Here’s additional proof that KiDi, Kuami Eugene, and Kurl Songx are now Ghana’s premier vocal stylists: on “Anadwo Yɛ Dɛ,” a fresh cut by genius producer Mix Master Garzy, the threesome, all alumni of MTN talent show, Hitmaker, converge, and conjure a charged vocal excitement equivalent to the feeling of returning to one’s lover after a long day.
What ingredients constitute a master potion as far as highlife is concerned? KiDi, Eugene, and Songx–with their soaring careers– have demonstrated the template without fail. Recycle a nostalgic hook from a great, preferably a Daddy Lumba, or a Rex Omar. Make sure the mid-tempo instrumental is rich with stock guitar arrangements that invade the pores, and ensure that the bassline that steers groove aims for the marrow.
Highlife caters to a variety of subject matters, but a love story, peppered with a not so subtle invitation for sex is your best bet.
It is exactly what happens on the record, and though multiple examples exist to demonstrate this hypothesis, “Anadwo Yɛ Dɛ” swiftly knocks them all to assume top spot.
Garzy himself, “most wanted” for his dancehall and Afropop beats (most notably with Patoranking, Becca, and Samini), proves that he’s just as reliable when he’s on highlife duty. He harvests the highlife essentials expertly on the joint, and lets the singers loose.
And boy, did they devour.
At its core, the record is homage to 90s forbears of the genre, and a lovely one at that. For chorus, KiDi, resident hook captain, reuses the phrase K K Fosu popularized in the early 2000s via his own class pieces.
And then, for the opening of their stanzas, Eugene and Songx serve a popular line or two from a great; the “Confusion” expert opting for words off Daddy Lumba’s “Aben Wo Ha,” while Songx turns to Rex Omar’s “Da Da Di Da Da.” Having set things off that way, they then go ahead with their individual coitus manifestos. Delivered with infectious longingness and technique worthy of a highlife offering, the song’s verses are befitting of anointed heirs.
KiDi isn’t allocated verses on the joint (for that, wait for “Sugar,” his debut album due in coming months). Still, he retains heavy presence, repeating his silky lines at pivotal moments in the song: the intro, hook, and around the 3 minute mark, which signals the final phase of the tune. It is also he who fuels the feel-good spirit “Anadwo Yɛ Dɛ” relies on. He caps his flirtatious round by asking the desirable woman in his view to deliver on a dare: “you say you’re a freak, come show me.” In fact, it is those words the record opens with.
Kuami Eugene, who arguably made the biggest impact last year with multiple offerings and guest appearances that made local charts, unsurprisingly revisits cadences and harmony patterns that have worked for him all year, and overflow on his debut album, “Rockstar.” There is also the clichéd Rihanna body-type comparison that has come to define contemporary Pop, as is the “your body was designed by God himself” phrase. Nonetheless, Eugene’s voice and work culture have made him a nationwide darling in recent years, securing him momentum for the coveted VGMA Artist of the Year prize slated for coming months, never mind that he faces stiff opposition from the likes of Stonebwoy, himself a frequent beneficiary of Garzy’s production, and usual suspect for that laurel.
Kurl Songx, last year, was the quietest of the three. He takes a similar route on the joint, supplying smooth singings as he beckons the subject of his lust into his “red room,” further instructing her to “lie down make I ride you” from the “sofa to the bedroom.” The words descend softly—but not their muscle. The smooth operator, Songx’s calmness must never be taken for toothlessness.
A solid execution, “Anadwo Yɛ Dɛ” becomes the first real contender in a gamut of top sex anthems this year will produce. A fast-food music environment is the only threat to its permanency, but as long as there are holidays and sunlit palm trees on Accra’s coasts, and Saturday nights in need of new soundtracks, it will be fine.