THE CUTS is a short weekly review of songs, videos and albums that you need to hear. The songs and videos covered are not genre or region specific. If we find it dope, we’ll share our thoughts on it here.
BiQo – Mafe Wo
BiQo’s new single “Mafe Wo” is one I never saw coming. Yes, he is a talented artist -you can not belong to the collective Super Jazz Club and not be talented. “Mafe Wo” is a well seasoned soulful highlife ballad that speaks to the soul, thanks to its brilliant composition, excellent groove, melody, and most importantly, BiQo’s soothing vocals. The warm yet pain conveying opening lyrics aside, how he crashed the vocal note was too elegant.
A song about missing a loved one, “Mafe Wo” offers you that golden highlife vibes of contemporary times. For anyone who knows their highlife music, BiQo’s performance on “Mafe Wo” would draw some comparisons to the works of the legend Kojo Antwi. The music prowess of BiQo has also been present as revealed on his previous works. On his album “As We Blossom”, he showcased not only his singing abilities but his range and versatility- his ability to cover a lot of musical turf. If there is a song to announce BiQo’s arrival at the door of mainstream music, “Mafe Wo” is that record- its timeless, beautiful and has both resonating and replay effect.
Juls – Soweto Vibes ft. Jaz Karis & Busiswa
“If Juls’ on the thing, you know it’s a problem”, so went one of his taglines. That tagline holds a lot of truth as far as Juls’ influence, work ethic, A&R duties and music productions are concerned. From shaping the current afropop sound to venturing into other musical scopes, Juls continues to build his craft, thus expanding the sonic sounds of Africa with artiste features.
On “Soweto Blues”, Juls taps South Africa’s afro house queen, Busiswa and Jaz Karis, a UK artist. As the title of the song indicates, “Soweto Blues” pays homage to the South African township of Soweto and the beauty it holds. “Come outside, let the darkness of the world escape your sight”, Jaz Karis sings with fervour over the mid-tempo beat produced by Juls. Jaz Karis’ soulful rendition gives way for a 30 seconds, repetitive lyric by Busiswa who brings a shade of colour to the record.
Francis Sampah – Sumo
Afropop songs with elements of RnB/Soul defines “Sumo”, a 5 track EP by singer/songwriter/producer Francis Sampah. Armed with good writing skills and a voice, he’s able to blend these qualities to his advantage, offering the listener a nice feel. “Sumo” opens with the lead single “Odo”, a song that sits within contemporary afropop and RnB trope. On the song, Francis showers praise on his lover and her beauty. On “Adoley”, he blends Ga with English to great effects, hitting his falsetto with verve. Like the opening song, he wants to “be the plumber in your house”. The song carries a very swingy feel.
“Mental” which interpolates the hook of “Chingilingi” by Buk Bak has him expressing his willingness to splash on a lady whose ‘body is on my mental”. The desire for someone’s love is replete on the uptempo “Ba Sumomi” where Francis Sampah fills the track with old Kojo Antwi interpolation and well-known Ghanaian phrases. “Kpanlogo”, the closing track beckons his lover to ‘show me your love’. He is however enchanted by how she “moves her waist my way”. “Sumo” is a good outing for Francis Sampah. The songs are excellently sequenced, sustaining it feel good effect. By shifting between Ga, pidgin and English while throwing in elements of nostalgia and common phrases, Francis Sampah has a tape that would resonate with a youthful demographic.
Gyidi ft. Oheneba – 2020
A dance-inspired record about making it in 2020 forms the fulcrum of this song. Optimism, hope, success and health is his mission statement. At a time when the world is getting devoured by CODVID-19 pandemic and people’s agenda for this new millennium seems out of the window, “2020” is a timely reminder for us not to give up, to stay optimistic and keep hope alive.
Khalifina – Black Tears
Any piece of art inspired by events in one’s life carries a halo of honesty. You could feel it in a writer’s ink or a singer’s voice. Khalifina, an emerging act channelled aspects of her personal issues into her art, as heard on “Black Tears”. A song about heartbreak (“You lied to me/ You took the best of me/And then, you left me), “Black Tears” is a minimally produced soulful record. Either by design or an unexplained reason, “Black Tears” sounds like an unfinished piece of work as evidenced by the high vocals of Khalifina. The record needed additional mixing and mastering.
ToluDaDi ft. Gyakie & Joojo Addison – Faya
A rhythmic afrobeat inspired beat by producer AceKeyz sees ToluDaDi, along with singer Gyakie and afro-fusionist Joojo Addison combining their respective talents over it. “Faya” is the first single by ToluDaDi for the year since the release of ‘Stress’ and ‘Sister Derby’ in 2019. The striking guitar rhythms that open the song – and runs throughout- coupled with their respective deliveries about bringing their own fire to the music game helps in making the song a jam. Although ToluDaDi and Joojo Addison were good, Gyakie was the most impressive on “Faya”. She indeed brought her fire.