Ebony Reigns (Priscilla Opoku-Kwarteng) possesses an admirable singing quality that takes years to manage.
At 20, she has to her credit four acclaimed efforts, two – Kupe and Poison – of which were for the 2016/2017 season. For a young lady who only set off professionally in May of 2015, it is an enviable feat by a decent stretch.
Kupe and Poison have secured her a place in metropolitan music’s tetchy scene and responsible for the numerous gigging she is enjoying, as well as the heavy press that has followed.
But how she has managed to gain growth in less than 24 months, is what makes her a special case study.
On the back of two initial releases; the Beatz Dakay-produced (One Dread Riddim) Turn on the Light and Dancefloor, she intelligently stormed into a bionetwork whose female population was growing cold feet.
She brought the fire.
Ebony’s whole entry strategy was cooked on her chest. With a pair of tits, and a not-so-visible name in hand, the only way she was going to gain the needed attention in an otherwise blurred setting, was to act naughty. She did. To each of her tits, a responsibility was given. While one tit took care of the boob Quality Inspectors who wondered how less-flattering her twins were, the other – it must be the left one – was subjected to unending debates about whether or not she even had a business residing beneath the neck of a 20-year-old young lady on locks. Out of the pair, a daily career in Ebony boobnomics was created. Where the tits were subjected to merciless cyber battering at the hands of wankers who wanted them perky, she came through for them, declaring full support, and promising to hold them up high – in esteem.
The obsession lives on. Over the last few months, she’s blessed us with Poison – yet her biggest song so far.
Poison brings out the real Ebony. While the oft-bandied suggestion goes that she got her visibility thanks in part to the massive boob roadshow, it is her life in the booth that ultimately wins and brings to the fore, the talent she’s made of.
The creativity in Poison, produced by Michael Boafo (B2), is beautiful; it is loaded with so much rewording, she sells a sexually explicit content in 3 minutes, 42 seconds – and gets away with it. We are all happy in the end. Happy ending.
Ebony is explicit to the core. She is unapologetic about it; in her videos (all directed by Yaw Skyface), she has bra-less boobs on display, gyrates better than your everyday Vanessa Bling and boasts about how her Pum Pum (Jamaican for the female sexual organ) is tighter and fresh. OOOUUU. Ebony plays on words; she drawls her way through suggestive lyrics, and leaves you for dead, only to return and tease you back to life. In Poison, there is a 90s Byad Gal moving away from the Jamaican code-switching experimentation in Turn on the Light and Dancefloor to well-done, toned expressions of sexual prowess. In the end, you are told that what ordinarily sounds like Twi for penis, is not entirely what it is – but something almost – which can also pass for venom if taunted.
There are enough invitations to treat in Poison – there is the vehicle Ebony, and then – the song. Both conspire to deliver a presentation that does justice to a lady’s expression of sexual want (or is it need?) – for a man, so wretched, so feeble. Poison is a complete structure; it is the singing – however – that sets it up high. Swimming through notes only Ebony can deliver, she pitches and winces with a flair that lays credence to – once again – her talent. And even though there are visible, undersupplied bars of rap from featured act Gatdoe, Ebony erases that recall and takes the song home – this time – promising more than just an omelette of naughtiness and cheap ecstasies.
Kupe serves up character Ebony akin to what Poison gives us. Here, there is a woman stressed and losing it over the unavailability of her man and the lack of affection. And when she finally gets hold of him, she gives him the Ebony treatment so potent (Magane Sose), it is also a reminder that she Reigns and has the final say in bed.
Producer Peewezel lays an instrumentation that allows Ebony to launch into her zone; there are lamentations of regret, and deceit, perfectly feeding a storyline best told by a two decade-old lady whose only revenge to a cheating boyfriend is well deserved sex. Really? Who does that? Only Ebony – the Ewurama Badu of the Class of 2015 onwards.
Ebony has improved from when she was nominated in the Unsung category at last year’s Ghana Music Awards. This year, she is up for three awards in the Best New Artiste, Best Reggae/Dancehall Artiste of the Year, Best Reggae/Dancehall Song of the Year (Kupe) categories.
The nominations should further boost her appeal as she goes full throttle. Her upcoming ‘Sponsor’ single with local dancehall god Shatta Wale should be a good addition to her repertoire.
Miss Opoku-Kwarteng should be around for a while; at least for as long as she has more music and tits to give away. A lot is definitely going to happen in between that period. One that we are certain of, is how we may have to wait longer to see whether local music heads will join in on cash-making percussive automated genres.
And when she takes that curve into dominance, the story has to be told that once upon a boob, a young lady hijacked sauciness wholesale and turned it on its head, even without vaunting. That is going to happen. What we don’t expect to hear are sanctimonious labeling of her craft as boob-inspired by self-proclaimed cyber A&Rs who can’t even recognize talent when hand delivered by courier.
Ebony is handled by Rufftown Records, led by Akhan, one half of the music duo Ruff & Smooth.