While music is one of the truest forms of recording history, it has in recent times not been much of putting things in perspective or chronicling the lives of society. However, on Ko-Jo Cue’s latest effort, he takes up the task of a social commentator and a historian taking you through the 54 minutes album of 15 tracks.
Setting his stories heavily in the palm wine-high life laden rhythms, Ko-Jo starts off taking on the sins (efforts) of the father. Breaking down how the past impacts the future through the stories of fathers with little to no ambition to make life easy for the present generation and those who took the task of fatherhood to heart.
He turns around and poses the question with all the facts now on the table “Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Which Dad You Born ah you go be?” As if the first chapter is not heavy enough to get you thinking through the 1001 decisions that jump at you each day, he introduces the tough love-machismo-fatherly advice against the caring-tender-lesson ridden counsel from a mother on ‘Dua’.
While you start relaxing into the brilliant storytelling reminiscent of Okomfo Kwadee, he pulls up with the question plaguing almost every millennial today; ‘will I ever make it with the 9 to 5 thing or fending for myself is the best way to hit the jackpot?’ Carefully, he paints a contrast between trading dreams for stability and following dreams with no sunny day insight on ‘Workaholic Anonymous’.
‘Boys are not smiling/Make you give us our pay today oh/Boys are not smiling/We dey hustle we no dey play oh’ opens ‘Smiling’ to the perfect bump along to jam that sees Ko-Jo Cue go on a relay race with Wale and Olumide of Show Dem Camp with the blessings of Juls on it!
A.I follows up with a fresh pot of palm wine, possibly pepper soup and the crowd for a sermon at ‘Parliament’. Characteristic of this generation’s life, we are never down despite all the doom and gloom that is life. They provide the best motivation a professional make-it-at-all-cost can relate to.
Curating his features, Cue does a great work of putting together a collective who compliment his scenes, chapters, and verses in a way, that would have been impossible to achieve with any other.
From Lady Donli creating an open field for Show Dem Camp to ride to Maayaa setting the tone for ‘Muddy story’ giving the absentee father to tell his version of the story.
Holding a mirror to an apathetic society that cares little about the responses that come out of ‘how I’m doing?’, Boyd does a good job providing a soundboard for the narration.
‘Loser’ however, opens side B talking about growth, maturity and the winding detours of life- from the all-go-happy-tag-along to a more enlightened-matured-perspective-influenced person the ghost of friends/fans/lover’s past can’t recognize.
And then, the husky-soulful voice appears with ‘Bamba kaskey samana/All these girls want me banana/If eno bi pizza den shawarma/All these stress na me jarafa/Ano bi med for your libido/Me b3 noooooo so limi go/No papping no samana/Me den Adzo kpor we be dope/Wey na dzo/Kaba dzo/Wey na dzo/Time aado’ on Dzo as the first single off the album that has Cue try his best to woo his lover.
As one of the woke artistes around, the album title might be disappointing but ‘From Our Sisters’ provides the chapter for 4 ladies to take turns, talk about the hustle of the woman “The women you praise for their silence gather us round and stack the sum of their voices on our tongues … You’re too busy fiddling with the idea of dominance to witness your sister fighting back the language of shadows… You would’ve gotten away with it too if not for these fucking feminists”.
It comes full circle with “To our father, I wish you taught us differently. See what most of us have become, to my sons, I promise to teach you different so, better men than us, you become. To my brothers, it’s time to think different.”
J.Derobie joins the cast of featured artistes with the love ode, ‘Best Paddies’. Whoever, the girl is, happens to be one lucky one with a body like ‘poetry in motion’.
While the album plays smoothly, it is hardly a breeze through. It is the piece of work that keeps you guessing and thinking of what next is going to jump at you for the first time. For all its lessons and 1001 tales of learning, growing, hustling, struggling, finding peace and living by our own definition on the closing track, ‘Shiii, the Song Pt. 2’, the album departs from the 2019 theme of dancing our way through things into one of the most comprehensive projects in 2019.
On the real though, “Nti 9 to 5 yi ara na yɛ de bɛ si Villagio?”
Source: Abdullah Yusif Mahmud
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