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I’ve always had incredible respect for Ghanaian Hip-hop. I feel they’re just behind South Africa as kings of African Hip-hop. Recently, I’ve been rethinking my conviction while I consider naming Ghana the outright kings. The only thing in my way is the acceptance of trap music — a sub-genre of rap as an household genre in South Africa. As I stated here, Soundcloud is more than just a platform to showcase your music, it’s a chronicler of the beauty of a form of art across several generations and it’s led me to another underground beauty of an act.

Life is a champion at purposeful coincidences and its instrument is fate. A few weeks to writing this article, I stumbled upon Captain Planet and his banging single Respek. This triggered a new hunger to discover the continued beauty of Ghanaian Hiphop, so, I hit up my Ghanaian padres on Twitter; @Bassitmnb and @negussabbali for some hook ups and they duly delivered me more names than I could get through in 2 years, other Ghanaian Hip-hop lovers helped out a nigga for which I’m grateful; Bryan’s name came up. Two weeks later, Nico penned a masterful piece on LOS which led me to go deeper into BrisB’s work on SoundCloud. Guess whose name came up; Bryan the Mensah featuring another act whose name I’d also been given; Kwesi Arthur on a song titled Darling Falling — a song about hunger and desire for the very top. The first thought resonating through my mind was He’s discovered his sound.

Bryan the Mensah is quite the master of flows, with impeccable lyricism and a substance to his rap that might just elude you while you romance his consistent virginal sounds.

His EP Friends With The Sun evokes the Nasty C Bad Hair feelings, with a little less trap, more brilliant, experimental and sonically unique, diverse production and articulation of grown up issues while discussing familiar issues with matured capability. While Nasty C gave us the realness of teenage handling, Bryan gives us the dose of a man coming of age — His track Jesse featuring Tim Lyre and Fii typifies this; while he might not be as skilled at Nasty yet, with that gaps and excesses to his music, he makes up with empathy and maturity of issues dealt with. Where Nasty would have dismissed the girl on Jesse with talks of weed high and overt objectification of women as sex objects, Bryan asks her to let him know which splurges onto Last December, a somber R&B sound fit for his sing songy trap, talking about a relationship, in layers of narration about conversations, and hopes.

As I stated here, Ghanaian Hip-hop has stayed with the culture in a terrain similar to Nigeria, for love for dance music and it’s about to reap the benefits of consistency and perseverance as Bryan sounds so elite, better than a lot of American rappers. While her rappers have also sang on dance music, they release more actual rap songs, than their Nigeria counterparts. Yes, rap isn’t limited to the conscripts of a particular sound of culture, some songs are more rap than others. Ghana is churning out an exciting crop of rappers right now, and like Chicago, their sounds are so unified and the wave is on the horizon. They will take over if they don’t deviate for hunger radio plays and concerts tickets. It’s hard, but people are taking notice.

Rap is an attractive genre; if people keep at it long enough, people won’t only take notice, they’ll want more of it and it would have penetrated the previously seeming impossible interiors of African music. Don’t drop the baton now, Ghana. Bryan definitely doesn’t sound like doing that on Pop Mandem featuring Jayso, a celebration of polished, adroit lyricism deep in poignant, vindictive, braggadocio filled fire dropping of rap music on banging UK sounds as he raps I go always stay true… You fit miss me with the fake dudes. Asides the already mentioned traits to the song, there’s the featured Vet Jayso who is something else. He raps defiantly, bullishly about his passion for the rap game and basically asks critics what they want from him after all he’s give them and how he won’t change who he is. Oh he’s good, he’s so good and I’d love to listen to more of him. Talk about a fitting ode to the passion for rap, this flies the African flag aloft previously set heights. The sun is definitely alive on a big fuck you to pundits and critics. Guess what Bryan and Jayso; y’all can’t escape us. We’re here for y’all and the culture, not against y’all.

The greatest challenge for a rapper in Africa is finding a niche, for a share of a market saturated by listeners fixated only on dance music. Over the years African rappers; from Prokid’s Bhampa to Khuli Chana’s Mnatubawen, to AKA’s Jealousy, KO’s Cara Cara and Camp Mulla’s singles,have tried inconsistently to define fused sounds for themselves, merging the inputs of widely accepted traits of Hiphop to African essence dance in percussions and beat patterns. None has come to remotely achieving same on as large a scale as Bryan has on his EP. Others go through careers slaloming sounds to no rest, without hitting the jackpot. Bryan has done just that, and endearing himself to the market won’t be a problem with the right publicity team strategically positioning him. While the sound on Good Design featuring Seyohh might not seem like much because it holds little weight to most, his fusion of sounds and terrains for a unique sound is his biggest win on the EP, despite boasting lyricism, flows and substance. He makes you dance — African style, yet sounds like any other rapper.

Even on a trap beat like Wallabow You, his producers managed to sneak tingles of African sounding instrument into his rolling snare, almost switching the sound and making it African. Although I think he’s a little self-obsessed on this one and it pales to See the Move for example which also deals with similar issues, but widens its scope of address.

In all, Bryan the Mensa is mindful creative who’s only just bit the first layer of his sizzling repertoire. He’s a rapper’s rapper and appeals to all forms of listeners including Hip-hop elitists. I hope this EP gets to be more than a SoundCloud king and elevates BTM to more than SoundCloud royalty.

However, he needs to broaden the scope of his themes and diversify. There are a myriad of issues in his own life that could benefit from his articulation — catharsis for healing. He needs to go deeper into himself. Most of this album, his themes seemed a repetition of relationships, self-obsession in discussing gossips on 3 songs, and shabby issues on dreams whatnot. His themes are not deep enough, they deep ones are repeated. Dig deeper Bryan for diversity of themes, you owe your immense talent that. One thing is for sure, I’m rooting for you.

Fun Fact: My favourite song by him isn’t even on this EP. It is Vintage Fan Yogo featuring NeL Magnum; a buccaneering beat that takes my mind… Cop some Bryan the Mensah on his SoundCloud here.

For more BTM, be sure to follow him on Twitter and visit his website for exclusives and merchandise.


Website: http://bryanthemensah.creatorlink.net/

By PennedMusingsNG for Urban Central. You can follow him on Twitter @Weird_Liberal

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Urban Central

Urban Central

Urban Central is the Internet Magazine for the millennial mind, focused on the issues that matter for an evolving generation. Do follow us, Urban Central.