No one probably noticed but DUST LYVE is no longer on air. It was great fun sharing music from Ghana and the worldwide underground every week, but I needed to scale back a little, part of which involved reclaiming my Sunday nights.
I may or may not return but, in the meantime, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to resurrect my occasional list of songs I’m enjoying. At least while I work on the (long overdue) ‘cast.
So (in no particular order) here goes.
Jai Paul – Jasmine
It’s been interesting following the hype around Jai Paul. Not sure whether it was my brother or Jason Nicco-Annan who hipped me to him first but his ‘leaked’ album is often blinding and this broody track is my favourite… this week. In previous weeks, it’s been BTSTU, Genevieve, Str8 Outta Mumbai, his bananas remake of Jennifer Paige’s ‘Crush’…
I could go on.
Kyekyeku feat. Koo Nimo – Pay Me (Friday Night)
Bra Kyekyeku has showed promise for years as one of Ghana’s most visible session guitarists and it pays off beautifully on this track. More than just being original palm wine highlife, it is also old school versus new with the presence of the master himself, Koo Nimo. It doesn’t hurt that the lyrics remind me of Kay Ara’s (DJ Juls-produced) ‘Me Dough‘. Between that track and this one, I might have to start a soundtrack of songs to play while debt-collecting.
Show Dem Camp feat. Boj & Poe – Feel Alright
Yet another DJ Juls classic. Juls, man… As far as I’m concerned, Juls is King. The mixtapes. The remixes. I could go on and on. I’ve felt honoured watching him grow into his craft. The track – ably flowed over by Nigerian outfit SDC – pops up in My Africa Is’ video on Kunle Adeyemi‘s Floating School.
D.E.M – Nya Asem Hwe
I’ve been helping out a budding community of beatmakers at Ashesi. I keep throwing old highlife songs at them in the hope that they can take them and run with them the way Anansi and Juls do. It’s come together nicely in the form of this beat by D.E.M. Every time I listen to it, I feel like a proud father. Not happy to stick with music alone, Edem also recently wrote a rather brilliant piece of flash fiction. Must be in the genes, given that he is brother to rising sci-fi star, Jonathan.
The Album Leaf – The Light
My girlfriend introduced me to this instrumental group. I kept getting stuck on this beautiful, beautiful track and was later surprised to hear it pop up in the TV show, Scandal: it’s the song that plays whenever Olivia has a moment with Fitz. The song thankfully lacks any of the latter’s annoyances.
Bad Boy Steelo & Yaw P – N’agba (Problems)
The dance-leaning duo from XFM turn their attention to dubstep. Like DJ BBrave of AkwaabaMusic – where I heard it first – I’m a big fan of this. Plus it mixes beautifully with that dubstep remix of the FOKN Bois ‘Lungu Lungu’. Ghana is definitely not all about azonto and I love our increasing musical diversity.
I just wish the radio stations had the balls to play everything instead of focusing on the famous few. Grrrr.
Yuna – Let Love Come Through
When I first heard Yuna‘s ‘Live Your Life‘, I flipped. Dope life-lesson filled lyrics over a beat by man of the moment, Pharrell Williams (who has his paw prints over two or three tracks in the Top Ten right now). I thought the album was a bit of a throwaway though. Leaning more towards a breezy pop sound, I think it needed a light dash of the kind of hiphop that Pharrell specializes in. ‘Let Love Come Through’ is a return to that formula and a return to form. “That’s how we do. / Live a little let a little love come through…”
Sums up much of my approach to life, really.
J Cole – Cousins
I’m yet to listen to Born Sinner (and compare it to Yeezus) but this track from his Truly Yours 2 mixtape is the realness. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like for an artist to achieve success and start getting pressure from family and friends, this may answer your questions. Cole deserves to shine but – as Musa Okwonga hilariously pointed out – he’d better hurry up before Jay Electronica comes out.
NEXT Collective – No Church in the Wild
I gave a talk at SOS once, and my (very cool) walk-on music was ‘No Church in the Wild’, in reference to (my blog post about) my first class in Ashesi in which I used the song as a text. I picked up this jazz remix on the mighty Soulbounce. Just like the writers on that website, I find most jazz remixes too smooth for my liking (hello Hidden Beach). But this? This sounds like Jay & Ye as interpreted by Davis and Coltrane. If you prefer Kenny G over this, let’s please never get into a discussion about jazz. Let’s spare each other the agony.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Same Love
Having given up on TV (unless its downloaded), I missed the boat on the brilliance that is Macklemore‘s Thrift Shop, and it took a more than a little pressure from DJ K3V before I corrected my mistake. Dr. Mack’s got skills but what impresses me the most about his album is that its filled with positive messages and depth. ‘Same Love’ is a great example of this, perfectly capturing a message on homosexuality that is often missed not just in Ghana (though particularly in Ghana) but the world over.
Tawiah – Freedom Drop
Tawiah’s mixtape is all kinds of nice. She has loomed large on my radar ever since I was a young DJ in London peddling in underground musical goodness. There are so many lesser artists who have blown up in the interim: the universe had better give Tawiah the same shine. Her talent deserves it and it shines here. Download it for free here & download her last mixtape, ‘In Jodi’s Bedroom’ while you’re at it.
Big KRIT – Banana Clip Theory
My friend Frankie schooled me to Big KRIT a few years ago. I wasn’t as convinced by him as I was by Kendrick & Cole, but there are several moments on his recent (as usual self produced) mixtape where it all comes together, and this jazzy track is one of them. It’s almost as good as ‘Red Eye‘, which – for me – was a perfect example of hiphop at its most reflective and sublime.
Foreign Beggars – Loose on the Leaves/Stresses Pt. II
Yep. There is a new Foreign Beggars album out soon and my brother has been kind enough to give me a pre-listen (sorry folks: not sharing). I’m still not over ‘Amen‘ and their collab with Donaeo, ‘Flying to Mars‘ from the last album, but these are my favourite tracks so far. Metropolis tears up those uptempo tracks, but I love hearing him most over subdued beats like these.
That’s all folks. I’m curious though: what songs are you feeling right now? Especially if it’s off the beaten track, I’d be grateful for the knowledge: you probably know something I don’t.