Talking Verses: Pappy Kojo Dazzling Verse on “All Black”

Black has been my favourite colour for as long as I remember. It has come to underline a basic philosophy of life that I hold. My love for black almost led to a rare disagreement between myself and my dad. I was about to enter the University. As it was, I had to get new clothes for school. Shopping money was provided. I went to town to get some items. Long story short, my dad asked to see what I have purchased. I brought them out: all, except three attires, were shirts: white, navy blue and striped. The rest, about 10, were t-shirts. All Black. I could sense his bemusement. All he said was:” Stop acting like you are still in S.S.S (Senior Secondary School)”.

The allure of the colour black can’t be understated. Black is consuming. It’s a colour that goes with anything. A lot of meaning can be ascribed to the colour. Across cultures, it carries different significances. For some, the potency of the colour cast a sense of fear. In life, a dark period could either sink you or fuel your ascension to the top. After all, it’s been said that, out of fear comes a beautiful thing.

When you are able to harness that fear, you are capable of rising above your circumstances. Wonder why most of your favourite superhero comic leads are clad in black? Power. Strength. Fear. Potency. Those are things that the colour black represent. All these were present in Pappy Kojo’s outstanding verse on “All Black”, the deep cut on E.L’s “B.A.R 2”.

Pappy Kojo’s entry into the music sphere, precisely mainstream intersected with the new wave of sound that was beginning to engulf the country. The trap sound had found its way from the dungeons of Atlanta, USA, to urban hip hop circuits, and to Africa. Led by a generation of youth who had made a home on SoundCloud – hosting their trap-influenced sound of slapping 808 kicks, minimal drums, synths and reverbs heavy song mostly driven by melody about their own shenanigans, these rappers ended up birthing and exploding a new genre of hip hop considered “SoundCloud rap”.

Pappy Kojo, born Jason Gaisie, was a disciple of the trap wave circa 2014. The introduction of the rapper came by way of Joey B, the patriarch of the trap revolution in Ghana on his single “Wave”. The track would catapult Pappy Kojo beyond ground level. Pappy would capitalize on the goodwill shown him by releasing ‘’Realer No’’, two months after ‘’Wave’’. Not only was the song a hit, Pappy Kojo soon became a fashion icon with school kids emulating his fashion sense – tattered jeans, vans, bandana and his famous squat pose. Singles like ‘Awoa’ and ‘Ay3 Late’ would establish him firmly within the ranks of Ghana music.

Pappy Kojo’s ability to rap was evident from the jump. He had flow- he could find pockets and run with it. His demeanor has never been questioned. The language of choice- Takoradi Fante made him standout. Along with Kofi Kinaata, the two are holding down the Western Region and continuing the legacy of Castro De Destroyer, TH4Kwagees and Sass Squad.

There is always a moment in life where one has to rise up to the occasion, make a mark, settle any doubt in peoples’ minds and like King Kong, hit their chest to announce their arrival. That opportunity came in 2015 on E.L’s roof raiser ‘’All Black’’.  Sandwiched between two high flying rappers, Pappy needed to prove his worth; first to himself that he is not a push over; second, to people that he is a serious rapper. Like Maximus in Gladiator, he came off the block ready to finish off the competition without any form of embellishment. Pappy swung into action after E.L’s verse and hook.

Wearing his passion on his sleeve, he was determined to win hearts and minds, as typified by his unforgettable opening verse “Fante Van Damme/ From Takoradi to Prampram”. Here, he was indicating both his formidability and how widespread his acclaim was despite the neglect from others (“They even wanted to sweep me away”). The rest of the bars were an alchemy; part boastful (“I’m counted among the best even when I act a fool”); part serious (Y’all scared to face me now); part prophetic (The door of success has been opened/Haters can’t shut it now). The rhymes were precisely delivered like a clean jab from a southpaw. Pappy was floating over the Drvmroll beat that sounded like a score to a movie. And, like a politician wanting to gauge the attentiveness of the crowd, he found his own ”tsooboi” call in “Yi Wo Dross”.

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That line always takes me back to the World Trade Center, Ridge Accra where the B.A.R 2 concert was stages on August 29th. I was perched on the second floor along with my homeboy @forksafo watching the action unfold that night. The crowd reaction when the beat for “All Black” dropped was massive. Hearing the fans rap along to Pappy’s verse and screaming their lungs to “Yi Wo Dross” still gives me chills. As I wrote in my review, “The spontaneous crowd reaction was indescribable. It was as if the audience were there just for that moment. The crowd reaction was orgasmic and electrifying”.

If the verse on “All Black” was his ‘finally famous” moment, Pappy would exhibit his range and style on songs like Thomas Pompoy3yaw”, Akwaaba, M’akoma, Abena, Balance, Green Means Go. With a six-year career run tucked under his belt and no sign of slowing down, the 31-year old rapper has a couple of laps to go. He has not lost his spark. Who knows, he might even release his debut album. Fame, notoriety, success are perks Pappy has tasted. I can tell he likes how it feels in his mouth.

Like he indicated towards the end of his verse, his talent pours in torrents and not in measured drops like that of others. Pappy Kojo is noted for making references to flatulence. Considering his stake in today’s game, one can say the “Tadi Obrafour’s” flatulence continues to linger.

Words By: Swaye Kidd

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