I had the pleasure of having my review of the 2014 Chale Wote street art festival published on circumspecte.com . Sorry I can’t post it here but you can check it out: http://www.jabdulai.com/guest-review-by-hakeem-adam-chale-wote-street-art-festival/
These days I find myself questioning more phenomenon than I would have in the past. I tend to link this occurrence to coming of age. Unlike Hollywood’s profiteering depiction, coming of age is not fun. You don’t find the love of your life and live happily ever after. You don’t get accepted into Harvard. Television has and will continue to deceive the inactive mind. However I will discuss the media later.
Coming of age to me feels like an amalgamation of soo many little decisions. Choosing to sit on that seat in class. Taking this route home. Talking to that guy. Unconsciously, we make these little and “not soo significant” choices that end up shaping what the chunk of our lives look like. A sort of metaphysical collage. Yet, the spine chilling momment is not making the choices, but when the picture is not turning out as you anticipated.
We all begin to doubt who we are becoming. That self doubt could be crippling depending on your resolve. I discovered that my conviction strengthened as I experienced more. I began to have more faith in my ability. I began to pay attention to detail. I became analytical. Although the fear lingers, it doesn’t hold me back. I am not scared of the future. Rather I am fascinated by the endless possibilities it holds for me. I have gained a fair understanding of the mechanics of life.
I think coming of age is not just a particular stipulated period in time, marked by certain physical, emotional and social events. It is a chain reaction, where as you experience the world, you learn lessons that shape your life untill you become too lazy to continue learning.
Like what quantum superposition suggest; you and I can exist in any form but In reality, just one true form. That one state is determined by the series of events I like to describe as coming of age.
These are my thoughts on the “This Is Not the (TINT) Album” Extended play released in December of 2013 by Ghanaian recording artist Efya.
Efya is an exciting afro-beats/neo-soul singer, songwriter from Ghana. She burst into the limelight after being part of an award winning duo called Irene & Jane. After a hiatus due to education, the group disbanded and she changed her moniker from Miss Jane to Efya. She successfully reemerged onto the Ghanaian music scene to rave reviews and awards, as a result of a number of well performing duets with rapper Sarkodie and her hits like Best in Me.
The thirteen track, forty-eight minute long EP is a collection of some of her famous singles and other previously unheard gems. It was released as a prelude to her debut album titled, “Love Genesis”, scheduled to be released sometime in 2014. A sort of exposition of her sound and style. She mainly explores love based themes of disloyalty, change, escapism, ad nauseam with simplistic diction, singing in English with hints of Twi and Pidgin English. Most of the production is mellowed and not too jumpy, with low tempo piano chords and bass guitar, producing a unique Africanized soul sound. This gives her powerful vocals the perfect canvass to dazzle and shine.
She samples Chris Brown’s Don’t Judge Me on the song Body. She does well to own the lyrics and command the pace of the song, in the end it doesn’t quite sound too much like a typical RnB song. But I feel Efya should move from doing covers and be loved for her authentic style which she excels in. Sexy Sassy Wahala is another song I enjoyed. I first heard this on the Ghanaian movie series, “Adams’ Apples” and I was impressed with the synth pop guitars. A sound I would not usually associate with Ghanaian singers. She does well to produce a soulful ballad about the struggles of a women in the big city. In her own words, “Make my money/Do my own thing/ you can’t stop me”. Rather cliché pro feminist lyrics.
My favorite song on the EP is Getaway, produced by BlackStar. She sings about escaping to a peaceful quiet place, from the chaos and stress of the city. The hook is simple and catchy, re-emphasizing the theme of the song. It’s a rather refreshing switch up from her usual song themes of idealistic love. Runaway love is both dangerous and exciting. The instrumentals here are probably the best on the tape. I have no other word to describe the manner in which the sounds complement each other, not rushed, but in some sort of metaphysical agreement than Perfect.
Falou is another noteworthy track on the Ep. Here she samples Duncan Mighty’s “Obianuju” and completely obliterates it. The producer makes minced meat of the original. The 808 drums and strings crescendo into an eventful chorus oozing all the emotion out of the song. Her vocals command the song, the instruments acquiesce to her lead to create a master piece. I would pay for her to privately perform the song.
Efya limits the features drastically on the tape to just one, on the song Commot. A good decision because it allows her to dominate the tape and make it achieve its purpose. Other artist put too much features on their EPs and the as such the loose their identity on their own work. Black Magic doesn’t even take attention away from Efya on Commot. They combine to create an upbeat reggae influenced record on infidelity in relationships.
The songs in didn’t like being on the EP were Best in Me and Little Things. I felt the artist should have left them as the massively successful radio singles that they are. Instead on putting them on here and taking attention from the other great songs she has.
Overall, this is a body of art Efya should be very proud of. It served its purpose well, introducing her sound and building up hype for her debut solo album. I feel she has a very authentic, well groomed, unique afro/neo-soul sound, and I will be disappointed if she strays from this to produce radio friendly record which might not utilize her full potential. Her lyrics are just about right, not too catchy or overly poetic. Her production, top notch and tailor made to accommodate the power in her voice. TINT is definitely on my top five Ghanaian records. She reminds me of Sade, on more Africanized Jazz instrumentals. I appreciate the originality.
I rate this album 8.5/10 and present Efya with garlands she deserves.
Ab Soul x Beautiful Death
The government is spineless
And the people, too dumb to notice till niggas are lying dead
And the pavement stained red.
Walls punctured but sense doesn’t enter
It was buried at birth with the placenta
Pigs on two legs create graffiti with bullets and tear gas
As my brother crawls past
Where sanity used to live
Where freedom and justice were celebrated like a well performing kid
Where rights were respected, now they just look left
Rights are neglected and the only things left
Are carcasses that rot into the air
The putrid truth, they cannot bear.
The incendiary bomb meant to clear the way
But didn’t think of the damage it will cause this place
Anger suppressed for years is a storm at sea
Clear judgment is clouded, we cannot see
Now we’ve hit the rocks, our raft is sinking
The smell of death restores our thinking
Regardless the government is spineless and prolly wants me dead.
Don’t fight them with stick, use your head
Tear a few holes in their wallets and pockets
Take their silver and gold, lock it
Cos they don’t feel the pain of the metal piercing
But they will when they can’t pay for new diamond earrings versions
Vic Mensa x Time is Money
Only if we could bring our dreams into fruition
Get up off our asses and stop wishing
That an elf from the hills will come and do the dishes
Stop being snakes and use our tongues for more than just hissing
Stop making noise, pay attention and listen.
Realize the weird lies and see through they mission
Growth is more than just having the vision
Realize the division
Between talk and wisdom
Create synergy between thoughts and action
Become positive and persue passion
Then we could create something worth having.
If it is that easy why has it gone so wrong?
Why has the solution eluded us for so long?
Why am I asking these questions?
We all took the class but ignored the lesson
Brought the ice out and expected it not to lessen
Narcissus, all we do is watch
As time passes by but action never stops
Hands move to indicate the past
And remind that the future is all that we have.
Too obvious to notice
Fatal to ignore
Dreams are only alive as long as we snore.