Kings and Gods


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The Ghanaian Hiphop scene is worked up thanks to a rap Cold War between two of its heavyweights, M.anifest and Sarkodie. Tracks have been released, shots have been fired, sides have been taken, debates rage on over who’s better, the beef has permeated I daresay, the national discourse and Ghanaian illustrators are flexing their design muscles and expressing their opinions and expectations through their work.

Below is a collection of art pieces on the ongoing beef that hit our radar along with links to the songs that fuel this much needed lyrical brouhaha. Paraphrasing Swayye Kidd, this beef is a win for Ghanian hip-hop and in our case, art. Continue reading

PREACH 2: 9-10


WORLASI is a multi-talented songwriter, painter, rapper, singer, beat maker and imho, poet.

POETRA ASANTEWAA is an amazing and equally talented wordsmith, fashion designer and creative honcho á la yobbings. She’s possibly Ghana’s dopest spoken word act.

Worlasi I know personally, Poetra, not really, but have a crush on (gosh how many crushes do I have now? yare yare)

Anyhow, both creatives are set to release bodies of work just after each other, the former I believe on the last day of September and the latter next month.

Coincidence? Maybe.

Fate? Well isn’t that the possibility!

I’m excited for both projects, Worlasi’s Nus3 which is Ewe for Strength and Poetra’s in your face, jaw gaping title, Motherfucktitude: the NAKED ones.

I’ve no idea what direction Poetra’s work is gonna take. My guess is, a planet load of narratives that honestly explore feminism, race and humanity in beautiful rhyme that doesn’t scream amateur hour accompanied by that sensual voice that roots you to the spot. More importantly however, based off her Instagram poetry stints, I am confident the potency of her thoughts will dump you in a dark tunnel where that blinding yet difficult to grasp light at the end is wisdom we badly need.

Motherfucktitude: the NAKED ones

Motherfucktitude: the NAKED ones

And with a title like that, I’m ready to first motherfuck my ears into euphoria then scream my lungs out, motherfucktitude!

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That’s the cover for Worlasi’s mixtape. It beautifully captures the spirit of the “you’re your own master and slave” mantra. Let’s pretend that’s me instead of Worlasi in the photo. I’m more a slave to my whims, easily letting negativity get to me instead of picking myself up like a boss and screaming motherfuck the world and just doing me (forgive me, Drake’s Over is blasting through my ears atm).

Continue reading

50 Days of Character Sketch


Funky Babalawo - Collyde Prime x Mohammed Agbadi

Funky Babalawo – Collyde Prime x Mohammed Agbadi

The hashtag, #50DaysOfCharacterSketch created by prolific Nigerian artist, Collyde Prime and his company of creative virtuosos is a leaf right out of comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s hack to excellence, “don’t break the chain”.

The aim is to post an illustration of an original character bearing no semblance to popular and ubiquitous superheroes, every day, for 50 days, in whatever medium (digital, ink, pencil etc.) on social media. Open to everyone, it is an effort to promote African art, polish up skills, gain new ones, have fun and most importantly, reap the benefits of ten thousand hours (1200 actually).

Check out some illustrations from the project so far.

Trippy - Collyde Prime x Balox

Trippy – Collyde Prime x Balox

Goddess - Stanley Stanch Obende

Goddess – Stanley Stanch Obende

Snake Girl - Adeleye Yusuf

Snake Girl – Adeleye Yusuf

The Drummer - Dominic Oziren Omoarukhe

The Drummer – Dominic Oziren Omoarukhe

Warrior Within - Alan Osayi

Warrior Within – Alan Osayi

Mutant Chaos - Havilah Agada

Mutant Chaos – Havilah Agada

Labour of Heroes Past - Anama Drew

Labour of Heroes Past – Anama Drew

You can also watch Collyde Prime’s comic animation below.

