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New Music: Rationale's 'Vessels EP' Seduces

The Zimbabwean-British singer Rationale, also known as Tinashe Fazakerley, has a beautiful new EP our that suggests great thing to come.

London—The Zimbabwe-born singer Tinashe Fazakerley, better known as Rationale, is a seductor—first as a crooner, yes, but also in the actual crooning.


“Tethered”, off his sophomore EP Vessels, starts at a very low ebb. You hear the first phrase “you should know better” but the next is curled into a sweet near-inaudible falsetto, and the one after is a poetic knot, “praying we don't make bridges, don't make waves”.

As the verse builds into the bridge, the language loosen up and the singing becomes more expansive so that when the big chorus drops, the explosion is that of a depth charge.

As a result, a chorus whose lead refrain is “nobody but you, nobody but you”—an otherwise rote lyric, is made much less so and even becomes cathartic. The same approach is brought to “Vessels”, “Prodigal Son” and to an extent on “Reciprocate” which makes up Vessels EP.

On each song, plain language is the fulcrum used to carry the complexities of poetic imagery and fine points of delivery, all of which are engined of course by the power in Rationale’s space shuttle of a voice.

This could only promise, at the very least, a satisfying debut, when it drops. Listen to the EP below.

Sabo Kpade is a regular OkayAfrica contributor. His short story Chibok was shortlisted for the London Short Story Prize 2015. His first play, Have Mercy on Liverpool Street was longlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award. He lives in London. You can reach him at sabo.kpade@gmail.com

Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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