Almost a year after it was released, Tulenkey’s bombastic hip hop record “Yard” could win people over.
“Which Tulenkey do you like?” is a question I have been brooding over for a while. My answer is always based on my mood. Afropop Tulenkey, with his uncanny humorous punchlines and comical finger-wagging lyrics usually pours with happiness. His afropop tunes mostly feels like a hot bath after a hard day. You laugh, squirm, curse, tap dance or clap listening to him. Afropop Tulenkey is like that family member who knows how to pull the right trick to cheer you up or commensurate with you in your worse days.
On the flip side, hip hop Tulenkey is fiery, focused and serious. The homourous glitter that often surrounds his afropop tunes are often dissolved in the pool of urgency. He is like a sharpshooter determined to win the prize at stake. No room for gimmicks. Just meanness on the tracks.
The fact that Tulenkey won’t make it on many people’s “Top Rappers” list has little to do with his rapping abilities and much to do with how he is perceived: an artist whose afropop bops tip towards simple, regular lyrics than hard bars. In short, Tulenkey finds himself almost in the same barn as Shaker- a gifted artist whose musical career is spoken about with emphasis on his humour- clad, pop leaning raps.
“Child Abuse Remix” and “Proud Fvck Boys”- both the originals and remixes were the songs on which Tulenkey found a space to stand; mainstream wise. The endearing elements that culminated in this success were unmissable. Humor was as thick as the fog atop the Akuapim ridges. The melody and groove of the songs were the nectar that enticed us. The lyrics found a place in our hearts, as you could either identify with them or know someone who knows someone who mirrors some of the lyrics.
Born Chief Boateng Osei – Bonsu in Accra, Tulenkey (or Tuley) extended his brand through his partnership with Mr. Eazi’s Empawa Africa label. If for nothing at all, the association helped his visibility in other African markets, occasioning the collaborative efforts on the remix of ‘Proud Fvck Boys’, Nigerian version.
Almost a year ago, Tuley released both the audio and video for “Yard”, a song that proved his worth as an excellent rapper. (If you did not listen to”Forever 96″ off his 1/1 mixtape, then you missed out on his rappity rap shit). The rappity rap side is what he is hesitant to showcase – for obvious reasons- but does court the right responses whenever he has gone that direction.
‘’Yard’’ is a timeless record. The song transcends today, fits into tomorrow, and awaits the future
“Yard” ticks a lot of hip hop boxes- the Slum produced beat would make every rapper jealous. The production is delightful, elegantly crafted. It’s hard without sounding excessive in composition. The minimal string medley is the bait that hooks your attention. The surging drums and snares open your veins up for that anticipated ecstasy that the hook injects into you, sonically. The story rendered by Tulenkey – about fame, drugs, girls- are stemmed in reality-it relatable, one way or another. The work that ARA and Wes7ar 22 did on the hook did fed into the overarching theme of the song.
Although all these elements combine cogently to give “Yard” its riveting feel, one major attraction of the song is this: it’s a stoner’s anthem.
“Yard” induces you to light one up. Not, just to chase an ordinary high but that ‘out-of-body or ‘I- can-touch-the-sky” high. “Yard’’ is a record. The song transcends today, fits into tomorrow, and awaits the future. In simple terms, “Yard” is a timeless stoner’s anthem, as the hook clearly emphasizes: “Blacka Puzzy roll/ I got the lighter/Na we be puffing, we be chilling, we go high”.
Tulenkey’s opening rhetorical question: “What be the move?/Hope you know how we dey move?” and “the feeling be nice/The feeling be right for the move/ Me and my people for here/We dey turn up with nothing to lose”, depicts both the way most Ghanaian youths exchange dubs and also, what it means to live without any inhibitions (“we dey turn up with nothing to lose”).
Whoever advised Tuleneky to keep his verses short deserves commendation (more vim to him or her). That actually helped make the record more pop in tone. Instead of rapping a hard-hitting 12 bars with excessive punchlines, complex rhyme schemes which does fly over the head of non-rap nerds,, Tulenkey literally gave WES7AR and ARA a moment to introduce themselves to a demographic of Ghanaians who love Tulenkey. The hook, admittedly is the best in recent times an unarguably what made the record.
“Yard” is a good song that was not promoted enough to catch on. Tulenkey and his team could put a bit of energy behind the song and steamroll with the seeming renewed interest in hip hop in the country. The timelessness of “Yard” is like a gas awaiting a flicker of heat to combust.