First there was the announcement of the album and the rather inventive approach its release was going to take – a track by track rolling out on streaming services – and then, months later, the resultant playlist’s culmination into UK-based Ghanaian hip-hop artist, Kobi Onyame’s third studio album, GOLD.
Gold comes in – after 2011 and 2013’s Green Green Grasses and Glory, respectively – to boost the fresh, bracing quality of Kobi Onyame’s oeuvre. (Ayo Kobi, we see the alliteration going on qith your titles, G.)
The album’s official release statement rightfully describes Gold as featuring “a coming of age Kobi” – which fact is symbolised in the choice of opening track – the Gameli Tordzro-assisted ‘Home’ – in which Kobi sings asking a Dede to run and “go tell [his] mother [he’s] come home.” In Gameli Tordzro’s spoken word rendition, he speaks of seeds having been sown and trees having grown “after many years and many tears.”
This song and its placement is of distinct significance which could be summed up thus: after many “years” of journeying around, Kobi Onyame returns “home” a more mature, perceptive and level-headed man, to share all the lessons and insights he’s gleaned – all via this album.
Gold is a self produced project whose soundcape, according to Kobi himself, “captures the highlife and warm vibes of West African greats such as Fela Kuti and Osibissa whilst keeping it hip-hop.”
And indeed, Kobi did trying the horns out for this one. They blare and thump on track 2 – Imminence – as Kobi preaches love and self-belief, emphasizing the imminence os greatness.
The aforementioned themes -love, self belief- along with those of positivity (mind over matter), tenacity and achievement, are recurrent on the album.
But for the appearance of Glasgow based Kenyan artist, Heir of The Cursed on track four, the album would have been an all Ghanaman show – with appearances from M.anifest, M3NSA, Jayso, and Wanlov. The track, titled Wedadi – an Arabic word which could loosly be translated as “harmony,” begins with a Fela Kuti soundbite – “you no go die unless you wan die” – which captures the essence of the song – rooted in the ‘law of attraction’ philosophy. Beauty, love and appreciation are this song’s central themes; and we get one of the album’s philosophical moments with Kobi musing on “beauty even in death.”
The album closes with Kill the Body, an anti-prejudice declaration in which Kobi enjoins “You” to look beyond the physical; intimating that God doesn’t judge him based on the merely superficial, but what lies within – in the soul.
Ultimately, Gold is an album preoccupied with love. Love of self, of people, and of life; and we could sum up it’s general mood with these words Kobi chants on the third song, Chosen ones: “it’s just vibes, good vibes.”