Artiste: Okyeame Kwame ft. Nero X
Song: It’s OK
Label: One Mic Entertainment
Album: Made in Ghana (yet to be released)
Three things are happening on Okyeame Kwame’s ‘It’s OK’. One – sensational street gospel mogul, Nero X is picking up from where he finished on ‘Osey’, ‘Handkerchief’, ‘Hosanna’ etc. He is responding to the call to inspiring mankind and honoring God through the art. Two – a group of instrumentalists are bringing to life the feel of rhythm, groove, and soothing melodies. I am not spending a second to comment on the horns and lead guitars in this song. It is a discussion we can’t finish. Three – your best rapper alive is serving you a delicacy of hope. He brings to the table a song designed to make you shake your problems off. I say don’t give up, make you never worry. It’s OK! Hwɛ na gye w’ani, ate? Mɛmma awerɛhow nnhyɛ wo do ai? You for happy yourself oo, my brother, my sister. Everything’s go be alright.
What is being said on this record probably has been said before. From the orgasmic, all-time groundbreaking hip hop song ‘Woso’ in 2009, ‘Try Another Time” in 2013 to ‘It’s Your Time’ in 2014, and 2016 banger ‘Hallelujah’, these songs and more have kept our chins up in a way that made life more meaningful. This new one is a reincarnation.
But the difference is that, on this song he’s not your best rapper. That is the idea, apparently. What he seeks to achieve is what music itself has always wanted to – to teach, edify, inspire, and tell you things life itself won’t teach you. Well, that’s OK.
This song is for people who have lost connection with life: the deserted, the dejected, the distressed, the devastated and the disappointed. It’s not for everyone. Nothing is for everyone.
But the nostalgic feeling of enunciated post-independence High Life intertwined with modern synthesizers is for everyone. That is how the song gets to you. It employs elements that make both the young and old tap their feet to the rhythm. Peewezel creates a typical classical hip life beat from a fusion of highlife guitars, brass horns married with hard hitting hip hop drums. So what you get is a mature, but trendy feeling. A classical one!
For anyone listening, you can infer that Okyeame has gained dominance over the production of live recorded music; a thing much to be desired by the average musician.
Although coming from a pop rapper and expected to be braggy, although bearing the name of the rapper by semantics, although created on a beat that is energic, the least he does is to centre the song on himself. ‘It’s OK’ is not about OK. It about anyone but himself. This song is about you…it’s about life that needs to be invigorated.
It’s about the life of the average person described in a metaphoric representation in the character of ‘Kofi Papa’. This is a person of every home. He is unable to fit into society because his problems overwhelm him:
Woatwa apio half agu wo problem so, Nanso still ogusuaa rehaw Woasan atwitwa half aka ho sɛ ɛnte woaniso Nanso still eguso aa retaa wo
Irrespective of how you regard Kwame as a linguist; by virtue of his educational background in the field or as suggested by his ‘Okyeame’ name, he is that rapper whose prowess over language makes a firm bridge. The semantics of incorporating his name into the song’s title, his application of variety, the multilingual diversity with the use of English, Twi, Ga and Pidgin, his enviable use of end rhyme schemes…all the creativity puts this song ahead of many.
Not to say one should stand at the receiving end of life’s punches in a flawless defeat, the rapper innoculates in us a sense of retaliation to the negativities that befall us. Like the popular axiom entreats us to grab the bull by its horn, “Ɔbra bɔ wo a, bɔ ne bi” reiterates this with a pun on ‘Abrabɔ‘ (life) and ‘ɔbra bɔ’ (life beats).
Ɔbra bɔ wo a, bɔ ne bi Teatea no, tiatia no Keka no, prepra no Nnyeegyaa no It’s OK!
On this song there’s a rebirth of hope, highlighted in what ink and papyrus cannot write; only the heart can beat to. The hard times of today sweep our joy under the carpet so pathetically that we can only cheer ourselves up and on. Hope finally comes to distressed! The didacticism of this theme is so thick that you can cut with a knife.
Worry, don’t worry Tell no man your story After he will say ‘sorry’ Ɔde wasem bɛkɔ akɔ tena baabi akɔka It’s OK!
At the time when trendy songs have dominated the playlists and we find an avalanche of fast-food music, we can at least find solace with this rapper. At the time when Ghana and Africa at large are experiencing poor quality of life in the midst of tumultuous maladministration by governments, we can at least find solace with this song.
