HIP HOP MADE IN DOUALA: CHAT WITH CAMEROON’S A.K.O SOLDIER

The interest in music transmitted across cultures in Africa brings us to the largest city in Cameroon and Central Africa’s largest port- Douala. With an estimated population that surpasses 3,000,000 inhabitants now, the cozy tropical climate and friendly people have not thoroughly faded out the sting of the period of influx in the past by Portuguese, British, German and for a stretch of time French settlers. This is expressed in the complex societal and religious lifestyles, and even affects the music.

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A.K.O Soldier

Several genres put the country on the rhythm map. These include Makossa from Douala, Bikutsi, Makassi, Asiko and Tchamassi. What is as well profound among the youth is the hip hop stream, where rapper A.K.O Soldier aims to bridge the gap between contemporary vibes and the indigenous cadence. A.K.O started making music seriously in 2009 soaking inspiration from Tupac’s All Eyes On Me. He got hold of the CD when his brother returned from Europe. The artist got connected to a record label which wanted to put a compilation out. This garnered him some recognition in the country when the album was put out in 2009. This “street” album is The Prologue, and contained ten tracks. “It presents the personal side of me which draws from the American hip hop culture which is expressive for the black community. 2009 gave us territorial recognition. Prior to this, there was no known anglophone rappers in the industry. The four(4) artists including me presenting that work was major.” The rapper states candidly.

A.K.O was willing to be an independent artist despite the label putting a juicy 7-year signing opportunity on the table. “My music is conscious right now. Because of my experiences..” he mentions. Scroll down as more of the chat unravels:

KW: A.K.O, tell us about the terrain out there in Douala and how you make your work accessible to the target audience.

A.K.O: In Cameroon, we have 10 provinces; 2 speak English. Douala is a French-speaking city despite it being a multi-cultural terrain. The main language is called Sawa. The people here have been engulfed in ‘modernism’ now. It is a pluralistic, economically vibrant city with the biggest market space in Central Africa.  In the early 2000s, if you’d presented yourself as a rapper they wouldn’t respect you. Now the perspective is changing. Jovi has worked with Akon and M.I. Stanley has worked with Sarkodie. In terms of rap, other cities like Boya is also responsive or Yaounde(capital of Cameroon).

KW: In the recent talk organized by Accra[dot]alt, renowned author Ayi Kwei Armah mentions that “If ever we wake up, we’d realize that it is absurd that we need to switch language whenever we get to a border.” He speaks of the negative wave that disconnects nationalist states from a singular African interconnected possibility. Is the language factor a thing in Cameroon music?

A.K.O: A lot of guys work with their local languages but there was not much respect for that. Artistic direction affects things a lot, delivery and catchy hooks especially in the entertainment scene. No artists rights, royalties. The government is not helping so it’s more of a sole proprietor business.

KW: What about the bodies concerned with music and culture in and out of Douala?

A.K.O: The bodies in charge of culture have been very corrupt. Each time a new organization is created, the previous one does not recognize them. The artists are like grass that two elephants are fighting on. I was born in Douala on 5th January, 1985, and had ‘average’ education. I dropped out of school but went back and recently graduated with a degree in human resource. My parents won the American lottery in the early 2000s. They are now retired and are looking after their grandchildren. Hip hop is good for the new African drive of consciousness and there are of course bad nuts but the real ones will be recognized with time.

KW: The difficulties with having a solid backing from the governments is persistent all over the continent but more intense in some parts. How do you intend to spread your voice outside these barriers?

A.K.O: I see myself as an entrepreneur. I want to create an app- a network. I used to have a dry cleaning shop two years back. It(the entrepreneurship spirit) is beginning to manifest in the accessibility to my music since I’m creating a strong team to promote the music. We decided to release a thousand free CDs and the next project will be double that. No one has done that in Cameroon. We intend to share it(the CDs) in a more organized manner this time around; to take contacts of the people we share music to, follow online and ask them to follow us back. We plan to organize data better now. For now it’s more of promotion than marketing. There are very rare performance platforms here and artists look up to corporations a lot. Most artists think about fame and girls. They organize performances with their cliques/clans and lobby this through circles. Also, openings in the media or ministry of culture helps to open doors for selected artists.

