Monday, September 8, 2008

I Fux with...Hiplife (part 1 of 2 (or maybe 3))

Kwaadee Mixtape (Download)

Abrantie Mabre

Ka Wo Nan To So

P 1

For the longest time I detested Hiplife. I always judged it through a hip-hop lens and found it lacking in all of the things I loved in hip-hop. It was only recently that someone convinced me to give it a secnd chance and opened my eyes to the uniqueness of the genre. So when I decided to do a series of Hiplife posts I had no choice but to outsource it to her. So without further ado, Maggie Ahuofe on Kwaadee:

Okomfoo (Traditional priest) Kwaadee (which according to my mum is an abbreviation of "Kwame Adei" a common Ashanti name) burst onto the Hiplife scene in 2002/2003ish (ish because this is the first time I heard his music). He, like Obrafour, raps exclusively in Twi and what sets him apart from other rappers is his use of very authentic twi and intonations. The average Ghanaian that you'll meet speaks very "westernized" twi interspersed with numerous english word substitutes, but this guy...not so much. (ALEX: He also has by far the best sense of humor of any hiplife artist I know)

His debut album was "Okomfoo Se Koo" (which I cant translate directly because my twi is too westernized). The first single off this album, "Meyere ne Mempena" (My wife vs. My mistress), is a classic in its own right. Granted all men cheat (ahem) but you rarely hear a rapper openly debating the pros and cons between his gf & wife in trying to figure which one to stay with (This is very similar to the Chris Rock skit "Old pussy" vs. New pussy")(ALEX: It's more or less a Ghanaian version of Gregory Isaac's "Cool Down the Pace").

Basically his wife is old school and timid and the mistress is young, vibrant, wears "shiny shoes", parties like its going out of style and is a tantric fox in bed. He makes the "wise" choice in the end and sticks with his wife because he cannot keep up with the "new school". Notable tracks on subsequent albums include "Abrantie Mabre" (the eternally exhausted young man trying to make it the legitimate way) and "Efie Nipa" which laments the problems of society's impoverished population.

The main reason he is being featured on this blog is because of the track "K'a wo n'an to so" from his most recent album "Nsem Pii" (Numerous issues). Translated, it means "Close your legs". This is by far the funniest hiplife song ever (ALEX: I say funniest song ever, no matter the genre. I literally fell off my bed laughing the first time I heard this track). He discusses the anguish older men go through in efforts to remain faithful to their wives whilst younger women entice them. He encourages all women to have a sign on their privates with the labels "No trespassing" & "Private and individual property". This is infinitely funnier if you understand the lyrics. Until then, just take my word for it.

(ALEX: A couple of my other favorite Kwaadee tracks tracks are P 1, A funny track about his elementary school days, and Nkran Kwanso, a song about getting your freak on in public)