Hailing from the woods of Buokrom in the Ashanti Region, Ghana is a buzzing rapper bearing the name Osei Kwaku Vincent. Known in showbiz circles as Strongman Burner, the lyrically endowed rap artiste has been treating music patrons to a host of lyrically dense singles for the past few years. Strongman gained mass attention when he won GHOne TV’s maiden and only edition of its Tha Next Big Thang in Gh Hip-hop in 2012. In the year 2016, he was signed unto highly decorated rapper, Sarkodie’s record label, SarkCess Music. Some of the captivating singles Strongman has released over the years include Oh Joe, Transformer, Baby Girl, Move It and Hook and Lines.
Strongman Burner has decided to outdoor his discography with a 7-track EP titled STN which is an abbreviation for Still That Ni99a. As manifested in the title, the central theme of the project is primarily about Strongman emphasizing his pedigree in the rap game. With this project, he expresses his intention to extinguish all doubts & pessimism about his prowess and sustainability in the industry.
Strongman introduces listeners to the project with a track bearing the title Vision. He delivers on this tune like a prominent clergyman delivering a sermon in a synagogue. He raps non-intermittently about his vision as an artiste where he expresses that the actualization of this vision is only the preserve of God to determine. Sɛ mɛyɛ yie, anaa me nyɛ yie yɛ Nyankopↄn decision, he says. His label mate, Akwaboah made an ushering into the joint with a chorus well-knitted with wisdom. He dropped the wisdom laden chorus after Strongman had laid a pretty lengthy sermon-like verse.
The other tracks on the EP are Dose, Paper, Undisputed, Still that Ni99a, Monster Remix and My Vibe.
Monster Remix features B4bonah and the CEO of his label, Sarkodie. The song is a remix of one of the singles he released prior to the release of the STN EP. The original song features B4bonah only. The remix is embellished with a verse from Sarkodie who augmented Strongman’s quest to prove his worth in the game. Mame nka ne nnɛ, nyɛ moa fɛ ne Strongee, the former BET Award winner stated.
Paper features BBnZ linchpin, Lil Shaker. The content of the song is focused on money, the enviable symbol of affluence and a tool for social stratification. In this song, Strongman apparently sought to speak about a reality in our society with regard to our attitude about money. He opens his verse with the line below;
Asore bɛn na yɛ bↄ sikani bayifoↄ. To wit, in which church will a wealthy person be tagged as a witch or wizard? Obviously, such persons will not be victims of such slander but will rather be served with treats of prominence within the church community. Strongman spoke about this reality amid a gentle hook laid by Lil Shaker effortlessly.
Blistering hip hop/hip life artiste, Kwesi Arthur came through to lighten up one of the songs on the STN EP dubbed My Vibe. Strongman employed braggadocio, one of the norms of the hip hop culture, as he begins his verse with the following line; these kids want to be with me on the same slot, but ɛnyɛ yiase na yahyɛ the same cloth. He portrays himself as belonging to a class of his own, perhaps a supreme chamber of a hall of fame. Kwesi Arthur also complemented his hook with an interesting verse targeted at music patrons. He spoke about the hypocrisy of music consumers.
Multitalented artiste, Worlasi who has his unconventional way of doing music was also hosted on this project. He delivered what was expected of him on the song bearing the title Undisputed. As the title says, Strongman talks about the undisputed nature of his talent on this tune.
Strongman decided to go solo on Dose & Still that Ni99a where he delivered more verses to prove his worth. He submitted some weighty lines on these tracks.
Calling me a goat is an understatement next time wo bɛ frɛ me the sheep – Strongman Burner.
The STN EP is a very impressive submission by Strongman Burner. The more listen to the EP, the more I appreciate the enviable wealth of lyricism Strongman possesses. The delivery of wise counsel and lyrics that mirror the reality of our society in a very audible manner makes the project worth listening.
I am also impressed with the lyrical improvement Strongman has managed to make in recent times. It is trite knowledge that rap is a literary act that involves an enormous usage of literary devices. However, Strongman was previously so obsessed with similes in his rap verses. The excessive use of similes was creeping elements of easy predictability and boredom in the patronage of his music. The STN EP has however demonstrated that he has minimized the use of similes in his verses.
The STN EP is clearly a hip hop project. It is patently one for the culture. It is necessary to note that hip hop music in the modern era has varieties. Strongman seems to prefer the hardcore norm. The STN EP is indicative of this preference. For hardcore rap, it appeals to only a limited class of music patrons across the demographic spectrum. If Strongman indeed desires to attain commercial success, then I will advice him to be more commercial with his music. Being commercial does not necessarily mean that he must entirely abandon the hip hop music for afrobeat/afro pop. There is a hip hop variety or sub – genre known as trap music. Trap music bears the commercial fortitude that can accelerate an artiste’s commercial acquisitions. Kwesi Arthur proved this with Grind Day. La meme Gang has done it with Godzilla. Medikal has made waves with How Much. Strongman can consider doing songs of such nature, they are likely to sell. The hardcore rap songs, with some even being ‘hookless’ usually appeals to only a limited class of music lovers, that is the rap heads. But the songs which can actually get his name on the streets, enjoy the desired rotation on the airwaves are the commercial hip hop songs and the afrobeat.
The productions are commendable. Strongman was served with beats that are appropriate for his style. The producers who worked on the EP were Strongman’s regular producer, Tubhani, Ace producer, Jayso, KC Beatz and Geemix.
By Seth Mireku