Music Review: FOKN Bois’ album “FOKN ode to Ghana”

When it comes to music, Africa prides itself of a rich music culture, there are ways in which different people from the 55 states interpret the world and how they define their existence. However one would not fail to recognize the sound of music from Africa, mostly indistinguishable due to the sound of drums.

Music has been a powerful tool of expression throughout the African history, as one continent with a lot of complexities when it comes to culture, politics and history, music has remained one medium that is best defined as a language of the people. So powerful music is that in many cases people in leadership often see it as a threat to politics. The arrests and censorships targeting artists come in handy at this point.

Western music influence especially Hip Hop on African sounds and vice versa cannot be ignored, especially on the young generation, different sounds have emerged from this marriage to create unique subgenres for example ‘genge’ from Kenya to ‘hiplife’ from west Africa (Read Ghana). What may be of concern to some is that many young artists have since failed to tackle topics that are of interest or would be regarded as of utmost importance to the continent, rather most popular music on radio in this part of the world is all about fun. One would argue that it is because the artists do not want to rub the leadership the wrong way, which may be true in most cases but a lot of lyrics on these songs are basically an interpretation of the elementary western music content.

Socially conscious FOKN Bois from Ghana however are of a different kind, they have no time for the so called ‘people in power’ often times their music has spoken against the leadership, through satire the duo are daring to use their music to address socio-political issues in Ghana, though some of their lyrics speak to issues that are shared among African states and even beyond.

Mensa Ansah and Wanlov the Kubolor, the duo that is FOKN Bois’s music is a product of Hip Hop sounds sampling a lot from Highlife, Afro-jazz music and traditional Ghanaian sounds. Their satirical lyrics are bizarre, true, critical, and even oversensitive. The rappers have found that the best way they would deliver their satirical message without offending the audience is through the use of jokes and so have won the tags “Ghanaian clown rappers”

“Thank God We Are Not Nigerians” is a song that got tongues wagging in Ghana and Nigeria, the artists sense of humor did not go well with most Ghanaians as it did with the Nigerians, according to the two the song was critical of the way the Ghanaians lack pride in their culture as the Nigerians, despite the mixed reception, the song remains one that got them to ‘fame’ as it were.

“FOKN Ode To Ghana” is their most recent concept, the album is a 21-track compilation full of uncompromising lyrics addressing issues such as race, corruption, hypocrisy, Africans inferiority complexes, greed, self-righteousness and such. The album is an enjoyable listen, with anecdotal intros to some of the tracks make the whole concept interesting or just whet your appetite for good music. On “Mugu Yaro”, the rappers talk about the con artists who often target people especially the whites who fall for the internet scams, the messages may also be used to describe how politicians play with the minds of the people, they satirically compare these scams to games. “Sons Of Sun” sees the artists jokingly address how some Africans struggle with their skin color.  “One For Aniki” addresses the hypocrisy in religion and corruption, flawed education system that is crippling the country’s economy similar to “Project Ghana” which is an ironic view of the state of Ghana.

“Talking Drum”, one of my favorite tracks sees the duo go hard in that unmistakably Hip Hop flow, picking up that personal approach to various topics with the use of metaphors that speak to neo-colonialism, which would also be interpreted as how the Africans dance to the tune of the ‘western drums’ if you catch my drift. “Ghanaway” backed by ‘Thank God we are not an African Americans’ chorus paints negative stereotypes that are often associated with how African-Americans view Africans.

FOKN Bois as a name may sound just like that, meaning they have no time for niceties but according to the duo the name would ‘at times’ mean “Foes of Kwame Nkrumah” or Friends of Kwame Nkurumah” The album is educative use of proverbs has purely enriched the project, the artists are urging the audience to be proud of who they are the “African Spirit”. The project would be what African Hip Hop needs, creative and thoughtful lyrics even as we dance to the urban pop music.

The duo worked with Yoyo Tinz on production and is based on Hobo Truffles Hip-Hop instrumental album with a similar title which entirely sampled Ghanaian Highlife music.

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