In an industry that’s immersed in voices that churn out mediocrity, advocate frivolity et cetera, it’s always heartening and refreshing when artistes go against the grain and peddle relevant content to the masses. And that’s why Ko-jo Cue needs to be applauded for his 8th mixtape: “The Shining.”

Hours prior to the release of the tape, the Bantama native tweeted the following words:

“So when you get this tape, whether you like it or not, just know one thing: THE WORLD IS YOURS… ACCEPT YOURSELF.”


And he more or less reiterates these words on the opening song of the 15 track mixtape: “A Ghetto Story” rapping:

“….’rich people be special, you can’t be like them’: ain’t that some shit?// one day I go tell my kid that the world is his and give am some vim.”

“A Ghetto Story” tells Ko-jo’s ‘ghetto to glory’ story and here, he urges listeners to go all out in pursuit of their dreams.


The dope instrumentations scattered all over the tape were supplied by a production team made up of Ko-jo’s BBNZ labelmate Dj Juls, Yung Fly, Alberto and Bedi, to name but a few.

Airmail Interlude,” which features UK based Trebla, is a very personal song in which Ko-jo pens a letter to his friend overseas telling him of happenings -mostly unfortunate- back home. Trebla replies with an equally heartfelt letter informing Ko-jo that the grass isn’t really greener on the other side, especially when you’re living as an [illegal] immigrant. It is a very real song that will resonate with many. Attentive listeners are guaranteed to pick some valuable life lessons from this joint.

Track 14, “Ewiase,” which is the rapper’s favourite tune on the mxtape is about the harsh realities of living life in this world: jealousy, hatred, malice, betrayal and basically, the two-faced nature of people. Afro-soul singer, Eli supplies the hook to this one.

There are two things a listener can’t help but notice after listening to “The Shining”:

– Ko-jo’s maturity which is manifested in his choice of beats and features, lyrics and themes.

– The very impressive efforts of the featured artistes.

M.anifest makes his contribution to the tape with a verse on “Burger Highlife”– a song about addiction. Ko-jo raps about Twitter addiction and takes listeners into the minds and lives of Twitter addicts or better, ‘Twitter celebs.’ True to his aim of getting people to accept themselves, Ko-jo raps:

“What be your cocaine? Chase it, let it cure your pain// mummy say e go drive you insane and she’s prolly right but everybody needs a high in life.” Nice… but Ko-jo, not all ‘highs’ should be encouraged, brother.


With this tape, Ko-jo stated that he wanted to ‘provide entertainment, education and inspiration’ and if the songs on “The Shining” are anything to go by, Ko-jo Cue’s work here is done.

In an open letter written in December last year to announce “The Shining,” Ko-jo described the tape as not my debut album but it is too good to be labeled as a mixtape. I prefer to call it a street album. Accurate. Much more accurate, however, would be “The Shining is too good to be labeled a mixtape, it is, without a doubt, album material. A very good album at that.”