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Album Review: Shatta Wale – Reign

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Album Review: Shatta Wale - Reign


The world was different in 2016, the year that Charles Nii Armah, known professionally Shatta Wale’s second studio album entitled “After The Storm” took off.

In two short years, the Gorle Gorno-born artist, songwriter, and producer saw his star take off in an unprecedented manner nationwide, probably worldwide and hype build as his expanding fan base awaited his next project.

Finally releasing “Reign”, we see an artist ignited by the world around him into an album as a microcosm of its time. Or, depending on how you listen, 2018 is a microcosm of “Reign” and the fierce energy and grounded artistry behind it.

The journey, we’ve seen from the unveiling of “Reign” cover is telling of the larger picture it comments on.

The album’s first track, “Don’t Baby My Baby,” tells the story of a male alpha holding onto his territory and being protective over his love interest.

More direct, and confident, Shatta took his role, where identity is fluid, but his mastery of hiplife sound shows itself as a peak to strive for. It begins the album as a realization of the coping mechanism music can be for artists.

Such self-assuredness is a connector throughout “Reign” as we see Shatta explore genre and sound as if he invented each himself.

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With each confident stride, he makes each territory his own, communicating through his own musical lens and artfully crafting subtle, but good control with his lyricism.

The amazing part about “Reign” is its ability to project such intriguing messaging through track after track of thoroughly uplifting and energizing music.

With tracks like “Amount” and “Gringo” serving as anthems, their productions and melodies maintain infectious sensibility just inviting to join in and enjoy.

The stand out track “Mama Stories” tells an uplifting story on a gloomy beat, and if you listen closely enough, we can hear the overt cry of a man who is hoping that one day it will be all bright and sunny.

It’s a song for the drive home.

“Reign” becomes more and more personal throughout the album, culminating in tracks like “I Regret” and “Rosalinda” exposes his vulnerability, no matter how gangster he may seem he has a soft side and is remorseful of his actions.

Shatta Wale delivers an unflinching performance of raw, emotion-filled tunes from start to finish.

Each word is spoken with such conviction and zero hesitation.

Though it feels like a barrage of rhymes, what makes “Reign” standout isn’t the sheer number of rhymes per production but the fact that every song on the album is portrayed with a certain level of accuracy.

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This fierce storytelling is what sets The “Reign” ahead of others.

Wale’s strength lies in his ability to transcend his personal experience to create something.

You might feel disappointed because you expected something different from the Dancehall king’s because he didn’t tell the story you wanted to hear. This is not an album for everyone.

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Album Review: Bobolebobo By Evangelist I.K Aning

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Album Review: Bobolebobo By Evangelist I.K Aning
Album Review: Bobolebobo by Evangelist I.K Aning. Photo Credit: Evangelist I.K Aning

Hailing from the streets of Kumasi Bokankye in the Ashanti region of Ghana, the ‘Akurugu’ hitmaker made his first major appearance on the Gospel scene with the release of his nationwide hit single, ‘Akurugu’ out doored in 2016 and was the talk of town as at then.

Well, our Evangelist is out again reverberating his voice throughout the nation with another indigenous conscience-pricking VGMA nominated hit song well known as ‘Bobolebobo’ which is apparently the title track of his latest album.

The word ‘Bobolebobo’ is a coinage adopted from the northern language of the Dagombas originally pronounced as ‘Buom’ which directly translates as ‘Bonfire’.

The artiste therefore shortened the ‘Buom’ word to ‘bo’ and included ‘le’ as a lyrically creative skat that would link up the repetitive ‘bobo’.

So, in general, ‘Boboebobo’ simply refers to the Fire that awaits every unrepentant heart at the second coming of Jesus Christ.

This album, which was released later on in 2018, adds up to 5 albums already produced to his credit and consists of 9 songs including Atinka, Wo Kramanba, Patience, Adeakye, Adepa, Gyedi, Bobolebobo, Bobolebobo (Highlife) and One Day! One Day!

Each song carries an evangelistic message of repentance, salvation and the intricacies of daily Christian living, tailored to confront the status quo in these end times.

A careful assessment of each song, except for Adeakye, Adepa, Patience and Gyedi, reveals the much talked about ‘Bobolebobo’ to be a mere introduction to a rather detailed sogul-piercing and lengthy sermon, on the need to eschew all forms of vices, both great and small, and turn on a new leaf so as to make heaven when the master of all creation returns for His final judgement.

Album Review: Bobolebobo By Evangelist I.K Aning

‘Wo Kramanba’ is one of such songs on the album that zooms in into the issue of every individuals’ inevitable sinful weakness.

The song title literally translates into ‘little foxes’ of which the good book admonishes to take heed to, and deal with, before time turns it into a full-grown wild beast that deprives you of entering eternity.

One could barely ignore the humorous yet creative and advisory inculcation of the bark of a puppy while listening to what seems to be a series of well-crafted allegoric lyrics fine-tuned to an upbeat danceable highlife instrumentation that cushions listeners from the intense mental bashing the music exudes to its culprits.

I can’t say the same for the other songs such as Adeakye, Adepa, Patience and Gyedi, which are more geared towards being songs of petition, blessings from God, the virtue of patience and the Christian attribute of faith in God, respectively.

Nevertheless, I must admit that the predominantly Twi lyrics of most of the songs are structured in both fictional and non-fictional story telling patterns that can be easily connected with, understood and assimilated by the everyday Ghanaian.

However, the only contradiction I may have to the entire project in relation to the message of repentance and salvation being extensively preached, is the necessary further admonishing to all listeners about the provision of God’s grace to overcome each vice listed in there….

And Oh, I can completely vouch for a fact that your own vice is enlisted somewhere in there so go get yourself a copy of the entire album and dance away your secret weakness.

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You could call this the gospel version of Sarkodie’s Advice, straight from the mouth of an experienced evangelist to every struggling sinner and saint alike.

Also, one other notable thing about this album is the duration of each song.

The song with the least duration is 5mins 48 secs and that of the lengthiest is 7 mins 21secs, and all 9 songs sum up to give a playback time of 58mins 6secs, which serves as a downside to the standard 4-minute song duration slot, radio stations employ these days.

The cover art of the album is nothing to write home about, comparing it to modern trends of graphic designing, come on, this is the 21st century, but then it must be said for a fact that the artiste tackles issues that most gospel artistes tend to avoid in their songs and he delivers it unapologetically, hitting the nail right on the head.

Aside these, the album has great content and carries a message across than many of the gospel songs out there and on the level of an indigenous production targeted for the local market, I would say it’s fairly a good work done.

So, keep ‘em coming Evangelist and congrats on your nomination for Most Popuar Song of the Year at the 2019 VGMA.

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Album Review: Brighter Side by Lamisi

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Album Review: Brighter Side by Lamisi
Album Review: Brighter Side by Lamisi. Photo credit: Lamisi Music

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Single Review: Call Me by Vision DJ feat. $pacely
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Album Review: Flame by Rosel Pomaney

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Album Review: Flame by Rosel Pomaney
Album Review: Flame by Rosel Pomaney. Photo Credit: Rosel Pomaney

In a bid to break the seeming hegemony of Afrobeats dominated Ghanaian music industry, Rosel Pomaney’s Flame takes you on a soul filled journey during which you experience all the emotional rollercoasters attached to the one thing that the human cannot control, love. (more…)

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EP Review: 'Live From Nkrumah Krom EP' - A must listen from Kwesi Arthur
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