To call Strongman (Osei Kweku Vincent) one of the best lyricists around won’t be a contestable claim. He has carved a niche for himself as a rapper gifted with the ability to construct rhymes filled with elements cherished by hip hop. Hearing Strongman rap over beat is listening to a battle MC at work. His lyrics are mostly fiery, ego fueling, and sometimes, intricately woven.
Following his win at the “Next Big Thang GH‘, a rap competition held in 2012, many thought that would signify the rise of Strongman to national prominence, earning him the spotlight as the next big thing (pun intended). A few singles and freestyles after, he got an opportunity with the potential of fueling his career.
His signing to Sarkcess Music, a label owned by Sarkodie, was presumed by many as Strongman’s ticket to stardom-or an opportunity to hasten that journey. Sparks of this intention were exhibited on songs such as the afropop numbers “Baby’ and “Transformer” featuring Kuami Eugene and his label mate Akwaboah. (On ‘Baby’, Kuami Eugene put out an imperious display. The singer bodied the rapper on that song, if you ask me).
As the clock on his expected breakthrough kept ticking, many wondered how involved Sarkodie is in his career- helping catapult him to the next level. Opinions split down the middle: whereas a section thought Strongman had more to do in that regard, some maintained Sarkodie should use his clout to help the young rapper excel within and outside Ghana. These arguments aside, Strongman got himself tangled in a subliminal rap exchanges with Teephlow. Although the incident was uncalled for, it did shine a beam on the two rappers, even if momentarily.
‘’STN’’ (Still That Nigga) is an affirmation of Stromgman’s credentials as a rapper. The EP is also to satisfy his fans who have questioned and wondered if he’d put a body of work anytime soon. Across the 7 tracks on the EP, the rapper makes these valid.
With features from Sarkodie and B4Bonah (on ‘Monster’), Akwaboah (on ‘Vision’), Worlasi (on ‘Paid My Dues’), Shaker (‘Paper’) and Kwesi Arthur (on ‘My Vibe’), Strongman attempts to make an EP that’s more musical than full blown rappity rap. Soliciting production from Jayso, Tubhani Muzik and KC Beatz validate this point with their trap and afropop influenced beats.
”Vision”, the EPs opener is a solemn musing by the rapper on his career and chasing dreams. The korg driven tune is handed a breadth of soulfulness by Akwaboah, who knots the theme of the song on the hook: ”we are singing our lines and hooks/we go go fishing ourselves.”. The breezy half of the song is replaced by hard drums over which Strongman serves his motivation speech: first, acknowledging his present circumstances, and his future ambitions. He further urges people to bid their time and rely on God for a better day. Beginning the EP with ‘Vision’ reflects the Ghanaian way of life where every activity starts with a prayer.
On songs like ‘’Dose’’, ‘’Monster’’, ‘’My Vibe’’ and ‘’Still That Nigga’’, Strongman supplement his lyrics with deserved braggadocios commentary about his talent, threats to competitors and his position within the rap game. On the Jayso produced ‘’Still That Nigga’’, he raps: ‘’they say my punch is hot, it’s in a food flask/no be Mercedes, chale I no dey see class/I make machines splash/ borla man apart from me all I see is trash’’. ‘’Paid In Full’’ featuring Worlasi has Strongman drawing a line in the sand between himself and other rappers. ‘’Paper’’ with Shaker throws light on the significance of money and why ‘one day, money never go be problem’.
It’s significant to point out that, STN is a cohesive offer: Strongman makes a strong case for himself to be counted and taken seriously as a lyricist. The EP scores high on song sequencing and production- the beats, despite being trap based are not repetitive and boring. Again, keeping the 7 tracks under 3 minutes (21 minute in all) means one can re-run the EP multiple times.
Strongman has proven his lyrical abilities on STN. The challenge for him is whether he can make a record that would propel him into the mainstream, and get noticed by more people; not just his fans and followers of rap music.