An Album from Ghanaian Music Icon, Kwabena Kwabena, is one the younger generation of musicians need to pick up and study track by track as a course outline, “A guide to making classical music 101”. Each song on the 14-tracked “Famesaa Album” bridges the seeming gap between the new and older generation of Musicians. From the Sound, Genre, Features and even Sample choices on the project, Kwabena Kwabena with the Famesaa album, which means “Take me as I am “, proves that the generational gap doesn’t equate to the creativity gap.
Beginning with the first track, Sweety, Willis Beats, hailing from the Western region of Ghana, Takoradi, seized the opportunity to share a bit of his culture and heritage through Sweety. The brass-band experience during festive seasons in Takoradi is precisely the feeling the Taking Over, Forgetti and Samba hitmaker, Willis Beatz, was replicating. Anyone who has attended these cultural events immediately has a flashback to the region’s 25th and New year festivities. It embodies one’s culture and connects people to their roots. Kwabena Kwabena rode the beat smoothly with a love story consciously delivering in English, Fante and Twi, which are also the main dialects of Takoradi.
No one can preach true love on a project like Famesaa without sharing the need for gratitude and FOCUS in life’s journey. Trigmatic, with his sage verses and biblical references, was a good fit for track 2, Focus, produced by celebrated Ghanaian beat maker, DatBeatGod. The song shares advice that, if heeded, can help everyone.
Sharing a comment on the sound they were aiming at, DatBeatGod commented, “we didn’t plan on producing highlife of hiplife tunes, I played some sounds I had on my machine, and he just connected with it instantly, and we recorded on the spot.”
To kick the party a notch higher, the reigning Artist of the year at the VGMA23, Kidi’s feature on track three, Asa, puts the right amount of sugar in the project. Kwabena kwabena surrenders himself to love, wearing his vulnerability and fears on his sleeves, hoping that his lover will do the one thing the entire 14-tracked album is asking for, “Famesaa”. (Take me as I am).
Following Asa is Track 4, Famesaa, produced by 2021 IRAWMA Instrumentalist of the year, Kwame Yeboah. No one would be wrong if they tipped this track as the theme sound of the album; it is a perfect amalgamation of drill and highlife instrumentation. The intro sound gives off the usual intro of a hard drill song but suddenly sways into a much better drill-highlife experience. Preaching total acceptance for himself and unconditional love for others, Famesaa enforces the biblical instruction of loving each other as ourselves. However, as human, as we are, Famesaa cautions everyone to be careful and be astute enough to decipher between unconditional love and what purports to be one.
“Romantic places in mind” One of those places was definitely in the 90s. Love expressed in various eras, track 8 produced by Bie Kwan hit maker, Ceedi3, time travels the new school generation of Hip-hop acts featured on Yenpie (Let’s step out) to the 90s, testing their creative talent as rap acts. On Yenpie, Kwabena Kwabena went back to the first genre he kicked off mainstream hit with, putting rhythmic poetry on a highlife beat giving listeners a nostalgic feeling of the Hiplife moments. The Sore hitmaker, Yaw Tog, nailed the assignment without breaking a sweat; Ekorso hitmaker Kofi Jamar, after his performance on his song, Balling, took this as a walk in the park. He seemed very conversant with the 90s style and left a mark with his verse. Quamina MP didn’t have to do too much; he delivered aptly in both eras! The stubborn boy at the back, Tulenkey, will leave an impression on you with his bad-boy steeze.
Commenting on the production, Producer, Ceedi3 revealed that “we were looking at a 90s club feel with new school rap. Kwabena Kwabena asked for an old Hip hop feel with scratch. I felt the guys did well because I was shocked with some of their lines on the songs; I wasn’t expecting that level of dexterity; they all killed it.”
Kwabena Kwabena’s ability as a highlife Artist to collaborate with talents from other genres and generation reflects in the following song 50/50 with Sefa. The two melodic voices complement each other perfectly, so much so that you could ignore the message of the music and still experience that 50/50 split from both parties. Another 50/50 effort to ensure the song’s success was the lyrics and the solid highlife tune produced by Ghanaian producer Mantse. Kwabena Kwabena and S3fa took turns expressing the type of effort they expect from their partners to have a beautiful relationship; it always takes two parts doing equal work. Although the song is a healthy relationship personified, it reflects the commitment each contributor to the project had to make to ensure its success.
Track seven on Famesaa, Regina, epitomizes a true African beauty. Eulogizing her qualities confirms Kwabena Kwabena’s support for feminism and anything that empowers the Black Woman to feel confident. DatBeatGod did justice to the mid-tempo sound.
“It’s always amazing creating something out of thin air and bringing music to life. I have always looked up to Kwabena Kwabena as a musician and a producer for years, and it was amazing recording him for this project.” DatBeatGod added.
