Like the imprint handling him now, singer Kurl Songx’s Jennifer Lomotey strikes you in a manner that is truly “highly spiritual”. It’s highlife alright – the one true conduit of the Ghanaian love speech – still, it is characterized by incendiary pizzazz which we’ve only seen work with dancehall or hip-hop.
What a way for singer Kurl Songx to state his name! 1st runner-up for Vodafone Icons – Street Edition (2013) and 2016 winner of music reality show MTN Hitmaker, the unassuming chap has stirred vibrations powerful enough to invoke fear and trembling amongst even established acts. Like Bisa KDei did with Mansa and Brother Brother in 2015, Songx’s song is immediately key for the genre, and key among songs of influence in 2017, Taking Over, Sponsor, Bronya, Leg Over etc notwithstanding. Aftershocks of Jennifer Lomotey will be felt for a long long time. Thus is the consequence of fearless creativity.
Indeed, Songx himself may never fully understand what bold statement he has made – how well he has scratched his initials into modern highlife. After all, he merely set out to remember a harmless high school infatuation. Yet, is “ordinary” not vital in spelling “extraordinary”?
Jennifer Lomotey is designed to abide. From title to final note, it is impossible to forget. “The title self dey kill me, confesses a lager enthusiast behind a pot-belly and grams of hops and barley. It is a wild name to call a song, and perhaps Jehoshaphat Eshun (Screwface) was told same when he recorded Gbalagazaa, which ranks among bona fide hits of the 2000s.
The vehemence that this KayWa-engineered jam oozes is as a result of deliberate tailoring. It is why each semitone of the instrumentation embodies rare uniqueness and flavorsome finishing. Like a meal prepared with love, every second of the tune is anticipated with childish delight, because, each moment is filled with uncommon wit.
These meticulously placed components make for exciting little brainteasers too, ensuring that the song lends itself seamlessly to the replay button: that hush is merely a pause, and not conclusion, those punchy drum sequences here aren’t quite the same throughout the song after all.
Nothing less is expected from the Highly Spiritual Music CEO – the celebrated genius who has also brewed hit songs for Sarkodie, Kwabena Kwabena Ofori Amponsah, Ohemaa Mercy, Becca, Castro, Buk Bak, and a host of others. 4-time VGMA Producer of the Year, KayWa, via Jennifer Lomotey, pushes the boundaries of highlife to new scopes — yet again, proving his value to music from these parts. The cadence of the song is established in classic highlife, and those string and percussion placements ensure that the spirit of the melody is back to the good old days. Nevertheless, KayWa’s fingertips sprinkle an essence that is custom-built and truly avant-garde. That is why it will serve as outline for the next phase of the genre.
Notice how the instrumentation is memorized alongside lyric in the song. Notice how the bass guitar hums along to lines from the catchy chorus delivered by Songx. Not many other songs bear this feature.
I give you my heart and my body
Whenever you need love, call me
I go give it to you six in the morning
I be your hobby
I go do anything for your body
These words, which constitute the crust of the chorus, aren’t exactly problematic. They sung with the passionate tenderness of a lover, not a fighter. Hardly the same can be said for Sarkodie though, who possesses one of the most important voices on the continent. It has been the case for well over a decade. Ace broadcaster Nana Aba Anamoah aptly notes of his influence in a July tweet: “Want to go higher? Feature Sarkodie”. Examples abound in and outside the country to justify Nana Aba’s pronouncement.
Recruiting the rap icon also means employing a lyrical beast who is held back by nothing! A true artist, he’s not scared to create discomfort: he’s poked power, and veered into risky terrain like fornication, homosexuality, the Illuminati…Guest verses he has submitted on joints as R2Bees’ Ajeei, Joey B’s Tonga, Ofori Amponsah’s Alewa, because of how border-line coarse innuendoes in these verses have been, they have attracted as much disapproval as they have courted praise. In Jennifer Lomotey, it is these words that have caused public uproar, most notably among Ada youth, who take this line: “Krobonii baa papa a ahweneɛ da ne sisi/ Komfo Anokye de adwaman abɔ no dua” to be a statement of utmost disrespect to their tribe. Proclaiming that a foremost witchdoctor in Ghanaian history has cursed this Krobo woman with promiscuity cannot be taken lightly under any circumstance.
Yet, to Sarkodie, as it should be with all creatives, “taboo topic” is merely an expression. He’s clever, and seemingly emerges unscathed from scandals festered by his bars, every time. Radio smells something fishy with his rhyme for sure, but can’t really do much about it, because the words aren’t necessarily invectives, hence not exactly prohibited.
The lady at the end of both verses that Sarkodie spews, should be shaken, even if it’s love that is being promised. The phraseology through which the rapper conveys his intentions are impish and forward, stimulating and disturbing.
Accompanying visuals had to be just as big, and Songx’s handlers entrusted Gorilla Films’ Justin Campos with that task. Campos is a top name in video directing around the continent, and as expected, he delivers a picture which is top-notch – mainly being led by the punches in the song, and constructing a story through fast cars, club lights and glossy lipstick. Will the video, despite it being shot in sunny South Africa by the great Gorilla Films have as much impact as the song? That is a judgment we can make after a few months at least.
Songx is a determined vocalist, considering the quality of competition he fought off in MTN Hitmaker (where he simply traded by Kelvin): F9, Eugene and Sir Tino. To be under the tutelage of KayWa is extra fortune for anyone. It gives the crooner extra advantage.
Stimulus as is found in Jennifer Lomotey cannot be captured in a single song, and you don’t change a formula that works. Therefore, the pair have swiftly recorded a follow-up.
Titled Whistle and due for release this Saturday, it is also produced by KayWa, and Campos handles accompanying visuals. Songx’s handlers are optimistic of just as much success. And why not? Jennifer Lomotey has opened key doors for the act, and perhaps in this one case, lightening will strike the same place twice.
Kaywa bɔ me piano…