On 'Logos II,' Pappy Kojo's goodwill is present, but his driving energy lacks steam [Pulse Album Review]
"Logos II" is a decent debut, but not an amazing album.
Despite living in Verona, Italy for over a decade, the Sekondi-Takoradi-born rapper has always represented his roots in his music.
Born Jason Gaisie, Pappy Kojo grew up on '90s hip hop and early 2000s Hiplife and that has nurtured an affinity for Rap music, with Obrafour as one of his inspirations. He even refers to himself as 'Taadi Obrafour,' a nod to both his home region and the hiplife legend, Obrafour.
Alongside his comrade, Joey B, Kojo belongs in an exclusive club that has influenced the music scene.
When "Awo'a" dropped, the dreadlock spotting, lanky looking Pappy Kojo's influence was like a bug spreading across the youth, mostly High School kids. His fashion sense of tattered jeans, NFL throwback jerseys, bandanas, and a fanciful squatting move in his videos had become a trend.
A bout of depression following an uneventful night at the 2016 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards and its corresponding troll on social media would snuff the confidence out the rapper leading to a break from music and online activities.
In 2017, he returned to the scene with two singles, the love-tinged "M'akoma" with Joey B and "Abena," a highlife throbbing record featuring Bisa Kdei. However, it was the global hit track "Akwaaba" by award-winning Ghanaian producer GuiltyBeatz that rekindled the goodwill people had for Pappy Kojo.
Recognising the rekindling of his star power, the rapper tapped into the prevailing trap sound of 2019, dropping a couple of singles like "Uomo'', "Balance," "Green Means Go" and the Amapiano influence "Thomas Pompoyeyaw," the remix featured South Africa's Busiswa.
The single releases were all a buildup to the release of "Logos II."
“Logos II' was the name of a ship that used to come to Takoradi when I was young", Pappy opens up on the title of his debut album. "Everyone was excited to get on board because it had books, toys, and all that other good stuff. So, the album is called Logos II because that is the kind of feeling I want my fans to experience as they listen to it."
That 'feeling' is apparent across the 15-tracks that make up the album. Exploring the themes of love, heartbreak, and the joys of living; the album transcends the planes of Hip-Hip-Hop and Afropop.
After setting the scene with the "Intro," a folkloric tune that serves as both a warning and an urgency towards preparing against an assault. Pappy dives in, head first into his Hip-Hop bag on the first five tracks.
"Yehu" with Medikal is about laying out his rap credentials. The trap sounding, Unkle Beatz-produced record feels like it was recorded in 2019. On "You Know," Pappy, Ko-Jo Cue, and Shaker emptied their Hip-Hop clips, spraying rhymes like SAMO over the beat.
However, rapper Ko-Jo Cue stole the show on the record with his flawless delivery and flows. The Kiddblack and Sarkodie featured "Uomo" showcased boastful rhymes by Sarkodie ("I'm the saviour (of rap)/There wouldn't be any excitement if not for me). Pappy Kojo stole the show on this record, which was released in December 2019.
Like most good rappers, laying a verse on a song is the easiest part for Pappy Kojo, and sometimes, this good gift could ruin some good sounding records. An example is on "My Heart" featuring Kuami Eugene who renders a beautiful, catchy hook.
Pappy Kojo's 'excessive' raps snuffed out the 'sweetness' in the song though. Songs like "My Heart" deserve just 12-bars or less of rap lines. Anything more is an overkill.
One of the standouts of "Logos II" is the excellent A&R job that went into recruiting features for the album as exemplified on "Tonight". With its thumping drums and vintage guitar licks, Pappy Kojo and songstress Adina Thembi takes turn to affirm their love to their love interests.
Take out the monotonous, repetitive "anibre y'ati" (which means tonight in Pappy's native Fanti language), Adina Thembi offers the record its lustre. Her voice is crisp and endearing as she pours out the words "you're the one I long for/Promise me that you'd stay" to her lover.
On one of the standouts of the album "All Day All Night", Pappy Kojo assembled two notable guests from his native Western Region: Gyedu-Blay Ambolley is the evergreen, eclectic highlife veteran and Kofi Kinaata, one of the shinning lights of Ghana music to accentuate the maxim "the best comes from the West."
The mid-tempo Afropop tune is a call to celebrate life and also, the first collaborative efforts between these three music stalwarts from the Western Region. It's a party record as emphasized by the interpolated Notorious B.I.G "Party and Bullshit" line in the hook.
Gyedu-Blay Ambolley's ad-libs and his unmistakable 'simigwa' raps (akin to Nigeria's lamba), as well as Kofi Kinaata's humorous renditions, molds "All Day All Night" its feel-good texture.
"Guilty Co" (read as Guilty Conscience) taps into the hip hop side of Pappy. Along with Akan and Fameye, they explore the concept of dual thoughts in the midst of temptation. Akan plays the role of the Ying that pricks your mind against being vain.
Fameye performs hook duties while Pappy Kojo, the Yang, tries to convince you to succumb to temptations. On the DREDW produced "Nampa" (i.e sumptuous meat, a metaphor for women), Pappy Kojo, Magnom and Kelvyn Boy describe the type of women they would settle with.
Pappy Kojo's roots as a Sekondi-Trakoradi native and a speaker of Fanti has been a trump card for him. In a profession where Fanti, though intelligible with the predominantly spoken Twi, it's quite difficult for many to discern what Pappy says on his songs thus, most of his lyrics fly over their heads.
Any Fanti speaker would be surprised how "filthy" some of his lyrics are especially when sex is involved. On songs like "Nampa," "Guilty Co," Pappy was "too raw" (uncensored), as he often describes his lyrics.
Artists placing on their albums old releases is not out of place. But for Pappy Kojo to fill "Logos II" with three songs from two years ago would raise eyebrows.
This, however, makes sense from the commercial or marketing standpoint. "Logos II" is not only an album that shines a light on Pappy,'s music range, it satisfies the needs of his fans who have been clamouring for a body of work from him for five years. The album also expresses the deep affection that Pappy Kojo holds for Takoradi.
"Logos II" scores high sonically - the producers who worked on the album crafted beats that fell within the range of Pappy. Feature-wise, the guests did not disappoint as each held their own. The lack of a standout track(s) to drive the album could be a potential downside.
This notwithstanding, "Logos II" is a decent debut, but not an amazing album. There are songs to enjoy and others to forget. As I listened to the album, I kept wondering how ''Logos II" would have been received if it was released at least three years ago? The Pappy Kojo goodwill is present but the driving energy lacks steam.
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