EP released by Nigerian afrobeat band, VILLY & The Xtreme Volumes in 2016, explored the nexus between the daily struggles of the average man and that of the rich and powerful in society, as well as neo-colonialism. The buoyancy and heaviness of the EP is as moving as it is rhythmic. The EP is being turned into a musical. This makes it the first Nigerian EP to be developed into such medium.
Shot by Wanlov The Kubolor, the released trailer follows the life of Villy as he survives the streets of Accra. The story begins with Villy, a phone seller in Accra, trying to support his music career. His family from Lagos call to say his cousin in London has died. Will Villy be able to get a visa for the UK in time for the burial? What’s interesting about this film is that, each scene is inspired by a track on the EP.
According to the director, Wanlov The Kubolor, he fell in love with Villy’s music and lyrics ‘so I made this film as a fan and comrade, even though I shot and edited this film, I got goosebumps the first time I watched it. I can only imagine what it will do to you.” (Note: Each scene was a one-take shot filmed to music played back at double speed so it took a lot of plotting and luck. A lot of work went into the making of the musical indeed).
Soorebia feat Akan – 2 Strings
Soorebia’s “2 Strings” is an ode to the people of Upper East Region and their contribution to music by way of kologo. For Soorebia, he is the one to advance this growing influence through hip hop. On “2 Strings”, a hard hitting hip hop beat laced with kologo rhythms, he exhibit both his rapping skills and mission.
The Babs directed video captures the traditional lifestyle of his people: farming and merry making. It shows their industrious spirits and their beautiful culture. Soorebia and Akan are indulged in what could be described as a cultural exchange: Soorebia, the man from the north (Soorebia) meets Akan, the man from the south