Eboo steps into the focus of Director OJ’s RED with routine confidence — grey bleach accentuating his high taper fade haircut. This is the first time in seven years he is shooting a music video — or publishing any music for that matter, but it doesn’t show at all. Donning a bright-blue summer shirt over yellow khaki shorts and Adidas sneakers, he is the centre of attraction — being beheld by everyone and everything: OJ’s lens, the crew, passers-by, and mid-morning sunlight.
Honey, the 2010 Kaywa-produced paragon featuring rapper FlowKing Stone, would prove to be his last submission for a significant while. Serving as OJ’s directorial debut, the song, like his breakout hit Once/Twice (2005), is a true Ghanaian classic, and remains among key songs which have served as template for Ghanaian reggae-dancehall in this millennium. Eboo gets painfully little recognition for the creative foresight he displays on both songs. Yet, observe carefully, and you’ll find that even then, his music contained elements of what we now term as “Afrobeats”.
But Eboo is an outcast, and outcasts aren’t usually recipients of praise until it’s nearly too late. While his peers did hiplife, he stuck to island rhythm, and prevailed. Proof? Put on Once/ Twice.
Eboo took a break from music to finish school and start a family. And while he did these, music lovers consoled themselves singing the choruses of his songs with heavy nostalgia, hoping that one day, Eboo would return.
Prayers do get answered. A month ago, the singer announced his resurgence, with rapidly permeating joints as Good Life, Nonstop, and Bad Girl. More singles are scheduled in coming weeks, before the album is ultimately released. Titled Good Life, the project consists a whopping 21 songs.
An August 4 listening session held at the Africa Regent Hotel and hosted by broadcaster Jay Foley was attended by top connoisseurs: EIB Network execs Bola Ray and Klaus Von Bakustein, music promoter Dr. Duncan, journalist Francis Doku, veteran producer Kwik Action, celebrated video Director OJ, Happy FM’s Dr. Cann, etc. That is how seriously Eboo’s music is taken.
He is among a handful of acts whose music meet multiple purposes. They work perfectly as club anthems, but are also constructed to appeal to passionate emotions just as well. How does he achieve this? A combination of factors: for one thing, his songwriting is unpretentious, hence easily relatable. Also, his vocal technique, especially when he ad-libs, oozes with a vulnerability that instantly captivates you. Finally, his idols: Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Steel Pulse, Burning Spear. These are among history’s most trusted melody gods.
In-between takes at the Capital Hill Hotel that evening, Bad Girl thunders out of huge speakers in the sports pub. Everybody is beat, and resting for a bit, but still nodding/ swaying to the jam. Eboo stands in the middle of the room, possessed by the very melody that he himself has composed. It is not entirely shocking…his song “Good Life” is his ringtone. Gesticulating with his fingers, he performs to an imaginary woman: “all the times I stayed out late, I did it just for you“, he cries, pointing to the air in front of him. Such is the feature of a true artist — wearing his emotions on the sleeves of his blue denim button- down.
A similar demeanour is observed at various other locations all through the day — up a porch in front of the historic and magnificent Cape Coast Castle in the Central Region, or a blue gate directly facing it, in the lungus close-by, or up a breezy roof further down.
“Good Life” is essentially Eboo’s debut album, and that might come as a shocker to many, judging by the sheer impact of his sound. As was the case when he first stormed unto the scenes, an earthquake is imminent. Not unexpectedly, it is entirely themed on affection and an overall positive vibe. “We’ve been through everything, and now it’s time for the good life”, he explains as the motive behind the album name.
Born on December 15 in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, Eboo (Jehovah is My Refuge) describes his life as one dedicated to music. He started music at the tender age of twelve (12), and has hardly looked back ever since.