KW: Who and what inspires your work?

A.K.O: I listen to Nas, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. My first EP made me concerned more about my identity, back to scratch, to evaluate myself if I really wanted to be in the industry in the long term.

KW: Who does A.K.O make music for?

A.K.O: You cannot put my music in a box. Music helps me to talk to all types of people and it is mostly the background music- traditional music for old folks and electronic music for the youth. We mostly work with the drum. Me being trilingual also helps- I can rap in French, English and Pidgin. With over 200 ethnic groups in Cameroon alone, they play all kinds of music. Sarkodie’s music is making waves on radio and streets here. Makossa is big here also. They grasp a genre and everybody follows that trend for a long time till they get attracted to another.

KW: Beyond the rough practices of government bodies and shortsightedness, how do artists survive out there in Cameroon?

A.K.O: Artists here pay for the studio, the beat, and pay for the video to be made. Local video channels… they pay for that also. We have Trace Urban(most viewed music TV channel in Cameroon and in other francophone countries) and Trace Africa. I was discussing with my manager last time; Cameroonians promote more foreign music than their own music. MTV Base Africa shows more Nigerian content than any other country’s music. It is depressing to find some of these media outlets expect payola from a local artist before they promote your music, but they play foreign artists every time. Musicians don’t print CDs. They push for air play and then wait for promoters to call them for shows or collaborations.

KW: What next should Africa and the world be expecting from your movement? Any new visuals?

A.K.O: I’m working on my second EP with the same energy but vibes are going to change. I’m working on Afro beats, Rock, Hip hop, R&B and Pantsula. It will be more open to the youth, more live; violins and opera tunes. This is a risk I’m taking with investments to make it cross boundaries. The next video is Plan O- we shot it in one ghetto in Douala called Babanda. It speaks about how everybody is trying to survive and sometimes end up caught in the wrong things. I was inspired by a cab driver here. He said that Libya was better than Cameroon at war even when we had peace. With police asking for bribes on the highway, etc. So there’s a lot of drama depicting these things in the visuals. I personally play all the roles in the video.

KW: Last words?

A.K.O: We always try to bring the African image in our work.

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TRADITIONAL EWE BOOM BAP IS ALIVE: DELASI’S THOUGHT JOURNEY MUSIC

photo courtesy: artist

Delasi uses Ewe- his mother tongue and his grip on hip hop lilt and education to create a whole new atmosphere that spins you through the Thought Journey. One can connect with the proverbial wording and folk lyricism that wouldn’t bear the same color if translated or performed in English or other foreign languages. Even if you don’t get the message, you get the vibe! The artist inherits his knack from the Southeastern Ghanaian culture where traditional drummers and proficient dancers work with instrumentation which is largely percussion-based and reek of sophisticated polyrhythmic patterns.

The short recital- “take you off the streets just to put you back again” that ushers in the verses of Adabraka Gals wire in Yom Writer Poet’s poetic intro and heavy skits so lustrously. Miss Material and Adabraka Gals speak of African women swayed by social pressure and how they are easily objectified. The repeated phrase “from grace to grass and back again” connects in line with the theme of the work as you might notice in Dreamer.. “impossible no dey live here, having dreams awake..dreamer achiever believe that life is easy.” There’s the motivational echo of transition via existence where failure is only a plunge that serves as a platform to spring to other heights.

