ALBUM REVIEW: BBnZ mates Shaker & Ko-Jo Cue make consolidation of new school leadership with “Pen & Paper”

The days of anticipation are finally demised. The Pen and Paper album has been publicly conceived. Emanating from the camp of label mates, Ko-Jo Cue and Shaker, the BBnZ Live boys furnish music enthusiasts with a musical meal encompassing 13 songs which bear the potency to serve the purpose of nourishment. 

Listeners are welcomed to the album with a freely expressive record birthed at a time the duo prepare to embark on a journey from Kumasi to Accra. The record apparently comes across as a cypher where Ko-Jo Cue and Shaker speak generally on issues, without a restriction to a specific theme. They massacre the instrumental assembled by IPappi to heighten expectations for an interesting listen of the album.

Bearing the album title, Pen and Paper emerges as the second tune on the album. There is an existence of familiarity with the track because it was earlier released as a single off the album, accompanied by visuals which have earned positive reviews. Touted as leaders of the new school, the duo make their submissions to justify their acclaimed ranks in the rap game. They are also heard patronizing one of the elements of the Hiphop culture by sampling some missiles to direct at fellow rappers, notably the new ones.

On Man Dey, the BBnZ Live mates basically demonstrate their resilience in the rap game. A message is also conveyed to other rappers to evacuate the rap scene because the duo are poised to showcase a dominance in the culture. More shots are fired at other rappers on Uh Huh Eh Heh. Let me provide just some 2 examples of such shots. Ko-Jo Cue fired one as follows: “….You be bush meat I never go pect you”. In one of Lil Shaker’s bars, he also stated the following:  …make you no try you no go fit copy my swag poof daabi. Debby, sister, e be picture I dey try paint….” Was this directed at Medikal? Well, I prefer not to delve further, let the court of public opinion assume hearing over this line. On Pressure, Lil Shaker expresses admiration for an anonymous artiste and desires to have a collaboration with him. Ko-Jo Cue also does similar on the song produced by King Jamal. A guest rapper, named Ru also delivered a promising verse on the song.

The album continues with High Me where the Leaders of the New School host artiste cum producer, Magnom to lay a simple but soothing hook to intersperse the verses by the duo, hinged on a theme primarily centred on an encounter with the love of their lives. The politics of the music industry is addressed on the following tune on the album. On the instrumental put together by Bedi Drumkits, Shaker and Ko-Jo Cue make submissions which apparently show a reflection of the reality in Ghana’s music industry. They attribute the hindrances in the industry to politics. Up and coming artiste, Kwabena Boham also registered his concerns about the industry on the song.

Pen & Paper back cover and tracklist

Ground Up Chale prodigy, Kwesi Arthur was invited to make a vocal contribution and also lay a verse on Up & Awake. There is primarily a demonstration of relentlessness in strive for success on this record. On Me Ti Ate, Cue and Shaker mainly express their reaction to positive feedbacks they receive from patrons of their music, notably the females.

On Just Know, Listeners are treated to a gently delivered vocal piece by Ko-Jo Cue, supported by Lil Shaker. A contemporary Highlife sound featuring Lynx Entertainment prodigy, KiDi follows on the album. Christened Things We Do 4 Love, Shaker and Ko-Jo Cue disseminate their romance induced verses, whilst Kidi serves some soothing melodies on it. Untitled is the penultimate track on the album. It is another familiar track on the album because it was released as a single off the album, with its visuals which have earned extensive public approval since its release.

The duo decided to conclude the album with a solemn tune titled Hmmh.  Their concluding submissions are interwoven with a succulent vocal delivery by Afrosoul singer, Cina Soul. Ko-Jo Cue and Shaker primarily gave a narration of their experience in the industry thus far to climax the album.

General Views

The Pen & Paper album literally conveys that the only instruments traditionally required for the Leaders of the New School to execute their artistry are a pen and a paper, prima facie. This is a Hiphop dominant album, It is patently obvious that the album is for the culture. A couple of bars outlined on the album may ignite some healthy rivalries as a normal Hiphop phenomenon. The dense presence of subtle missiles, braggadocio, inter alia, heard are expected and typical of a project conforming to the worldview of the Hiphop culture.

In my opinion, I would have preferred if some of the instrumentals were more occupied with lengthier verses. Albeit making this observation, I think the pen work was impressive. I admire how figures of speech were employed.

On the productions, I submit that the instrumentals were appropriately cooked for the songs. I, therefore, commend the following producers for a good work done on the album: Ipappi, Vacsonit, King Jamal, Magnom, Bedi Drumkits, K Wypa, PAQ, BB, and JayMera. Shaker also decided to participate in the productions. The Executive Producers were A. Bekoe and K. Blay. The guest artistes also included Kwesi Arthur, Magnom, Kidi, Cina Soul, Ru and Kwabena Boham. Generally, their contributions were promising.

After my listen, I subscribe to the conviction that this joint project has the capacity of positioning the duo as Leaders of the New School. 

On a scale of 1 to 100%, I rate the album 78%. Felicitations to Ko-Jo Cue and Shaker for this solid project.

Stream or Purchase here


By Seth Mireku
mirekuseth16@gmail.com
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