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FOKN Bois' New Album 'FOKN Ode to Ghana' Offers a Soul Cleanse for 'Children of the Sun'

It’s the Ghanaian hip-hop duo FOKN Bois’ third studio album, presented in collaboration with youth collective Yo Yo Tinz.

As promised, socially conscious, Ghanaian hip-hop duo FOKN Bois have released their FOKN Ode to Ghana Thursday.


It’s been nearly several years in the making, and has been described as “a tribute to highlife, hip-hop and afro-Jazz music” for “children of the sun, ” as the FOKN Bois put it in a lyric from the album.

What makes it sweeter is it’s free.99 and in collaboration with YoYo Tinz, the young collective documenting Ghana's burgeoning hip-hop scene. The exclusive was announced on their brand new website.

It’s the FOKN Bois emcees Emmanuel Owusu Bonsu (a.ka. Wanlov the Kubolor) and Mensah Ansah’s third effort, following up releases Fokn Wit Ewe in 2012 and Fokn Dunaquest in Budapest in 2011.

According to Yo Yo Tinz’s site, FOKN Ode to Ghana is based on Hobo Truffles’ hip-hop instrumental album of the same name that showcased Ghanaian Highlife samples made by hip-hop producers from around the world. FOKN Bois have meticulously laid their flows over them.

The eclectic, 21-track project won’t disappoint fans who have come to know FOKN Bois for their unconventional style of bringing depth and satire to their lyrics while commenting on the sociopolitical, economic, and Afro-religious issues affecting their homeland like a loss of cultural identity, skin bleaching, corruption as well as international currents such as black American’s so-called cultural appropriation of African culture. FOKN Ode to Ghana's narrative is packed with the rappers' signature wit, interlacing metaphor with sarcasm. And at times it’s humorous—we learn Ghanaian bus drivers are “f*ckin crazy.”

Here's the track listing:

Track list for "Fokn Ode to Ghana"

Throughout the sonic adventure, FOKN Bois implore their listeners to “listen to [their] African spirit/ tap into [their] African spirit.”

Offer a listening ear below, and expect a soul cleanse with this one, aptly timed with America’s “independence” day. And if you’re feeling particularly moved, consider purchasing a copy here.

Hungry? Consider listening to “Ghana Jollof” from Wanlov the Kubolor’s sibling Sister Deborah.

 

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6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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