The pace quickens with Destination Greatness dropping the gem signature traditional percussion sample that maps out the Ewe vocal rhythms so nicely. Pigment Matters illuminates the global dilemmas artists need not leave in the dark. A line that sticks- “occupy souls and let them walk on hot coals. We need a savior crazier than Jesus, white robes and black devils.” Delasi’s poesy is fire and the album is lit with just a few collaborations and very good picks as such; especially Abena Gyamfuah who crayoned Circumstance so intricately, not forgetting  Yaw Donkor with the swinging Akan weaving in Commot For Der.

Amedeke Menyao which translates into English as ‘Nobody Knows’ projects Delasi’s bespoke storytelling prowess and dynamism, which reminds of M3nsa and Okomfo Kwadee channeling from rap to voicing choruses while staying in boom bap key.  The artist goes philosophical and personal through and through. Lee Bass, one half of German Gato Preto group produced Amedeke Menyao. In the video, Lee is seen in the cut with Delasi performing the part of villain with the protagonist in a physical clash. Another point of conflict is when two thugs; Germany’s famous rapper/DJ Amewu and DJ Werd hunt down Delasi because he seems to not belong there. An alluring spirit guide, played by Ekow Alabi Savage(renowned Ghanaian drummer), approaches with a microphone which Delasi bears as a symbol to kill fears and stand out. Joseph Akwasi made this video in the urban scapes of Berlin.

Talk of the Ewe people and their story of migration just like several other cultural communities in modern day Ghana; the indigenous settlers of the beautiful Volta Region of Ghana and Southern Togo experienced an arduous period of population osmosis through war, oppression then finally to freedom. The warriors involved in this journey curated various war dances with music, example Atrikpui which became relaxed in its nature of performance to form the more fun and entertaining  Agbadza. Maybe there’s a bridge that history consciously or subconsciously makes with the present with regards to contemporary Ewe rap music? To track the missing pieces, Delasi answers with music.. Where Do We Go?

The soul god AKA hip hop crooner’s Thought Journey album has spurred genuine interest in Ghanaian rap music and created friendships for artistic endeavors, etc across continents. Since Delasi’s live performance at the HIFA Festival in Zimbabwe and the Kwani Literary Festival in Nairobi, his followers in Kenya where the artist was living and working on music doubled overnight. Prior to this, the album also enjoyed listening parties in Berlin, Accra and Nairobi. Delasi makes music while dreaming of a better world and wakes to the coffee in University lecture rooms, stages and workshop platforms like ‘Unheard Voices’ where he engages young minds and hearts.

HOW SANTU MOFOKENG’S PHOTOS SPEAK TO AN AFRICA FINDING ITSELF AWAY FROM A GLOOMY PAST PHASE

I was moved beyond capturable words when I came across Santu Mofokeng’s photography a few years ago. I had found my interest threading into the field of street photography, to capture moments which made up stories that could rather be fleeting experiences if not stored onto photographic memory. With time, I’ve paid attention to Santu’s journey and made several visits to his online galleries for inspiration, and also to disocver the connections that his stationary stories make with the past and present sociopolitical scene.

“Home is an appropriated space. It does not exist objectively in reality. The notion of ‘home’ is a fiction we create out of a need to belong.
Home is a place where most people have never been to and never will arrive at. Except, below that patch of mound that has a number you notice as you glide past on your way to nowhere anywhere.”

“Billboards capture and encapsulate ideology, the social, economic and political climate at any given time. Apartheid billboards were very austere […] The economic boom of the sixties introduced American style highway advertising billboards thus rendering Apartheid ideology anonymous and opaque. In the politically turbulent period of the ’70s and ’80 the overtly political billboards made their return. This time the struggle was for the hearts and minds of the populace. Recently, with the liberalization of politics the billboard is chiefly used to address the rising consumer culture and the anxiety caused by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. In the name of freedom of speech one’s cultural sensibility is assaulted by textual and visual messages.”

Santu’s style marks a perspective of poetry in a lane of its own. We see the depth therein and gap that a cultured lens devoid of the spoil of myriad mounts of technology’s vaults leaves the new school. Photography is one of the best methods of visual documentation, especially when it is done for a cause- in Santu’s case to echo the woes of apartheid. Black and white photography evokes a simple but sophisticated texture for the eyes to ponder and upon focus, it renders a poignant resource of crystallized lamina of awareness.