Okyeame Kwame’s music goes ahead of himself. He is making songs that are more popular than himself. This one too, like I said bursts your bubble by denying you the feeling of craze. It rather gets you musing. You will find your hand sitting on your chest and saying to yourself, ‘All is well, IT’S OK!”
Today’s woman favors the less invasive approaches to life. She patronizes food that cooks in three minutes, a relationship without commitment and a frivolous life that is broadcast on Snapchat. True womanhood is nearing extinction. The next generation will be tempted to liken virtue to the existence of dinosaurs – both never existed. It is not wholly because we never had noble women, but also because we probably never heard of them.
The personality of wife of Okyeame Kwame, Annica Nsiah-Apau nucleates a befitting definition of what it takes to be an ideal woman. My admiration for her is rooted in respect for her intellect, hospitality and audacity; yet bottled-up in coyness.
In any normal instance, we would compare her to another person of her league – side by side. But this is not a normal instance. Such contrast will lack purpose, because this person in our spot light is one in a million.
Looks – check! Brains – check! Swag – check!
Here is a true picture of Okyeame Kwame’s successes: there’s an adorable puppet clothed in white with a touch of kente going about with class and receiving honors as ‘Best Rapper Alive’. And there’s a puppeteer behind closed doors pulling strings to move this marionette and most importantly building its trademark in the most expensive way.
Her role as the Personal, Business and Brands Manager for the award-winning versatile rapper has been founded on principles that rids his craft (although secular) of the filth, indecency, foul-play, inconsistencies and unprofessionalism. Annica redefines the laws of the game.
Okyeameyere, as I affectionately call her was born to parents who brought up their six children with both a heavy hand and a comforting bosom. She spent her formative years in Akosombo where she started basic education. After completing Osei Kyiretwie Senior High School (OKESS), she was admitted to KNUST where she graduated with a BA. Hons. in Law in 2005.
As a visionary and a selfless woman who envisaged a more successful music career for her husband, she returned in 2009 to pursue a Master’s Degree in Marketing, specializing in Brand Architecture.
At 32, this wife who is also a mother of two can beat her chest and boast of solidifying one of the enviable brands for an artiste in Africa. Annica will go to the moon and back to get things done. Her passion-driven urge to stand out pounds in her heart. You could feel her palpitate it. It’s her tell. ‘This is a no-brainer’, she would scoff.
See how I have avoided the ‘behind every successful man…’ cliché?
As much as we adore the entertainer, we need to celebrate the big head that is calling the shots. And in the words of a proud husband, ‘she does the work and I take the awards ‘. Kwame’s face will beam with extra pride, saying this. But the overly productive boss who insists on keeping a low-profile will deflect the praise to her management team.
What is more stimulating is how she deals with all persons on an equal playing field. When a woman with such influence lives by the code that ‘may the best logic win’, it tells of a person whose reverence for others transcends beyond the standards.
She currently is the General Manger for Firm Bridges Communication, a brand architecture firm with special interest in marketing and strategy building.
As a law school graduate, she has practiced as a legal advisor for the Guinness Ghana Brewery Limited and later worked as a legal assistant at the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly. Word on the streets is that her achievements in these capacities remain insurmountable. In 2012-2014, she worked with consumer goods production giant, Unilever Ghana Limited as Employer Brand Specialist.
What women of Annica’s caliber bring to a man’s table is a feeling of accomplishment. Can we, with one accord, admit she’s that ‘psychologist’, ‘economist’, ‘rhymatologist’ in Okyeame Kwame’s ‘Faithful’ song?
Okyeame Admires Annica, as she flaunts a pretty self
Her destiny to become a prolific career woman, a result-oriented leader was non negotiable – for she was an avid reader. The tales told about her insatiable desire to cling to book are both amusing and stunning.
If there’s anything I have earnestly wished for, anything the world has longed for, anything a man will die for, any entrepreneur an organization will want to associate with, a mother Earth has always been envious of, a woman who turns heads, one who exudes modesty from her being… it is a woman like Annica Nsiah-Apau.
The 2016 edition of Ghana Teen Choice awards was held at the World Trade Centre in Accra last Saturday.
The event which is organized annually by The Silver Network to celebrate teen excellence and personalities who influence the teen World in Ghana was heavily attended by an array of celebrities, Ghanaian teens and parents.
This year’s event saw celebrities such as award winning actor, Van Vicker, celebrated teen super star, Abraham Attah and his buddy Striker from the “Beast of No Nation Movie”, 2016 VGMA Artiste of the Year, EL, Hosts of various tv shows and members of the Ghana Teen Choice Awards Board, Fred Baa, Prisca Aryeh, Kulaperry and Serwaa Amihere.