Agorkoli


Premiere Poster

Premiere Poster

Agorkoli, Cause of Hogbetsotso, an animation that tells the story of the migration of the Ewe people, premieres later this evening at the British Council and I am excited about it. Somewhat.

Somewhat because the trailer for the animation released a few weeks ago kind of zapped my initial excitement from last year. As my illustrator/animator bud Kobe explained to me, the process of animation is rather hard work and even more overburdening in Ghana thanks mainly to very limited collaboration between artists, leaving usually just one guy to do everything – draw backgrounds, characters, animate, add effects, write and direct the animated films – among other reasons. I should thus be considerate and considerate I am. This is a start at the very least and I look forward to the future with much optimism.

That notwithstanding, I’m more interested to go see what manner of storytelling is employed in the animation; the complexity of characters, subtle cultural references, the protagonist vs antagonist angle etc.

I’m especially looking forward to what creative twist they put to the infamous story of the wicked King of Notsie, Agorkoli. Other good things to look forward to are the musical scores by rising afrobeat crooner Worlasi amongst others.

Agorkoli, Cause of Hogbetsotso should be fun and I pray the universe it lifts me off the ground, even if by just an inch.

Check out the trailer below.

Creative UN-Manifestations


So I heard today is world poetry day, cool, but poetry is not what’s on mind this morn.

Well in a sense, it is.

For so long, we’ve heard everyone echo how uncreative we as a people are, and blah blah blah.

Then there’s the counter argument that no, we are indeed creative but it is just the funds that are lacking.

To an extent, I’d go with the latter assertion. To an extent because I do not believe it is so much the money that matters, I believe it is the method.

Ghanaians are very creative, hands down! Only problem I see is with implementation. If you’re a graphic designer, I am sure you would have encountered a ton of clients who have crazy ideas but just lack the know-how to execute!

So where does the problem stem from? Way I see it, it’s in how we are brought up; our education system.

Let’s take poetry for example. Growing up, poetry to me was something for the elite of elites, and an highly intellectually stimulating thing. Walk in people like Mutombo da Poet, Rhyme Sonny and Sir Black and I’m like WOW! They break down issues and their ideas in ever so enthralling rhymes and syllables, and present something that not only stirs your mind, but is enjoyable. Then I begin to wonder, who the hell got it into my head poetry had to be so full of dictionary sized grammar and vocabulary. O_o. Well they begun something and now there’s an influx of poets; a few new ones and a host of previously sleeping dragons.

If our education system is anything to go by, someone who hasn’t been to the university probably shouldn’t appreciate poetry.

Ok on to the main point.

Have you seen kids in western movies? If there’s something they all seem capable of doing, it is drawing! I mean even if it’s some disaster of a drawing, they are still capable.

Not everyone can be as talented as the likes of KoBe Taylor, Johann Setorwu or Kojo Antwi, but i mean, chale!

Now imagine if our education system included [with emphasis] drawing, would it not make it easier for the teller at your local bank to make manifest his ideas to say the(idling engineer (who has to wait for the next technological breakthrough [from outside the country] so as to build expertise in), who would better understand and execute ideas if the teller could at least make a reasonable sketch?

I ask this because, time and time, ideas have popped into my head that I thought would be really cool, but because of my lack of knowledge, have had to tell someone about the idea who would now try it out, and eventually, either give me something crappy, or more than often, not do it at all.

Now, way I see it, if drawing was made mandatory “or even quasi-mandatory” as writing is, this country would be one step closer to actually being innovative. What’s the point having ideas when they can’t be implemented?

If even half the population can make decent sketches, chale, implementing stuff wouldn’t be so difficult. Because at least, people can better understand ideas. If nothing at all, I know drawing would considerably improve the movies we make here, it’ll bring out the best in us, as we can better implement action sequences.

And maybe, just maybe, it’ll help our politicians better think through some of the policies they implement, and hopefully, bring out the proper politicians they should be.

I’m just saying, after all, these are the workings of my brain.

Gears and pistons in motion chale!!!