Once more, it’s been more than a minute since I did one of these. No promises, but I will try to be more regular with them. In no particular order, here are the tracks I currently have in constant rotation.
1. Sarkodie & Jayso (TMG) – Pizza & Burger
I think Sarkodie is a genius. Really. He doesn’t always pick beats that set my radio on fire, but on lyrics? I don’t think there is anyone in Ghana touching him. Besides actually sounding Ghanaian, his lyrics are almost always sensible, his subject matter is always relevant and no one does subtle popular culture commentary like Sarkodie, as evidenced on this track. Even his English flow is improving. Throw in Jayso (the man and the motivator of artists/producers the likes of EL, Paapa, Krinkman, Ball J and more) on rhymes and production here and you have something that sounds pretty fresh.
2. Robert Glasper feat. Bilal – Letter to Hermoine
I have been playing this since before my recent trip to South Africa for OpenForum and while I was there, it was on repeat. The entire Black Radio album is classic, as far as I’m concerned. Not to state the obvious, but David Bowie (he did the original)’s songwriting is incredible. Just a beautiful, real, honest track. It’s rare that I hear this kind of sentiment from male writers. Glasper can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned and when he joins forces with Bilal? To quote the recent Batman movie, “…you are in for a show tonight, son”
3. Lady J (feat. EL) – Monkey Money
Argh! I’ve been waiting for Lady to drop something for a minute. She finally does & it’s a nice slice of azonto fun featuring one of top three Ghanaian MCs, EL (who I’m still convinced should form a supergroup with Sarkodie and Yaa Pono). Lady sounds FIERCE in the middle of this: ei. Now waiting for her to drop ‘Turn the Bass Up’ now, something she’s been cooking up with ART’s Sewor Okudzeto that isn’t even finished yet but already sounds dope, partly because of a nice azonto-inspired bassline and a Boney M-improved style rap by none other than Sewor himself.
4. Kankam – Me Kon Ado Bebi
Someone in his twenties making afrobeat that sounds like it could fit right into the 1970s? In Twi? Right up my street. I predict big things for Steve Kankam. Big tune.
5. Kendrick Lamar – Swimming Pools (Drank)
More than his flow, what I think sets Kendrick apart from his peers is his imagination. That’s what draws me to his sound. Here, he has a conversation with his subconscious as the latter tries to tempt him to drink. Most rappers would just name check whatever alcoholic product their favourite rapper says is hot. That is the difference between Kendrick and other rappers.
6. Nas – Stay
Nas’ entire Life is Good album is in heavy rotation and is – to me – his best album since his first album. I am enjoying it more than I enjoyed Stillmatic and – at last – his beats are as good as his rhymes across an entire album. Nas always has dope verses – standard – but, besides his singles, I am often underwhelmed by his choice of beats (same goes for Talib Kweli come to think of it). Not here. He should work with the beat beast that is Salaam Remi more often.
7. Delilah – Love Drug
Delilah popped up on my radar most recently with her scorching hot (without being uncreative) video for her remake of Roberta Flack’s classic, ‘Inside of Me’. YFM’s DJ Vision hooked me up with her EP 2-4am. Eight tracks of moody pop music at its finest. Highly recommended.
8. Foreign Beggars feat. Donaeo – Flying to Mars
Yep. Freshly signed to Dedmau5’s Mau5trap records, my brother’s group enlists the help of another diaspora Ghanaian, Donaeo to breathe life into what I think is their second preview single ahead of the release of their new album later this year.
9. Villy – Follo Follo
More afrobeat. Golda Addo introduced me to this new artist coming soon out of Nigeria. I don’t know much about him besides the fact that I like his voice and energy a lot, and this tune is a banger.
10. Frank Ocean – Bad Religion / Pink Matter
The man everyone was talking about last month for both the wrong and right reasons. My friend, Daniel, recently wrote a blog post in which he mentions how ‘Bad Religion’ strays from being just another formulaic song and I completely agree. I cannot choose between this and ‘Pink Matter’ though, for one reason: Andre 3000. I cannot wait until the man drops another album (that goes both for Ocean and 3000).
Been listening to ‘Thinking About You’ a lot too… For entirely different reasons.
11. Phantom Lover feat. Jesse Boykins III – Subtle
Thanks to Mantse from accra[dot]alt for hooking me up with this one. Boykins seems to be the go-to guy for sparse, beat driven moody soul at the moment.
12. Boss – Make You Feel My Love
I LOVE Maria Bossman. Alongside Efya and Lady J, she is currently my favourite Ghanaian songstress. She reminds me of Tawiah (a good thing) and I always listen out for her accapella remakes. This is her version of an Adele joint. Watch this young lady.
… and there you have it. If you want to hear me play them on radio, tune in to DUST LYVE on YFM (107.9 on your dial) this and every Sunday from 9pm to midnight.