The scorching rage of the novel Corona Virus has dwindled productivity across the globe and for creatives, the pause had offered them the chance to fine tune and reweave their crafts, and for Aflao’s Keeny Ice, an avenue to prepare and release his first Extended Play (EP) titled ‘Border Vibes .
The six track project is a smorgasbord of hip hop, poetry and a very minute infusion of afropop, boasting features from other pacesetting artistes from the west coast of the continent.
The EP is Coded in Everh, the Aflao street creole known as Adjagbe and English language.
Here’s is a succinct summary of each song:
1. HOOK OR CROOK: This song highlights the economic challenges the artiste faces coming from an underdeveloped part of Ghana and his undying agility to take himself and his art to a lofty pedestal. It features the crooning dynamo, Lega.
2. GRIND: The song featuring Nigerian Mic Smith Paypa Corleone airs the popular Aflao mentality of leaving no room for idleness. Throughout the song, Keeny Ice painted portraits of the plush and pomp lifestyle he envisions and reiterated the need for everyone to ‘Grind’, in other words, work hard to be able to enjoy the luxury they aspire to.
3. O.G: A slightly humorous song that chronicles the formative years of the musician. It speaks in glowing terms about the fashion and the lifestyle of the epoch that ushered him into music.
4. MADE IN AFLAO: Arguably the most important song to the hefty fanatics of the ‘Gankivi’ rapper, this music celebrates one of West Africa’s populous and busiest land borders (Aflao Border) which has become a melting point for so many cultures. It also serves as the birthplace of the artiste, Barnabas Amu known in the entertainment sphere as Keeny Ice.
With bravado, the verses speak about the streetwise attitude Aflao is notorious for and their ‘dirt to success’ attribute exemplified by the late BBC Journalist, Komla Dumor and late accomplished Ghanaian playwrite, Efo Kodzo Mawugbe.
5.QUESTIONS: This song makes bare the challenges, both real and imagined faced by the hip hop prodigy. Its lyrics address doubters and ill-wishers. Kula, a Ghanaian rapper and winner of the 2019 VGMA Unsung category who features on the song also raises concerns of infight and unhealthy rivalry.
6. BIGUPS: The last song on the Extended Play is a detailed appreciation from the Ghanaian rapper to individuals, publicists and industry players who believe in his craft and support his work.
With these thoughtfully written songs and it’s beautiful arrangement, tied to how warmly they’re being appreciated by the listening populace, Keeny Ice’s ‘Border Vibe EP’ has emerged one of the most outstanding musical projects of 2021 on the African continent.
Reuben A. K. Anani
Review by: (Author and Lecturer, Multimedia Institute of Ghana)