Song: Date Ur Fada
Label, Year: Rufftown, 2017
The new single from Ebony continues her documentation of the sexual terrain.
On ‘Sponsor’, she was caught between an older man with money and one of those “broke guys” with “lots of energy”. She was the one you can’t let go because of what she does in the bedroom on ‘Poison’. Those songs were controversial mostly because of her image as a sexually confident young woman. With ‘Date Ur Fada’, she is almost wilfully seeking controversy with her lyrics. Already, there are complaints: a relationship counsellor has called her “a disgrace to femininity.”
Perhaps no publicity is bad publicity. And Ebony has herself said her image is no show. “The bad girl brand people see out there is a true representation of me,” she has said. “This is how I have been even before coming into the limelight.”
On other songs, Ebony has been sultry and inviting; she is threatening on ‘Date Ur Fada’. Her opening line—“If you break my heart, I go date your father!”—is dire and direct. Break my heart, she says, and I’ll break up your family.
That’s a rather scandalous sentiment to say aloud. But Ebony’s music is crafted for the confessional age of social media: Her lyrics are salacious; her songs are very danceable; her attitude is incredibly sassy. Ebony is singing songs as much as she’s providing viral content.
This, of course, might lead to her being dismissed as all show, but she’s a talented pop act. While it’s unclear if her songs are written by someone else, she has proven to be a decent interpreter of those lyrics. Though she came on clearly claiming dancehall music on her first single ‘Dancefloor’, she has since shown that her voice is a flexible instrument fitting for the broad field of pop.
Because Ghanaian pop is thought to be conservative, at least compared to Nigerian pop, Ebony might be thought to be quite the alien in her country. Yet, Ghanaian pop has seen its share of sexually bold women in pop, the most prominent in recent times was perhaps MzBel.
Yet the current female pop stars—Becca, Efya to name two—are more prone to talking love and heartbreak or, like, Sister Deborah, cradling crass lyrics in comedy. Becca served some sass on ‘Na Wash’. But she was more or less the commentator. She was watching others. Ebony is both narrator and subject in her videos. Her sass is not limited to her words. Even the production on ‘Date Ur Fada’, heavily percussive, is suggestive.
As a result her popular peers in the contemporary moment are not in Ghana but in Nigeria. On ‘Kupe’, her best song, she cleverly references Davido’s ‘Aiye’—“Me I no like Versace, and I no like designer,” she says—but her directly sexual lyrics elects her to the Tiwa Savage and Seyi Shaysorority.
Ebony is bolder than both on ‘Date Ur Fada’. (It is almost unimaginable to think of either Nigerian act singing these words on a single: “If you break my heart I go date your father. You gonna be my son; you go call me your mother.”) Despite their sexual lyrics, Tiwa Savage and Seyi Shay are vendors of monogamy. Ebony talks taboo, and convincingly. Her latest single will draw flak. It will also draw fans.
Buy ‘Date Ur Fada’ on iTunes
Credit: Oris Aigbokhaevbolo