Awards were presented to 21 deserving personalities and institutions at the event, 16 of which went to Ghanaian teens and 4 to personalities who influence teenagers in Ghana. Adisadel College was awarded the best school for 2016.
Please see below the full list of winners on the event night.
Ultimate Choice Artiste – EL
Ultimate Choice Movie Star – Abraham Attah
Ultimate Choice TV Series – YOLO
Ultimate Choice School – Adisadel College
Ultimate Choice Comedian – Nkansa Lil win
Honorary Award for Student Excellence – Jessica Quaye
Ultimate Choice Teen – Presider
Choice Artiste – Mhizzed Khall
Choice Dance Act – Swag Unit
Choice Music Group – Swag Ville
Choice Spartan – Natasha Tetteh
Choice Blogger – Realiteen
Choice Model – Alex
Choice Clique – 6Sides
Choice Apparel – KTL
Choice Photographer – Dwezzy
Choice Hottie Female – Tysha
Choice Hottie Male – Graham
Choice Fashionista Male – Baron Slanzy
Choice Fashionista Female – Tracey
Organizers of the Ghana Tertiary Awards have pushed forward the official close of nominations entries to July 31, 2016.
A statement from the organisers, Youth Web Group, said the closing date for the awards which was originally scheduled for the 31st of August, 2016, has now been shifted forward to enable the Board have enough time for the selection process.
The change in date is also to enable the Board “critically access and have proper background investigations on all the 17,495 students who applied for the Ghana Tertiary Awards 2016 Festival as compared to the 1,468 students who applied last year.”
“The Board will sit from the 1st of August, 2016 to the 18th of August 2016 so that the official release of Nominees will be done on the19th of August 2016 at the Airport West Hotel,” the statement added.
The organisers have further expressed their gratitude to all the17,495 students out of the 315,000 Tertiary Students who have applied so far and encouraged the rest to pick their nomination forms within the remaining days.
This year’s Ghana Tertiary Awards is under the theme: “Young People and Tertiary Students for a peaceful and credible election 2016 Experience”.
The aim of the awards scheme is to inspire lifelong learning, advance knowledge, and strengthen Ghana’s education system.
It is also meant to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them good values.
OK, imagine something unusual. Imagine the product of a fusion of the young and old. Imagine something that is both godly and ungodly. Imagine a cocktail of all the ingredients that make up a thrilling song. Imagine a song that is both commercially viable and inspiring. Think of a song that leaves the club on Saturday night and goes into the church on Sunday morning without guilt. Like a stone that kills two birds.
That is not hypocrisy. It is called capriciousness. Kwame Nsiah Apau has a better word: ‘versatility’. It is what Hallelujah is. This stone kills three birds, actually. It is Gospel and Azonto and Hiplife.
The song is an autobiographical account of the rapper’s musical career, recounting how successful he’s been in the past two decades. We may not have read if he wrote it, so he makes a song out of it. The import is to credit his successes to God, to whom he says ‘Hallelujah’. It’s remarkable how Okyeame Kwame boils a complete story in the four minute record. This song checks all my boxes! It will break grounds. Let’s bet!
The beat is unfamiliar, because it is meant for Okyeame Kwame. He’s never done anything above the speed of a standard highlife tune. He’s never got close to anything that makes you want to dance with so much energy. Hallelujah beats the odds, the way Abochi beats the percussions.
The song ideally is meant for reflection in solitude. A chronicle of a person’s life would have been created in a way that would be soaked in silence. But the producer insists on making us dance, regardless.
Like all others and the ones yet to come, this one too is excellent in composition, vocal delivery, and instrumentation, particularly. The sounds makes a very, very heavy pound. Everything is happening at a time, right from the word ‘go!’
The percussions are played in their totality with a perfect compensation from the keyboard, the bass guitar and the folk instrumentation that is introduced at the ‘jama’ session. Plus those well-timed drum rolls make the song sound like the kind of praises we do on 31st Night services. Listen also for the whistle of a piccolo. You can’t ignore it.
The electric guitar melody running at the sides is inviting. You could feel those six strings entangle and move you around, dancing like a puppet at the mercies of a puppeteer. And you can’t help it, especially at the beginning.