How does widespread easy access to technology and social media tools affect the art of photography? Old school Photographer Ken Van Sickle thinks; “Technology doesn’t change the way photography is. It makes it available to more people, which means there’s going to be much, much more really terrible pictures taken or pictures that are totally dependent on subject, which is all, all right. If you were there when the Hindenburg caught on fire, and you took a picture of it, that’s a great photograph. But you’re not a great photographer, because you can’t repeat that in everyday things.”

Santu makes a detour from prevalent themes and indulges in inquiries into spirituality, political landscapes, bodies under oppression due to subjected control, thus creating very sound and profound outputs. His interrogations analyse the broad meanings and possibilities of space and belonging as well as social encounters within these constructs. With politics of landscapes, he approaches the subject through angles of ownership, power and memory. We find Santu Mofokeng’s projects going beyond political and social commentary to realistic meditations into deconstructing borders or pollutants and reintroducing sanity.

Mofokeng’s most recent exhibitions include A Silent Solitude- Fondazione Fotografia Modena, Italy, Centro Municipal de Arte Hélio Oiticica- Rio de Janeiro and Between States of Emergency- Nelson Mandela Foundation, Johannesburg.

NIGERIAN RAPPER MODENINE, ON BRAND UNIQUENESS & LONGEVITY IN THE AFRICAN HIP HOP MUSIC INDUSTRY

modeeBabatunde Olusegun Adewale, popularly known as Modenine the Polymaf, is the type of musical artiste immersed in the art of expertly cooking hip hop sounds officially as an outreach for the African youth with a talent that undoubtedly makes him a global voice. I spoke with Mode a couple of days ago and was impressed about how knowledgeably passionate he is aside his amazing content, especially in terms of ideas about what could make the bodies that promote good music in Africa more formidable and strategically productive. He’s the type you’d want to just pause and listen to, because he seems to have the answers to your subsequent questions on brand awareness and longevity in the African hip hop section.

Though I came across his music about a decade ago when Nigerian hip hop was simmering while Ghanaian artistes like Reggie Rockstone, Obrafuor, DJ Black and Lord Kenya were pushing the hip hop/hiplife envelope, I find his art evolving dynamically with the significantly spry African hip hop caravan. Talk of enthusiastic Naija acts like M.I., Phyno, Naeto C and Ice Prince holding their spots, you still find Mode projecting his views and garnering that respect he deserves due to dedication to brand uniqueness.

“I am a hip hop lover. I produce music myself but I am working with fresh minds in the sound engineering field. I don’t believe in artists who don’t believe in spending time in writing their music. That is disposable music. If I was still on radio, I wouldn’t play that. Hip hop is a competitive art. In America, the industry wants black people to sound like savages. It used to be ‘whips and chains’ till today, it’s still ‘whips and chains’.”

Presently with 8 hip hop albums to his name, the Lagos and Abuja-based artist maps his territory between the blurred gaps of survival, experimentation and playing a definitive role as an independent musician since he showed up with Paperback Time Records. Mode now kicks it with Redeye Muzik which he calls a “personal platform but not a label”. Before Redeye, he worked with Ostracon Records, then Question Mark Entertainment (2005 – 2008).

Though it was a humble beginning to be precise; working as a radio presenter and even pursuing a course in building tech at some point in time, now the artist can be seen waltzing it to the red carpet spaces sharing stages with the likes of Nas, T-Pain, LL Cool J, Junior Reed, Talib Kweli, Akon, Kanye, Wyclef, to mention a few. His feature on the Naija BET Cypher in 2011 shot him back in the limelight though he never left, and with 8 albums including Da Vinci Mode, Paradigm Shift, Above Ground Level, Malcolm IX, and now Insulin, he’s undoubtedly one of Nigeria’s hottest and the continent’s kings in the art.

