Rap is alive and will never die in these parts. These are the words I tell myself anytime I hear rappers like Koo Kusi go about their business. His flow, cadence, delivery and storytelling ability are one of the best in these parts. Since his debut project 5foot3, He has been one of the rappers on my radar. When he released the trailer for his new project it was met with lots of joy and admiration. To understand the reception of his new project you would have to go back to 5foot3 a project which touched so many issues facing not only young people but lots of societies. “Greetings From Abroad” the 7-track EP is a testament to Koo Kusi’s captivating style which continues to win him, listeners and followers. Featuring R.B.D, AraTheJay, Victor Morgan, Michael Adjaloo, and Muyra Hub Studio.
The album title is a reference to a popular Ghanaian TV program of the same name “Greetings From Abroad” which featured Ghanaians living abroad who shared their stories about life overseas. For KooKusi, the project gives him the platform to share his story through his journey abroad through rap.
In the intro ‘Greetings’ which samples the theme song of the show “Greetings From Abroad” Koo, Victor Morgan and Michael Adjaloo talk about what the majority of Ghanaian youth currently dream of which is to “Japa” meaning travel abroad. The song talks about the life of an immigrant who is striving for a better life. It is a tale of how politics is chasing young Ghanaians out of their own homes and motherland because it gets unbearable to live here. As such the only means of survival is to travel out of here. They admit in the song that going abroad entails a lot but the crowd chorus is a reflection of the voices of countless Ghanaians who will do whatever it takes to escape the hardships in this country to live abroad and munch on the greener pastures.
In “From Abroad” Koo continues the story of travelling abroad where he starts by talking about taking loans and engaging in gambling just to raise enough to book tickets and get enough to cater for the costs of things out there after he had gotten admission to school abroad. He eventually raises the money and moves abroad because he has been told regardless of the struggles out there, he would be able to survive. In an honest breakdown, He raps about the long work hours, housing problems, and sacrifices he made to survive out there. He talks about the pressure from family back home who constantly call him for money and the excuses he had to conjure to escape financial burdens he had to assume just because he travelled abroad.
No song captures the concept of the project like “Nowhere Cool” featuring R.BD which tells the truth of how things are not like they seem. While he sheds some light on the current hardships in Ghana he also talks about the immigrant’s experience. R.B.D. raps shares the frustration of Ghanaina who is tired of the hardships and is looking for an escape from the hell he is going through. For him, heaven is not someplace in the skies but the blue, red and white stars of the U.S.A where he believes he will have a better life.
Contrary to what he believes, KooKusi paints a picture of the life of an immigrant living in the US. He shares the challenges that come with surviving in a foreign land which is said to be a land of milk and honey. The real message here is the contrast between the idea of something and the reality of the idea. Both rappers help us understand that life is never an easy thing no matter where you find yourself. I do agree it is not easy everywhere but this writer would very much love to be drinking bottles of origin and enjoying the sunrise with a bad b somewhere in L.A. But I do agree that as an immigrant would not be as smooth as we are made to believe in the movies.
‘Greatest Fear’ with AraTheJay is KooKusi’s reflection on life and the choices he has made and how those choices are affecting him. He reveals different fears that creep up on him as he grows in life. One of them is that he may never be able to live up to his true potential. He is afraid his greatest strength might become his greatest curse. This song hits home because as a young person, there is so much you want to achieve. Sometimes there are a lot of tools at your disposal to achieve your dreams but there is always that little voice creeping up on you that makes you feel you will not live up to what you are meant to be. Those moments of self-reflection can either get you back on your toes to strive to do more, or it gets to you so much it breaks you. Fear is an emotion that can make or break you but hopefully, it gives you the needed rejuvenation to strive for better.
Overall, “Greetings From Abroad” is a portrayal of Koo Kusi’s reality as a person who has faced a lot of struggles not just inward as seen in “Greatest Fear” but as a young person who is faced with surviving in another man’s land because he wants a better tomorrow. He possesses great storytelling skills that paint vivid images of the message he preaches in his songs. He can carry you along on this journey with him from song to song. Despite the struggles and challenges, KooKusi remains optimistic and reassures us that despite the negatives, there are moments which will change our story in ‘Nsuro’ (Feareth Not). He holds to the belief of succeeding in his quest for a better tomorrow. The flow of the project is one the best out this year. Each song syncs with the other beautifully in production and content.
The project is evidence of how powerful a piece of tool music is in telling stories and providing inspiration to many who need inspiration. If you ever needed a sign to understand how important it is to create an environment where we can all live and succeed without travelling abroad, this is it. The idea of “Glass Nkoaa” may sound very appealing, but it does not get easier out there. Rather, if we come together and create the system, we should be able to create abroad right here at home.