REINVENTING ONE’S SELF AND SOUND : BISA KDEI ORIGINAL ALBUM REVIEW
The year is 2013 and everywhere you go from Saturday night entrainment to house parties, street carnivals to cooperate events, one song you cannot escape is Azonto Ghost. A song which was a soundtrack had grown into a nationwide hit single for Bisa Kdei. A few months down the line, we would come to learn that our favourite high school love song “Dear My love comma,” was by this very same artiste Bisa Kdei who would take over our music scene with several monster hits. Regarded as one of the last propagators of Ghanaian highlife music, Bisa has always served consumers nothing short of great songs. His legacy continues to grow and he extends his run with his highly anticipated album “Original”. The 14-track album offers a blend of the old Bisa we grew up on and the artiste he has been morphing into over the last few years. The blend of Highlife music, Afrobeats and bits of pop makes up this beautifully crafted work. The project features Stonebwoy, Sefa, Camidoh, Teni, Kidi and Memphis Depay. Memphis Depay also showed off his musical prowess with some savage vibes.
The opening song of the album, “Next Chapter,” is an emotional song where he shares never heard stories about the setbacks, challenges, and painful moments he has been through. He talks about how people attributed the success of his songs Mansa and Brother Brother to the death of his mother who people had said was a ritual sacrifice. He goes on to speak on the controversial 2016 VGMA where he lost out on Artiste of the Year. He, however, through in words of encouragement “nobody can take what belongs to you,” and gives thanks to his fans and staff. Bisa has never been one to be vocal about things so hearing him pour out his heart like this means he has lived with all this pain for years but has finally been brave enough to speak about it.
On “Complete Man,” featuring Camidoh the pair sing about how their love interests make them feel complete and whole. As the saying goes, we are all incomplete till we find that one person that completes us. For Bisa and Camidoh, their women are the last piece to their puzzles. They validate the biblical notion that when two people are in union they become one.
Perhaps the most anticipated song on the album, “Drinks on Me” featuring football star Memphis Depay, both acts on the flirty tale. They take moments to serenade a woman with words with the hopes of taking her out on a date. In their hopes to win her over they let her know they are taking care of all the costs involved. I mean it is only right that you foot the bill if you want to take someone out on a date. A can or two of Orijin, some good food and a breathtaking environment on some beachfront resort in Axim would not be a bad first date.
The theme of the album takes a detour on “One Day,” featuring Teni. One cannot pursue love if they do not have money to make love and romance sweeter as said by the intelligent Davido “Love is sweet but when money enters, love is sweeter”. They talk about the drive to make money to change their current situations. The fact that you do not have today does not mean you cannot have more than enough tomorrow. We get a taste of the old Bisa Kdei on songs like the
Stonebwoy-featured song “Party” an Afro-highlife about making merry and enjoying the moments we have with our loved ones. The song advocates putting your happiness first. On the nostalgic song “Bank” we relive the days when we would jam to Brother Brother but this time around instead of reconnecting with his brother, Bisa tells us after his drive for money One day, he has hit the jackpot with his account with lots of money.
On “Are You Okay” which is an upbeat Amapiano song is another fun fill song which encourages one to take some off to have some fun and enjoy the moment. This shows the type of artiste Bisa is morphing into as he continues to catch up with the times. He gives us another feel of the new Bisa on songs like Tonight and Kakyere Me with the latter being a more laid-back Highlife meets R&B blend.
Being the lover the boy he is, the majority of the album’s content speaks on different love subjects with other songs like “Too Much” with Sefa, “Love You” featuring KiDi and the album’s final song, “Over You”. In the final song, Bisa opens up about being left broken hearted by his lover but he still wishes to get back with the woman that served him breakfast. He is so committed to getting back with her that he resorts to speaking in the language of love “French” to convince her that he is not over her and wants to get back with her.
Original is perhaps Bisa’s attempt to usher in a new phase of his career while maintaining the basis of what he is known for. The different genres on the project seem experimental but also show that Bisa has range and can switch within genres when it comes to it. As a producer himself, the production on the album was well-tailored to suit his style regardless of the genre he was singing on. As much as I enjoyed parts of the album, there were moments where some of the songs were filled with repetitive content. Either way, Bisa with this album under his belt can usher in a new phase where he can blend other genres with his highlife foundation like he did on this album.