Rapper Sarkodie published his fourth studio album September 12 last year. Co-written and produced by label-mate Akwaboah Jnr, Mary is widely touted as his most artistic body of work till date. We sample a few of the songs off the project:
Our grandmothers are our first love, in the final analysis. Mary (SarkCess, 2015) is a tribute album dedicated to the memory of his grandmother, Mary Lokko who had always asked for an album like this. Recorded entirely live, the project is, without doubt, the most tasking thing Sarkodie has ventured creatively. It also ends up symbolizing what a well-rounded artiste he’s evolved into.
Mary is such a joy to listen to, perhaps because it is filled with some of the most beautiful romance conversations associated to the rapper –more so because of the title track.
Performed entirely in his native Twi, and riding on nostalgic guitar strings, this gentle highlife song is life. It’s pensive and gentle, and the first verse is some of he best singing the rapper has ever done. In elegant austerity and poetic language, he reconstructs the imagery of the countryside love affair; picturesque and genuine —“Adutwumwaa, your nose captivates me, when you kiss me, my idiocy arrives”.
Nothing fancy, just plain old village love that tolerates whatever amount of replay it’s exposed to –and that makes a good song, a great song by any index.
Mewu (ft. Akaboah): Mewu is the first single off the CD, which was released September 2015, and sets the air for album. Borne in traditional adowa rhythm which also counts as highlife, Mewu discusses the temperament of the one who misses his lover; “Flying bird, tell my lover that if she does not return, I will die a miserable death, and it will be on her”, label mate Akwaboah croons in the hook.
Rhythm thus (I’ve concluded), is best suited for Sarkodie’s kind of rap, for they complement each other like lovers. Mewu is one of the best off Mary, one of the best from Sarkodie.
Edwom tesen: Because of the keyboard progression, it reminds you of U Go Kill Me, only this one is multifarious, fuller. This is what live band can create. This re-enactment of azonto era is exquisite. Period.
This lively record addresses idle gossip, which is a recurrent subject in Sarkodie’s creations. Edwom tesen is Twi for “ how are sales”, which is what you would ask the blabbermouth who peddles tittle-tattle about you.
When Sarkodie ridicules detractors engaged in such business, it’s entertaining, because Sarkodie’s wits are high, and his words suggest someone who’s exceptionally observant.
Bra (ft. Pat Thomas): Also off the Mary album, which might not be the most commercially viable project he’s done (albeit the most arty), Bra features highlife great Pat Thomas, whose voice, a delightful silk, has hardly blemished over several decades.
Bra could translate as “come”, or “ return”, depending on the circumstance. On Mary, it’s also endless adulation of a soul mate, and Sarkodie has the words; “your love has gotten me insane, your love has blinded me”, he confesses as soon as the song starts, and the song pours with such quintessential flattery, in English or in Twi; “ take my hand, let’s play, and have my child”, “I’m yours, do with me what you please”, “ your love is remedy for the cold weather” “follow me to paradise /I can see the future when I look into your eyes”, “your love is all I need”, and so on.
On his latest album Mary, for instance, Sarkodie has proven that he’s as versatile as can get—he is capable of creating commercial masterpieces, as he possesses the skill set for making interior art. That is Sarkodie for you –a master of much.
Always on My Mind (ft. Obrafour): Hiplife legend Obrafour is godfather and constant collaborator for the BET Award laureate. Always on My Mind shuffles between highlife and adowa rhythm. Obrafour is Midas material on any day, and the melody in the chorus he croons, as well as an extra verse he offers, is testament to that. The song is gentle and affective, and bears especially heartwarming longevity, which is rare in the music of today. Indeed, the whole of Mary is, and that’s a refreshing quality.
Recorded over two years (2013-2015), Mary follows the highly successful Sarkology (January 2014), and saw appearances from Akwaboah, Efya, Mugeez, Obrafour and Chase.
What are your favourite songs off Mary?