Currently, Mode is working booth shifts with DJ Jimmy Jatt, and we see the musician cutting out new trends with the good old lyrical spaz, still putting Pidgin English in some of his lines and layered metaphors in most that could keep one abusing the repeat button for days. Mode chips in the detail that, we should look out for his connection with the fashion industry by way of UK soon.

I tell Mode I was bumping to his piece Politics and Lies way back in 2007, and he recommends I listen to The Sound on his latest album Insulin which was released on the 16th of August, 2016. This is the type of artist who doesn’t sit on the bench of comfort with the easy loop music vibe which has kidnapped the radio nowadays. He keeps coming with the boom bap rhythms but never forgets to pay attention to lyricism and I must confess the combo is heavenly. Insulin is 21-track LP packed!

The album opens with the track Insulin; a DJ Jimmy Jatt collab which has already aired its ravishing visuals:

Open Ur Eyes puts some hausa in the music ft Jeremiah Gyang. My Country with features by Amuta and Rockstar speaks to sociopolitical concerns the artist interrogates in Nigeria and beyond. No Matter What with Maka and Blind Man’s Symphony point at critics. Warriorz (Worry Us) has a reggae touch and is surely a club banger. Police is a poke at law-enforcement officers from Naija to SA. Nibo is a conscious outreach concept with saxophonist Mike Aremu. Other features like Tonie The Emperor, Holstar and Nuel put some depth in the music. International Emcee featuring Elom 20ce & DJ Raiko is a must listen. Bye Felicia brings the emotions docking in, though it is not your ‘everyday’ breakup song. Same Girl, Chapter Four, Bird Scheme and the rest make the album too good to be true.

We spoke about the impact hip hop music has had in Nigeria and vice versa and the artist disclosed the impact of sociopolitical divides and the problematic insurgence of the Boko Haram which has stalled the juicy performance market in Jos, where “hip hop is more respected than in Lagos or Abuja” but on the other hand, about the financing and promotion of the trade, Mode states that “businessmen in the West here run the game.” On Mode’s list of trendsetters, he mentions  and confesses his admiration for some Nigerian musicians, the likes of Patoranking, 2face, Banky W, Yemi Alade and Burna Boy, as well as Ghanaian acts Sarkodie, Jay Town, EL and QDL whose music he chanced upon a couple of years ago.

Though Mode is a Nigerian born in the UK, he is usually likened to an Afrobeat musician whenever he visits there or abroad generally, obviously because fans are a tad lazy or generally careless nowadays about finding out which tag goes to what content. As he kicks off a Euro Tour this September, the artist spends time promoting his new work (which is worth purchasing here) and writing a paper on 1989-2016 Nigerian Music. I’ll be posting the audio of our interview in a few days, so don’t forget to keep looking at this space to follow the interesting journey and good vibes!

mode

 

 

 

PROF. ABLADE GLOVER AT 82 CONTINUES TO IMPART ON THE YOUNGER GENERATION

After 30 years of teaching at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology and four other universities in the UK and US, Professor Ablade Glover makes time to impart on the next generation.This was at an intimate session at Paloma Hotel- Spintex, organized by Dreamoval DOTTS.

The distinguished and renowned international artist was born in 1934 in Ghana, and has seen it all in the field of painting with the Ghanaian touch. One could profoundly identify the sounds, smells, touch, space, sights and tastes merging in the polychromasia of his talent.

I’ve grown interest in his journey during this length of time ever since I gleaned into this world called ‘painting’. His social commentary sometimes spills out of the frames of the canvas into actual statements, like this one time when he called for an overhaul of Ghana’s educational system, because: “The system dwells on theory more than practicals”.

Though nothing potent has been done by the governing systems to steer the wheel in the right direction, I believe there’s hope in the consistent strides through creative endeavour as we connect with artists with a message for the young, old and non-sterile like him- thanks to DOTTS.

