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.