Kobi Onyame – GOLD
Glasgow musician Kobi Onyame fuses rap, grime, R'n'B and the sounds of his Ghanaian homeland on his excellent new album
For his fourth album, Kobi Onyame hasn’t so much put hip-hop to the side as much as he's just brought highlife to the forefront, as he fully embraces his Ghanaian heritage. Featuring collaborations with Ghanaian musical royalty M.anifest, as well as M3NSA and Wanlov the Kubolor, GOLD feels like Onyame’s love letter to the West African country.
The use of horns, percussion and call-and-response chants call to mind the traditional sounds of West African highlife, particularly on the aptly-titled album opener Home and on the chorus of Wedadi, a track which features Glasgow-based Kenyan singer Heir of the Cursed. Back Again and DMCRZY are the most modern-sounding of the album’s tracks and both see Onyame spitting an almost grime-like flow, yet still incorporating the highlife-influenced percussive sounds and chants filtered across the album.
As far as mainstream singles go, Chosen Ones is a sure-fire radio hit. The production is unlike that of the rest of the album: it’s clean, crisp and grand. If there’s one chorus that’s going to be stuck in your head after you’ve finished listening to the album, it’s this one; and perhaps also the chorus of 'chukka chukka chukka chukka, like a train,' on the album’s eponymous track Gold.
Recorded entirely on tape, the album immediately has the authentic, unpolished, lo-fi feel commonly associated with the highlife sound. There's nothing pretentious about it; there are no frills, no bells and whistles, just community-feel, jam music. It may have taken him a while to fully find his feet but on GOLD, Kobi Onyame has really come into his own and produced a body of work that is as current as it is nostalgic.
Listen to: Chosen Ones, DMCRZY