His voice holds more than melodies and musical notes. It serenaded and soothed people’s mood. Whether you were in love, heartbroken, happy or feeling the brunt of disappointment, he had songs to keep you company. The voice which conveyed the thoughts in his mind was always soulful, tender and great to hear whenever it boomed through the speakers.
Kaakyire Kwame Fosu, known simply as K.K Fosu earned his stripes as one of the best high life crooners to surface on the scene. At the time of his entry within the space, highlife was shedding its burger highlife traits for something more contemporary – artists and producers were incorporating RnB and hip hop grooves into their works to make it more hip and lively. The likes of Daddy Lumba, Kojo Antwi, Nana Quame, Ofori Amponsah were already pushing that front. KK Fosu came to add his voice to it.
KK Fosu had his musical tutoring with Soundz Unlimited Jazz Band. His excellent performances led to his manager, Charles Lawson introducing him to Mr. Richard Holbrock of Lowdown Records.
That meeting resulted in the production of his debut single ‘Adwen’. He’d later release what became his notable record, ‘Sudwe’, originally produced by Mensa.
K.K Fosu however, earned looks from industry players after ‘Sudwe’; and a lot more after the song was handed a make-over by ace producer, Hammer (Last 2). With its hip hop feel- the drums and kicks rattled- Hammer transformed the song’s appeal. This proved worthy as it captured the attention of the hip hop lovers as well. To enhance its appeal further, K.K Fosu featured Tinny, Samini and Kokoveli. (Samini, Kokoveli and KK Fosu would form a loose group called The Trinity).
His strongest appeal, aside his vocal prowess, included his adoption of hip hop, consciously or otherwise. He became the polar opposite of what a highlife artist must look like: humble, less colourful, simple music videos. KK was your quintessential crooner who reflected those mid-90s RnB swag: he who wore baggy jeans, head bands, Timbaland boots and at a point, had a band-aid beneath his left eye similar to rapper Nelly.
Hiplife or rap, since its birth in 1995, has overshadowed highlife music. But, around the year 2005, highlife came into its stride once more, in large part to the stellar performances of Ofori Amponsah, Kofi Nti, Dasebre Dwanena, Kofi B and of course, KK Fosu. His youthfulness and talent made him a go-to singer for both highlife and hiplife artists.
Reggie Rockstone recruited him for his award winning single “AH”; a song about infidelity. “AH’s mellow tone was deepened by the soulful hook delivered by KK Fosu. (He also did put up a decent performance in the video). On the Kofi Nti single ‘Rakia’, he peppered it with another worthy to mention delivery. His entry on the second verse changed the vibe around the record. Same went for the Appietus produced “Otologe”, the 2010 massive single from Ofori Amponsah. ‘’Otoolege’’ unsurpringly became a staple for every radio and club DJ during that time. During his earlier days, he’d offer vocals on Terry Bonchaka’s hit ‘Zoozey’. KK Fosu always entered a song with a burst of energy that uplift the song a notch higher.
There were moments where he exemplified the less-is-more mantra. He had a way of adding a layer of brilliance to a song through his harmonies and ad-libs. His performance on Obour’s “Me So Dae”, was a clear example. On the song, he casually punctured the hooks and verses by either repeating full lyrics or Obour’s closing verses. KK’s harmonies and ad-libs were as colourful and heart-warming as a rainbow across the skyline after a raining day.
On his own, he showcased his strong song writing and melodic skills across various songs; sometimes incorporating other genres into the songs. For instance, on the mid-tempo love tune ‘Kyere Me’, which blended in some dancehall vibe. ‘Anodwo Ye De’, ‘Obaa Pa’, ‘Number One’ have aged pretty well after these years.
The career of the D’Styler was without controversy. Years after chalking his biggest musical success with the remix of “Sudwe”, he fell out with Samini, with whom, along with Kokoveli had formed the three-man music collective, ‘’The Trinity’’. The frosty relationship led to the trading of diss songs. KK Fosu released the Quata assisted “Oga” whose hook, “na through me you make oga”, alluded to the ‘fact’ that, Samini built his fame off the success of the remix of “Sudwe”.
Samini, in a recent interview shed light on how the tiff, which has since thawed, came to be:
‘’We (The Trinity) had played across the city so much that it was beginning to get boring. I told my guys (KK Fosu and Kokoveli) to cut down on the number of appearances and put a price on the thing and make it more expensive. The boys didn’t find it too happy about it cos they had albums and it was their time to shine. I was just featured on two tracks – Kokoveli’s ‘Zaaza’ and KK Fosu’s ‘Sudwe’. The challenge for me was my solo album. People were like, Batman is meant for featuring and can’t do his own album. So, I told my boys I was going to be in the studio to do my album, and if it’s a big show (they should) call me’’ – Samini speaking to Bola Ray on Starr FM’.
The D’Styler’s career took a snug, but he’s clawing back into showbiz with new music. He is also taking advantage of media interviews to build his profile. Possessing the exuberant spirit of a young music act and a wealth of experience lessen the burdens of a comeback.
And with the re-emergence of highlife music and the great reception it is receiving, K.K Fosu has a chance to insert himself into the space with less stress. The onus rest on him.