And so now, we receive every new Stonebwoy (usually programmed by producer/ hype man Beatz Dakay) with arms wide open, because over time, brilliance is what we have both come to expect, and what we have been given by them.
For several others, constantly returning to a single soound engeneer spells predictability, which is high-risk in a space saturated with variety. The Ghanaian music lover is charitable, but only to a point. Within weeks, you’ll be left cold on a cold Friday in a quiet room wondering whether you were the same person they were referring to as messiah.
Again, a return to the producer who orchestrated some of your most sparkling hits (it would be inferred) is laziness, a hurdle to creativity, and a desperate grip on past glory.
Therefore, Stonebwoy’s is a curious case. When I hear a Stonebwoy- Dakay pairing, it feels familiar right away, but not in the way I have described early on in this essay — it’s like a weekly boys boys reunion –you bet your last 20 pesewas that Onero will cause explosive laughter with one of his many, many beer testimonies. It is these bouts of laughter we look forward to at our constant sittings. Sure, you can have a drink and a good laugh anywhere, but this one is…this one, you can never really get used to, even if weekly.
Integral to the Stonebwoy- Dakay sound are a militant air (perhaps stirred by special gunshot effects and a drum line you hear more in the walls of your occiput than in your ears, thin- pitch horns programmed on the keyboard, and a bass progression which invokes that specific fear of the eerie sounds of an all-male Catholic choir in a church full of echoes –you’d notice that it is more the echo, and not necessarily their voices, which guides your careful tip-toeing and constant over-the-shoulder glances. And then, of course, there’s also an overall assurance of smooth melody accentuate by his trademark pam-pam sound.
Problem, published September 29, reminds you ( albeit mildly) of other Stonebwoy hits: Baafira, Give it to Dem, Mightylele etc…yet, it stands out too. Again, Stonebwoy proves that you can achieve a successful song even without hurried rhythm. If fact, it is usually rhythm of this pace that stays fresh after any years. It is not like azonto, it’s popularity isn’t that sudden (and perishable); it is organic on the way it grows on you, so much so, you don’t even realize when it becomes a favourite of yours.
Problem is themed around navigating the many complications of wealth. The pre-hook summarizes this:
I get money, I get more problem
Many may many call me, wey tin make I come show them
You get money, you multiply problem…
At this point, we expect to hear nuggets (or reference to, just because…) from Madam Satekla, Stonebwoy’s mum and strength, in every other song he sings.
The song, like many others from him, feels pedestrian, like a freestyle collected off the rush of good studio conversion. He reveals to Live FM’s Berla Mundi months ago, that he doesn’t write anymore, but hops into the booth once he’s inspired. Again, for him specifically, it shows another level of his artistic process; how attentive and connected he is to his creativity, and ultimately, how relatable it makes his sound as he’s drawing from raw emotion in real-time.