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“We learn by rote and pass examinations and not engage in creativity. Creativity must be made a part of us. We must take it further.” [photo courtesy: writinginrelation]
Since Prof. Ablade Glover put up the Artist Alliance space at the Labadi beach in 1993, it has been functional in exhibitions of cream of the crop artists as well as young talented folk. Aside preserving masterpieces, the space serves as a home for exhibitions of art from Ghana after Prof. Glover and a few other concerned veterans, expressing his grievances to the government for the need of galleries and museums: “Ghana has no art gallery after 55 years of independence. Ghanaians have always accused the west of stealing their art culture and keeping them in foreign galleries but the country is doing nothing to preserve its own art.”

He went on to mention that; “We are a nation without an art gallery. I don’t know where we are heading. If we want to transfer experience and art culture to unborn generations, it must be through an art gallery.”

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“Art school was basically about making young people paint. Unfortunately people have been made to do things that they have seen done by other people. Young artists must be made to live creative lives.” [photo courtesy: ghanashowbiz]
The local news published a talk he gave in 2012 to a group of aspiring artists about the plights of the art scene in Ghana: “The absence of a national art gallery makes it difficult for aspiring artists to display their work, hence hampering art development in the country.”

The established artist as well shared a brief chapter about his youthful days, commenting on the ills of not ‘putting art in the light’: “In my youthful days I was forced to display my art work at UTC[a clustered market space in Makola, Accra] amidst sugar and milk and that was even because the owner of the shop saw that I had potential. If you are an artist and don’t have any place to show your work and no one to see it then you are working in the dark. Nobody knows what you are doing. Art must be seen!”

In a recent talk and live painting session with DOTTS– DreamOval Thoughts Transfer Series, the artist mentioned that; “the greatest experience I get is when I paint a picture, and I feel it is good, I like it. It is a better feeling than how much I can sell the picture.” Bright Ackwerh; a promising illustrator was at the event and commented that; “I have never seen Ablade Glover work in person so I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to see someone I’ve heard so much about.”

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“This nation has to wake up and realize that the art of the generation- this life! This culture must be preserved.” [aluta demonstration. photo courtesy: postgallery]
A young lady who was at the DOTTS event to see what the professor “had in mind” when painting, dropped these lustrous poetic lines in the end: “as he blocked out all the white with colour, i was reminded of the need to live a full life. Seeing him define the lines with darker shades makes me know that challenges are a part of defining a glorious end. It took the black to bring out the form in an almost flat painting. and that’s what life is simply about.”

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“With the freedom of retiring, I’m sharing with younger people. I tell them to send the paintings out. They are your children.” [photo courtesy: design233]
The artist has his original works displayed in private and public collections including the Imperial Palace of Japan, the UNESCO headquarters in Paris and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and has bagged several national and international awards including the National Honour, Member of the Order of the Volta, Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London and Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (FGA). He is no less an influential voice on the West African art scene with global respect.

Check out the video of his presentation at the DOTTS session here.

JULY JUMP: MABIISI GOES ON A EURO TOUR

Ever since Burkinabe rapper Art Melody met Ghanaian musician and singer Stevo Atambire, it’s been an uplifting and artistically magical journey fueled by this stirring musical productivity. The duo teamed up to form Mabiisi, which defines the ‘natural’ situation in which their diverse talents merged when they spewed freestyles together a few times at the Last Chance Studio in Dzorwulu. The duo would work more with time to churn the creativity to create a rare sounding vibe that is almost going global overnight.

Two very different but alluringly amalgamated sounds is what Mabiisi is about. Stevo is known for strumming splendidly vibrant tunes from his two lute kologo which he is attached to almost as close as the calabash gourd resonator on the instrument. While holding up his high-pitched sizzling Bolgatanga-flavoured voice, audiences from Navrongo to The Republic Bar & Grill, Osu-Accra walk on air whenever he harmonizes on stage.

