In its songs and drum language, ‘Agbadza’ talks about war, struggle, survival, leadership, bravery, patriotism, triumph, and death. It is also a type of dance where the dancer flaps both hands up and down continuously while lifting each foot in turn.
These themes are evident in EL’s journey in becoming one of Ghana’s most versatile and creative hip hop artists: In track 14 of his Best African Rapper (B.A.R.) mixtape; ‘Saa Na Eti3’, (which features fellow BBNZ artist Lil Shaker), he outlines his struggles, bravery and eventual success in the music industry- after graduating from University of Ghana with a second class upper.
A medium shot of a tape player/boom box against a white background, giving an old school, vintage feel which is off set throughout the video, by the black and white effect. This is then followed by a series of tracking shots/close ups of various objects; a globe, drums, drummers, an ‘Agbadza’ dancer. It also features drummers playing the traditional bells on drums with the ‘Gye Nyame’ Adinkra symbol on the sides, and fire eating/breathing men. Cameos are made by rappers such as Dex Kwasi, fellow BBNZ artist Kojo Cue, C-Real, XO-Senavoe and the current package deal and face of GH hipsterism; Joey B and Pappy Kojo.
EL stands before two fluorescent tubes made into a plus (positive) and minus (negative) sign, with his back to the camera: this is reminiscent of Jay Z’s ‘On To The Next One’ video, featuring Swizz Beats. Jay Z might be an inspirational figure for EL considering the occasional references to him in his music, the most recent being on track 7 of the ‘B.A.R’ mixtape ‘American Passport’ featuring Joey B; where he raps, ‘Up in the studio with Timbaland and Jigga, on stage with the best of the best and kingpins’.
Although I do not know whether this was intentional or unconscious, it came as no surprise to see these similarities: the black and white theme, girls standing on top of objects (a car in this case), things being set on fire, and even the stylists choice of ‘all black everything’ costume pieces.
EL, with this video, continues to raise the standards in the Ghanaian hip hop scene (in the music video field, especially) that very few are able to catch up with, or surpass. It is clear he has a great machine behind him in terms of his record label. That said, I can’t wait to see what’s next.