“He asked what I wish for when I’m older/ Me, I know say I want to be human”
A product that connects with consumers is bound to last forever. People buy into what they connect to, and would become ardent consumers if the connection is built from a genuine or real standpoint. Whether its a tangible product, a service or art, real connection trumps everything.
This is the quality rapper Kwesi Arthur possesses. His calm charisma and real life lyrics have elevated him to the top of the rap game within a short period, after his major breakthrough. The artist who got his nod by way of the Kayso produced street anthem “Grind Day” – which later saw Sarkodie and Medikal jump on the remix – has not just won the admiration of many, but his music saw him pick a BET nomination in 2018. That, finally validated his credentials as the young rap prospects from Ghana.
Kwesi Arthur’s overwhelming acceptance is intriguing. From dropping short clips of himself rapping online to now being on almost every artists song, the spontaneous love for him rivals – or is a better step than how Ghanaians received Sarkodie. (Sarkodie had Dr. Duncan by his side so it was quiet easier to get noticed). Kwesi Arthur sprouted from the ground blossoming. A few months down the line, his lyrics are on the lips of every young kid and almost every adult; on radio and TV, as well as online media.
The quality for which we so much connect with Kwesi Arthur is embedded in the content of his songs: those reality raps he delivers. He’s not afraid to tell you the stories about his less fortunate background and his aspirations for success in other to provide for his mum and grandma. His reasons for making music, his stories are clear, sincere and resonates with the listener who often identifies with the lyrics being delivered.
That is, Kwesi Arthur is like the guy who reminds you of your past struggles and the hopes you once held (if you are now successful). He makes you feel like you are not alone in the struggle (if you are indeed finding your way out of this senseless maze called life). His rise and continuous quest to be better is a reminder that your circumstances could change if you press yourself a little harder.
This sentiment is well captured on “Live Or Die”, the soft piano dominated, soulful song that opens his unexpected four track tape “This Is Not The Tape, Sorry 4 The Wait”. Using his story and experiences as his canvas, Kwesi Arthur raps about how kids from economically disadvantaged backgrounds like himself are treated in the opening lines of “Live Or Die”: “Since childhood, them count we out/they never showed love, never had friends/harassed when playing with another kid”. A reality many from his world would identify with.
He proceeds to rap about the little mercies that has come his way and how he wants to make life worth living for his family: “All I want to do is watch my fam/ So why dem dey want my head?”. With each bar, his voice and delivery intensifies, oozing a feeling that’s clad in disdain and perseverance for those who hate to see him win and himself respectively. Followers of Kwesi Arthur would have come to the realisation, via his short shared GroundUp Chale freestyle videos that, these cold beats bring the best out of him. These beats are like the chills that a cold floor emit through a naked body.
The three other songs showcase the shades of Kwesi Arthur that we are becoming familiar with. On ”Don’t Keep Me Waiting”, Kwesi sings an acoustic version of the original smooth afropop bop which featured KiDi. The reprised tune is handed a new rap verse to cap it off. “Chill”, the mid-tempo trap tune has him singing about “wanting to stay home with my friends and chill”. “Open Your Eyes” basks in dancehall fervour, with Kwesi urging a girl who has his affection to open up to the passion he’s channeling her direction.
On “TINTT, S4TW”, Kwesi Arthur is experimenting with other musical styles – singing, ragga-ing – in his efforts at becoming an all-round artists. This makes sense in a world where versatility is a bonus and not a loss. There were those who felt the singing was overshadowing his rapping, especially after “Can’t Keep You Waiting” was released. One could understand the weariness of fans, but the game keeps changing. Kwesi Arthur’s “S4TW” strikes chords with Drake’s “IYRTITL” mixtape in both its experimental tone and being a harbinger to a full album.
Kwesi Arthur is evolving into a full blown artist with enough skill set to help further his ambitions. And like the man who is offering a product, he must maximize its full benefits (in terms of connecting with his ever growing fans) by staying modern and fresh without losing his appeal. “This Is Not The Tape, Sorry 4 The Wait” is the starters, the course is arriving soon.