Art Melody, on the other hand, born in Bobo-Dioulasso in Burkina Faso, has always nurtured the passion for hip hop since the early 90s when the genre exploded on the African continent. The basis of his inspirations, he explains, is “interior, to know everything buried deep within.” Art Melody is an emcee with a powerful voice, confident delivery and energetic focus. He believes in shedding light on socio-political dynamics of his motherland; “In my texts I react to the ills that plague society denouncing the injustice I see every day.”

The duo recently made the Transglobal World Music Chart for July 2016 after they had released their debut album; Mabiisi with Akwaaba Music in June. The Fader describes their music as a sound metaphoric of “spring time”. Benjamin Lebrave who works close to the team in an interview on France 24 mentioned that “traditional music plays a central role in the Mabiisi music.” We certainly get glued to the folk hip rhythms which have a great potential for the global space of fusions.

Here is a list of gigs featuring Mabiisi this month folks. Catch the thrill if you can:

July 16, Rotterdam (Netherlands), White Nights, Colourful Stories in the Museumpark, International Film Festival Rotterdam

July 22, Brussels (Belgium), Recyclart

July 30, Göteborg (Sweden), Clandestino Festival

FOKN BOIS TO DROP A TRIBUTE TO HIGHLIFE, HIP HOP AND AFRO-JAZZ FROM GHANA

FOKN Bois just jumped on the Hobo Truffles instrumental compilation and the rest is history! Fans have been keeping up with the duo persistently, waiting for yet another dope pack of sounds merging the two voices which together add the necessary spice to pitch Ghanaian hip hop to that acme it deserves. FOKN Dunaquest in Budapest EP shook through sound boxes and melted ear wax in April, 2011.  Ten months later, the duo known for their satiric twist with music that mostly touches on socio-political issues released FOKN Wit Ewe.

In the midst of the stiff-stale smack set of cliché themes being used in music from this space and the myriad of ‘flashy’ music data dying out quicker than one could say ‘eh’, FOKN Bois write works which are nothing like the everyday tunes- digging rhythms like black gold for the Ghana streets and beyond as well as lifting the bar on each stroke.

fokn-bois-fokn-ode-to-ghana
Album cover

If you’re yet to catch the vibe, it’s not too late to join the tribe- it is the FOKN Ode to Ghana LP dropping on June 30th. Our prediction is that the collection of 21 well-knitted pieces would reek of Ghanaian spaces, Africa’s carefree neglect, springing or watered-down dreams, soft screams, loud silence, combustion of colours, rhythm which walks under the skin, vibes which fill the stomach and lines which cling to the mind, and of course amazing home-brewed music! But hey this team is known for surprises! It’s great to know the album; “a FOKN tribute to highlife, hip hop and afro-jazz music from Ghana” will be released from none other than the warm portals of Ghana’s biggest hip hop promoters- Yoyo Tinz.

Wanlov opens up about the process behind the production, that it all started in 2014; “M3nsa and I were inspired by the beat collection of Hobo Truffles and decided to work on the whole compilation, originally called Ode to Ghana.” In connection to keeping the substance that the afro-musical beat package was made of and for, the duo decided to not change the titles which each beat had already been given and rather work around the themes.

“The entire work was recorded between Budapest and Accra;” Wanlov echoes. Aside audio, the duo come with entertaining visuals like Coz Ov Moni– the first pidgen musical film in the world released in 2010, produced and featured in by the FOKN Bois and directed by independent Ghanaian filmmaker King Luu. The spectacular Coz Ov Moni 2 was released in 2013.

Critics say there’s never been such a unique socially-conscious at the same time musically talented duo in Ghana ever so vivid with their descriptions and open with their thoughts. So while you’re flooded with the currents of humour and tossed by the tides of sarcasm pouring from the FOKN music, don’t forget to find the enlightenment in between- the music is made to speak to and through you.

Check out gimme pinch and let us know what you think.