At this point of Kwame’s career, what more can he ask? Abraham Harold Marslow, an American psychologist in this theory of needs, explains that the highest need is self-actualisation; the stage where a person realises his personal potentials and self-fulfilment. At the climax of Okyeame’s business, he feels accomplished. We kind of concur, for it’s undebatable. After all, he’s a happy family man with more than enough to put on the table, a musician with enough plaques to show on his shelves, a man carrying a soul with enough good deeds to show his creator. And he’s got a beautiful wife to go back home to.
This is a life the angels will be proud of. And Hallelujah is a song they will dance to, too. It is coming from a grateful heart.
His prosperous life is well exemplified in the music video. It opens with a display of thumbnails of scenes to typify his luxury, a healthy lifestyle and fun-filled moments. He cruises in a brand-new Rolls-Royce Phantom, he’s got some enviable regalia to showcase, he’s cladding in expensive outfits, he treks around, enjoying the services of a personal guard and becomes the talk of town. The women adore his splendour. It’s set, indeed!
Ofori Ankah Kofi, who directed the visuals presents the piece in all the quality it deserves. The location, Holy Trinity Spa makes a befitting setting with its serene atmosphere. Here’s where Abochi is introduced.
But this Abochi guy, really is a force to reckon with. The way he cunningly grabs attention with his first official appearance is intriguing. He possess this kind of charm that appeals to everyone. On Hallelujah, his voice is luring, in the way he sings on a baritone note and backs with a tenor. It makes up for Okyeame who doesn’t have a very good voice. His diction is relatable, too. He enters with the chorus:
Wɔnto ma no ɛ, Hallelujah
Praise the Lord, Hallelujah
Thanks for the good you’ve been doing to me
Awurade a na w’ama me asɛ bi
Okyeame Kwame became prominent in the late 90s as one half of the defunct hip-life group Akyeame. He mentions their historical performance at the world famous Apollo Theatre in New York, the Constitution Hall in Washington DC and finally STRATSFORD Rex, London. During the period they released four albums: Nyansapo in 1997, Nkonsonkonson in 1998, Ntoaso in 2000 and Apam Foforo in 2002.
Their songs ‘Ma San Aba’, ‘Menko Meda’ among others become street anthems. They won the GMA Artiste of Year Award in 1999 together with Hiplife Song of the year, Song of the year and Video of the year. They enjoyed six years of success until their breakaway in 2003.
It is worth noting how Kwame recounts these moments and acknowledges his colleague in the statement:
Ankyɛ Fan town na mehyia Okyeame Quophi
Vim ɛne raps deɛ na abranteɛ yi wo bi
Neɛma asesa deɛ nso nyɛ ade a mewerɛ fi
Me kae sɛ me hunu ɔka me ho a mɛdru akyiri
Here is an awesome display of the attitude of gratitude.
Kwame released his first solo album “Boshe Ba” (Promised Child) in 2004, just after the breakup of the Akyeame band. He followed in 2008 with “Manwesem” (My Poetry) and in 2011 with “The Clinic”. Since then, local and international stages have carried his weight. Global audiences have been electrified by his craft. So in the words “Hiplife yɛ me dea” he claims ownership of the art. I am not saying this, neither am I resurrecting an old argument. It’s in the song!
The Rap Doctor’s application of language is unrivaled. He stuffs the song with rhymes, simile, metaphor. As is usual of him, he does not spare us his rap showmanship. In his second verse, the rapper breathlessly juggles thirty eight words in a time space of 8 seconds:
Afei me ride passe pɛ amanfoɔ se Kwame rapi
Hwɛ gyidi na Kwame baako pɛ
Mennsuro biara na makɔtɛ
Barbiara na me paapi
Rapper Dacta na clappi
Y’ɛhyɛ aseɛ beef Okraku Mantey na ɔde Lord Kenya bɛ tackie
Here’s where he sounds like bass drums and snare kicks played in quick succession. This thing runs in the family. Don’t try this at home!
It is now evident the kind of course BRA Kwame is chattering for his music craft, and in subsequent releases we expect such similar work of inspiration. ‘Woso’, ‘Try Another Time’, ‘Sika’ were released to either educate, motivate, inspire or advise. This one too is toeing the same line.
You’ve been trying to win in this game forever
And you feel you are under pressure
Listen to my story and know that with God by your side
Everything will be ok, It’s OK
I have mentioned elsewhere that we can’t find enough plaques to honour a talented player of Okyeame’s calibre. He has walked a journey of the legends. He has lived the life of a maestro. Forty years is a big deal and to have spent half of it on an enviable career is a long way coming. What more can he say but ‘Hallelujah’?
By Patrick Fynn
Follow the author on Twitter: @PatrickFynn