“Another Adult music” is what Minpina (Mistress) with Dblack is! 9 out of 10 of Kwabena Kwabena’s female fans love his highly sexual songs like Adult music. His ability to give the entire ride of the horny tree just through his music, delicately laying each word over the other in the 69th way shrouded with sexual anecdotes, is simply admirable. No one but the enjoyment minister hitmaker, DBlack, could have been the perfect recruit for the mission Minpina wants to achieve anytime someone pressed play. The appreciation of Kwabena Kwabena’s versatility as a musician shoot through the roof with this 8th track, Minpina. His decision to infuse Fortune beats Amapiano into his project only proves that the Asor hitmaker can adapt to the changes in the global music scene.
Religious incompatibility in Interfaith relationships has been one of the most significant issues most lovers with different religious backgrounds face. While most are willing to switch religion, others do not see the sacrifice as worthwhile and let go of their love for the faith. The Award-winning musician Adina with Kwabena Kwabena on Awero, produced by DatBeatGod, creatively captures lovers’ woes with such injunctions. In a narration of one of the truest occurrences in African society, both Kwabena and Kwabena defy the odds of choosing love and their relationship over religion. Forbidden love is another type of love a project like Famesaa needed to capture.
Sampling brings to memory forgotten songs. Alaji K Frimpong’s hit sound Kyenkyen Bi Adi Mawu is brought to life in memory and introduced to the young music audience through the 10th track on the Famesaa album produced by Klasikbeats. Ride or die by Kwabena Kwabena is a song for all lovers who are reaping the fruits of the love they have sowed in each other.
The Ghana Music Awards UK, 2019 Reggae Dancehall Artist of the Year, Shatta Wale, fits perfectly on a song that speaks against bad energy like “Konkona” (gossip) Konkonsa did not only bring out the diversity in Kwabena Kwabena but in Shatta Wale. The tempo of the song produced by Jessy King gave room for the message in Track 11, Konkona, to be easily absorbed. The type of song that builds the mental capacity of a nation and generation.
In 2021, Kwabena Kwabena gave the world a taste of what is to come with a single release, Kwadede, off the Famesaa project. While he may not have done the incoming project known to the world, the storyline of Kwadede gave fans of Kwabena Kwabena something to hold on to until the birth of Famesaa. The low-tempo highlife tune produced by DatBeatGood did the job. Also, the sexual tension in the video of Kwadede between the two main characters was a direct reflection of that pent-up unquenchable desire for a Kwabena Kwabena project like Famesaa.
“Kwadede was a take, I played the sound to him, and he created Kwadede on the spot. Music comes to him; naturally, he knows what he wants, so once he hears it, it flows, I’ve worked with many artists, but Kwabena Kwabena’s music creation is amazing.” DatBeatGod reveals the creative process of Kwadede.
At some point, moving from this track to the last one will become an internal struggle everyone may have to endure if they want to stream the entire Famesaa Album; that never letting go desire of Track 13 truly gives that “Afraid to lose you” feeling. Everyone has a place there, an eclectic approach to producing a masterpiece. The hopeless romantics have their share, and Afraid to lose you satisfies that insatiable yearning. A smooth jazzy tune produced by Kwame Yeboah will be the theme song for every romantic setting before and after the season of love. The love a man shares with himself or another is captured in Afraid to lose you. To those not expressive of their feelings, “turn up the volume and let Kwabena Kwabena serenade Babe.”
Finally, Kwabena decides to bless the world with more than just his vocals, a full display of his creative ingenuity, having produced the last track on the album, Fingers. Those magic Fingers of his don’t only invoke bedroom stimulations as the song says but fingers the keyboard to stimulate the ear. Fingers, coproduced by Akwesi, is the utmost love-making song that sets the ambience and mood for a perfect romantic night. His nutty side is at its peak; no lady can complain here! Fingers could easily pass for volume 2 of Adult Music.
A glance at the artwork of Famesaa shows a man surrendering to nature. The river in which he stood naked with his hands wide open may mean that in this project, Kwabena Kwabena is giving us a full view of his true self, flaws, strength, beauty, and ugliness without holding any of it back. Hopefully, the peaceful and accepting nature of the river will be how each listener of this project will wholeheartedly accept Kwabena Kwabena for who he is. The gold borders of the artwork are simply an announcement of how rich in content and classic the project is.
Yenpie, Minpina, 50/50, and each track on the Famesaa project shows that the younger generation of musicians is competent in collaborating with highlife legends to produce Classic songs. Famesaa also proves that highlife legends boxed into a particular era and sound can quickly adapt to change and equally hop on new trends as Kwabena Kwabena did with the Drill and Amapiano sound. Finally, love can be expressed in various ways, whether through Biblical approach, adages, proverbs, Hip-hop, highlife, brass band, high tempo, mid-tempo, low tempo, love for oneself or another. Famesaa encapsulates all these types of love in their purest state, and all 14 primordial forms of love, according to Famesaa, should be celebrated.