REVIEW: Edem stirs up “hurricane” with new joint

All hip-hop is a battlefield, and one’s ability to drill panic into his opponent’s knees is core to the game. A specialist in this regard, Edem, with his unique...

All hip-hop is a battlefield, and one’s ability to drill panic into his opponent’s knees is core to the game. A specialist in this regard, Edem, with his unique style of executing this menace, has always been a delight to watch —from the fence, that is. As an opponent though, it must be a nightmare. In fact, the Heyba man is so poised in his proficiency as lyrical Goliath that, these days, he directly taunts his rivals; “hello, hi rappers/ I make you no dey bed eh?” 

Indubitably, Edem has attained gold status, and with his upcoming fourth album, The African Answer, he looks to seal that reputation for good. Throughout his career, every time he has tendered a rap number, it has come with a tide. On his latest single, featuring rock Lads Dark Suburb, Jojo Abot, and Teephlow, he whips up —well —a “Hurricane!”

Produced by American rhythm dons, DJ Pain and Coptic, the joint dispenses another vicious experience. If —for some reason —anyone ever derided Edem’s choice of title for the album, Hurricane, like Mighty Jesus, its predecessor of six months, is the sort of evidence which silences you. Hurricane is centered on amplified electric guitar, intransigent drums, unsettling sampling, and an overall loudness that is essential to the fear factor, and sounds off with a bold declaration via a throaty roar: “we’re here to win, we’re here to stay!” —and if that is not enough, it is reiterated in a haunted hook by spirit child Jojo Abot:

Believe it or not, we’re here to win

Like it or not, we’re here to stay

Pull up on your block, no masquerade

It’s a hurricane, it’s a hurricane

The VRMG founder (born Denning Edem Hotor), while he has excelled at genres outside of hip-hop, has always retained a diligence to the rap form which nurtured him. That attentiveness, which is the mark of an exemplary student, has now made him a master, ensuring that he’s able to build upon it by infusing other elements to craft striking new models. The song is a hybrid of hip-hop and rock, accentuated by a unique, aboriginal vibe —therefore, works as a local staple, while still holding transnational appeal.

Pascal AKA –directed visuals which complement the number, also entrench Edem’s status as repository of premium music videos. Everything you can’t make out due to your inability to comprehend the “minority” dialect that is Ewe —which constitutes majority of Edem’s poetic expression —is ably translated via the expert hands of AKA (who heads the Breakthrough Studios in Accra); who also worked on visuals for Mighty Jesus. Alternating between jungle scenes irradiated by the golden hue generated by fire-eating men in the background, where both Edem and Abot appear most —to smoke-filled sets off which Dark Suburb’s guitar sections echo —to an all-white one on which an Off-White clad Teephlow recounts his music journey using clever puns and an incisive stream, AKA reenacts the themes in Hurricane immaculately. The video also sees GH rap bigwigs as Tinny and Gemini make cameo appearances.

Hurricane is also a convergence point for old and new. Not uncharacteristic of Edem in recent years, he lines up the brightest of burgeoning stars; feeding them energy from an experienced hand as he feeds off their green energies. He also name-drops “brothers” from his native Volta-land who are making waves: Kemenya, Kula, Keeny Ice, Agbeshie, Cano- Z, or as he puts it; “Number 9 army, Togbui Tsali soldiers, Agorkolii soldiers.” It is a tested method, if you want to remain relevant. By all means, innovate, experiment, adapt, or —well— die.  And in all your gettings, guar your originality. When you have grasped that balance, you too can declare, like he does in the song; “this be ma playing field/ this be my arena/ don’t try to test me, let me manifest/ wontomi engyina!”

At the same time, the song also serves an opportunity for guest acts to assert themselves as worthy— at this point, one way to tell if an artist has washed his hands well enough to dine with elders, is if they land a spot on an Edem record. All three guest acts on Hurricane arrive to the table with space-age greatness and alternative genius; possessing an unnerving mystery for wearing skull masks, and their steady success with alternative rock in a country as Ghana, the quintet have courted fear and admiration in equal measure, and have landed collaborations with A-listers as M.anifest, and E.L. An eccentric goddess, Jojo Abot is currently among Ghana’s prized music exports. Creating music across Afro-soul/Reggae and Afrobeat, the chanteuse —who hails from Ho in the Volta Region, and is author of the 2015 EP FYFYA WOTO —has performed at the world-famous Times Square (New York), toured with Ms. Lauryn Hill, and shared stages with Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Wiz Khalifa, Charlie Puth, Jesse J, and Demi Lovato, and in May 2017, headlined the Bushfire Festival in Swaziland alongside South African jazz great, the late Hugh Masekela.

Alumnus of of the ‘Next Big Thing in GH Hip-hop’ reality show, Teephlow is already acclaimed as a wordsmith. Earlier this year, his 2017 record, State of the Art, off his Flowducation EP, was named “Record of the Year” at the Ghana Music Awards. When he sets out on his verse 2 minutes 38 seconds on the joint, a new exuberance is instantly felt. This vim elevates steadily, and by the 4: 30 mark, it has exploded into real danger – a brisk jaw-dropping fit. Edem receives the baton back from his fellow Da’Hammer disciple, at a similar pace, and then guides it into Abot’s concluding hook —the exact four bars the mediocre lot will dread to hear. Going by Edem’s work since 2009, it will ring in their ears for a very, very long time.

 

Believe it or not, we’re here to win

Like it or not, we’re here to stay

Pull up on your block, no masquerade

It’s a hurricane, it’s a hurricane

 

*A multiple-award-winner, Edem is author of critically received albums as Volta Regime, Mass Production, and Books and Rhymes, as well as numerous singles including Ghetto Arise, Bra Fremi Fremi, Nyedzilo,Kpordawoe, Wicked and Bad, Gogaga, Fie Fuor, Power among others.
“The African Answer” is due for release this year.

Get Hurricane on iTunes

Artist: Edem ft Jojo Abot, TeePhlow & Dark Suburb

Song: Hurricane

Label & YearBrooklyn Bridge Ent / VRMG 2018

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Entertainment writer from Accra| Editor, enewsgh.com|Pounding music makes me dance --in my mind.

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