‘Things Fall Apart’ – Kofi Kinaata – A REVIEW

Kofi Kinaata’s songwriting treasury is benevolent. It keeps giving. In Things Fall Apart, there is a mirroring of a people’s waywardness. The theme provokes a conversation on what is right...

Kofi Kinaata’s songwriting treasury is benevolent. It keeps giving. In Things Fall Apart, there is a mirroring of a people’s waywardness.

The theme provokes a conversation on what is right or wrong.

The call, strengthened by a bravado that is firm and furious, feels sane and homily, and springs up regular notes of religious fanaticism, blind loyalty, and contractions that have developed horns and gained resting places. 

The song indulges you, for the most part, offering a reminder that things – ethos et al – do indeed fall apart this side of the globe.

Kinaata stokes multiple flames still considered taboo and not fit for proper mainstream conversation, save for those managed over bottles of Adonko 123 and Officer Bitters.

The vocal direction is blunt and an aim-for-blood, one conscious of the wanton abuse and everything in-between, that has become part of a systemic breakdown called by a secondary name: indiscipline.

For a song-writing run built out of a parallel rhythmic well of rap music, Kinaata has evolved crafty penmanship that is sustained and constantly fueled with strokes that are pure, right and useful.

Things Fall Apart (produced by Bars Two) beams so many truths; it is held by trusses and rigs that project the ills of a society still grappling with the basics – loot and weeding out crass mentality. The articulation is a vivid outpouring of frustrations delivered by a town-crier who has no mercy, and goes for anybody – born of man – in sight.

The composition is virgin as it is a clatter of chills of offensive emergence; it unpacks fear and trembling in a manner that is also soothing to a believer’s ear. In the end, what Kinaata can offer are heaps of harm ready to be exposed for what they are.

In a typical Kinaata writing set, there are pledges that there are going to be draw-ins to what is present while signalling what is ahead. Things Fall Apart sticks to the form guide.

The tour de force he exhibits – as he’s always done – is meticulous and core. He is, just as he is, without a plea, wielding a rod of political correctness that reiterates what is obvious; yet celestial enough to be granted an audience.

Things Fall Apart is a contemporary poetic license to go ham. With the kind of cheese available to munch on, Kinaata had more than enough to address and splutter. Without bulging over whether to go mild or pan to the whims of entitled middle-class failed gym heroes, he ended up satisfying a broader strata that needed him to name names and chase all the crazy baldheads out of town. He did.

Things Fall Apart is modelled around a call to action that is long overdue. The leaning it offers is so ironic that it is music to the ear, yet a painful view of a relapse. But the skill is in the directness and urgency charted to navigate what would have been a tough sell. Once released, it created a pathway of many takeaways, the famous being how a part-time Christian stood little chance against a full-time devil.

That line is what introduced most people to the song. They have stayed stuck since then.

The strength Things Fall Apart carries sits comfortably in a genre given so much currency these past few years. Heralded by a group of young talents, today’s Highlife of Kinaata himself and all the others in the chain breaks away from the everyday spectacle of crank-trap-happy compositions that breastfeed on 20-25s who wield huge behinds that scream butt why at the mention of Instagram clicks.

Kinaata is a disciple of that kind of Highlife practised by CK Mann, Paapa Yankson, and every figure within the Fante Confederacy of successful musicians.

It is a touch he proudly holds on to, which has also meant moving away – not entirely – from rap music, which he preyed on sparingly in the early years. Today, he sings what is mostly rotation-ready material and absorbed quickly.

So, whether he is making a song about leftover booze or bringing to the fore the oddities that lie in the science behind crushed ambitions of breadwinners and profligacy, he attaches the same kind of surrender technique – pushing the music in whole to an audience who are constantly reminded song after song that he is good. That’s a proficiency constantly cohabitating with an abundant stream of tales.

Kinaata’s tale game is strong. But even more beautiful is his style of keeping his hooks closer to minute soundscapes of ecstasy. On Things Fall Apart, there are charges to keep, and a god to glorify – for how he whips everybody – pastor, lecturer, and politician in line – yet still manages to throw a jamboree of exactness that has got 40-60s singing along without being promised boring notes of GDP in return as a reward.

Kinaata explores known but uncharted waters of selling Christ to the highest bidder, kingdom gangsterism and entitlement where poster boys are not supposed to be subjected to strict proof. While at it, he questions faith and practice and shreds the hypocritical and double-standard nature of today’s people.

Yet, he keeps it simple and straight. And that is Kinaata; lyrically he is yet to be seen as an extreme sport and Things Fall Apart is not an exception.

The storytelling is rich and comes from a place of young budding Fante musicians, Ayesem (Koti, April 2017) and co. with a great appetite for carving out stories that stay true on many levels. And, because he is Kinaata, he is always able to offer quality thrill with a balance that is calm and quiet.


 Kinaata – 10 songs you should check out

  • Adam and Eve (Shottoh Blinqx, Mixed/Mastered by Kin Dee, June 2019)
  • Malafaka (Kin Dee, October 2018)
  • The Whole Show (Kin Dee, May 2018)
  • Single and Free (WillisBeatz, November 2017)
  • Last Show (WillisBeatz, July 2017)
  • Confession (Kin Dee, December 2016)
  • Time No Dey (Kin Dee, October 2016)
  • Sweetie Pie (Kin Dee, January 2016)
  • Made in Taadi (WillisBeatz, December 2015)
  • Susuka (Kin Dee, October 2015)

Obed Boafo is the Founding Editor/Publisher of enewsgh.com. In 2012, he started what has now become Ghana's best essential arts and entertainment briefing.