In the realm of Ghanaian Hip-Hop, Ko-Jo Cue stands as a beacon of conscious lyricism, a storyteller of the streets, and a cultural griot who weaves narratives of African life through the threads of his music.
The journey of Ko-Jo Cue, as outlined in the narrative leading up to the EP, sets the stage for an artist whose evolution mirrors the greats in the rap game. From the impactful debut album, “For My Brothers,” which resonated as a classic and a poignant letter to young men in Africa, to his participation in the BET Hip-Hop Awards 2023 Cypher, Ko-Jo Cue’s narrative has been one of growth, introspection and a commitment to his craft.
The EP kicks off with the track “Mac Tontoh,” a clever homage to Ghana’s legendary trumpeter and songwriter. Many Ogees would be familiar with Mac Tontoh’s story – Ghana’s legendary trumpeter and songwriter and one of the founding members of the acclaimed 70s band Osibisa, having spent over twenty years of living in London or on the road, Mac decided that it was time to return to his African roots for fresh inspiration and contribute to helping other talents. In 1992 he moved back home to Ghana and, with the help of producer/engineer Mike Swai, set up his own recording studio in Accra.
Ko-Jo Cue utilizes this canvas to paint a picture of self-promotion and resilience, addressing societal expectations while championing patience and determination. The inclusion of BiggHommieFlee adds a layer of charm to the track, making it a standout introduction to the EP. Now imagine Ko-Jo Cue on a song with BiggHommieFlee giving his chanting intro with his croon “…Walahi Shake back babe…” chills!
In “Someway,” Ko-Jo Cue invites listeners into his childhood, exploring the dynamics of community and the inevitable changes that come with life’s journey. The track strikes a chord by condemning those who choose a façade over authenticity, a critique delivered with the rapper’s signature blend of wisdom and wit. – “W’anya kakra nti you no dey pet your own gees…You niggas be someway” – a relatable line.
“Free Throw,” featuring Joey B, follows suit as a victorious celebration, a testament to Ko-Jo Cue’s skill and a taunt to those who doubted him. The track exudes confidence and resilience, reinforcing the artist’s narrative of overcoming odds “…Always up to something back in the trappin jumping…”
The drill anthem “32”, one of my favourite on the project showcases Ko-Jo Cue’s versatility as an artist. If there’s one thing that has made Ko-Jo Cue a name to resonate with is as one of the talented and most versatile Ghanaian artist, Ko-Jo Cue doesn’t shun away from exploring and incorporating other sounds but also finds a balance and remains unique to his sound. He blends his unique sound with the voices of Asaaka boys Kweku Smoke and Kwaku DMC. The metaphor for a wide smile is an invitation to live life authentically, a theme that resonates throughout the EP.
“Okay Okay,” featuring Strongman and YPee, delves into themes of ambition and hard work. The collaboration highlights shared struggles and the importance of resilience in the pursuit of success. The relatable chorus and rap lines make this track an anthem for anyone navigating the challenges of chasing their dreams.
“Cedi Kasa,” featuring Kay Ara, amplifies Ko-Jo Cue’s commitment to shedding light on social issues. The rapper addresses financial struggles, street life, and the pursuit of success, offering a nuanced commentary on the challenges faced by many in Ghanaians.
The EP concludes with “Happy Endings,” featuring Ria Boss, a poignant reflection on life’s unpredictability. Ko-Jo Cue employs irony to discuss personal tragedy and the futility of chasing fairytales, reminding listeners that life is a story we write for ourselves. The track presents the solemn and adorable voice of Ria as Ko-Jo goes into his element with his storytelling prowess. The subtle reference to J. Cole’s “Love Yourz” is hard to miss when Cue says “…no such thing as a life that’s better than yours…” as we all tend to make life decisions while comparing our situations to others- emphasizes the importance of appreciating one’s own journey.
“I’m Back” not only announces Ko-Jo Cue’s return but solidifies his status as a storyteller with a purpose. Each track is a chapter in the book of his life, inviting listeners to reflect on their own stories.
The EP seamlessly blends introspective lyricism, cultural commentary, and a celebration of resilience, making it a compelling addition to Ko-Jo Cue’s discography. The EP by the conscious rapper signals not just his musical return but also the continuance of a griot’s legacy—one in which he uses art to speak truth to power.