The image I am starting at screams of “Akira” at a distance. It seems the 1988 Neo-Tokyo, cyberpunk anime served as inspiration for the latest project by Ghanaian spoken word artist, WhoIsDeydzi.
I see no drawings of motorcycles and biker gangs in the artwork so I may be wrong about the anime connection but the artwork screams of concepts foreign to what one is used to in the realm of Ghanaian poetry.
The cover art continues to the back section which details the tracklist and reveals a Morpheus look-alike holding a red and blue pill in both palms.
This looks like the missing or bonus material in the “Animatrix” collection. I guess the Wachowski brothers movie, “The Matrix”, is rather the inspiration and not “Akira”.
(The Matrix is however said to be inspired by Akira so I guess there is some connection)
Eye Red, is an ambitious artistic project about politics, religion, and finding oneself. WhoIsDeydzi is heavily vulnerable in the body of work and truly uses his art to express his questions, frustrations, and will to persevere with pidgin, poetry, and real-life conversations.
From the prelude, listeners are offered a glimpse into the mind of the young poet. The journey starts off hopeful, gradually turns dark, and finally, into a scream for help to understand oneself.
The album shines with creativity, features, classic hip-hop beats, and rap that get you bumping and nodding internally.
The content is relevant and colorful. Pidgin, punchlines, and bluntness are sprinkled with swear words to paint the reality in which the artist views the world and country in which he resides.
If you love wordplay, there is enough imagery to consume your senses. There is also a nice balance of skits, poetry, and music to complete the scenery of WhoIsDeydzi’s version of the matrix.
The album however is nineteen tracks long and can be summarized as an amalgamation of about three EP’s.
The track arrangement could easily be split three ways into themes of struggle, religion & politics. Identity is the common denominator amongst the three.
The tracks are unique, though, in certain instances, it feels one is listening to a remix or alternate version of certain tracks.
There is a clear repetition of ideas and themes which tend to drag the project towards the end. Thus one listens waiting for something new to be said and is left slightly disappointed.
Disappointed not because the track is unfulfilling but because the track order has exposed the listener to the artist’s greatness and ingenuity; leaving one expectant of something fresh.
Despite these negatives, the project clearly has the makings of a classic. The concept is crisp and truthful; addressing and incorporating the current social climate and everyday questions and struggles that Ghanaians face.
The features on this project are awesome compliments to the poetry by the main artist.
KariJay on the track “Hometeam” breaks the monotony of the project and injects a youthful vibrance to the album. Her lyrics of hope despite the pullbacks of life create an anthem that anyone riding on a mantra of ‘by all means necessary’ will jubilate to.
(This is my favorite track due to the optimistic sentiments by Karijay in the chorus.)
Blaqad on “Pray for Me” lends his voice to the chorus like an essential color of thread in a kente fabric being woven. His presence is a layer of truth and a reminder of the songs that life sings to us every day.
4 Shege Reasons, is a bold submission in the creative space. I believe it will have a good reception and provide lessons to the artist in his upcoming projects.
WhoIsDeydzi is just getting started and I can’t wait to see how the world receives this epic, and hunger for what is next.
Welcome to the Ghanaian Pidgin Matrix.
4 Shege Reasons: Eye Red, comes out on Monday 6th July, 2020.
Click to listen to stream or buy the album.
Written by Hondred Percent
Dodzi Korsi Aveh, known in creative circles as WhoIsDeydzi, is a Ghanaian creative who tells stories through, spoken word poetry, hip-hop, theatre, film, and paint.
He also works as an educator and advocate for Pan Africanism, mental health, and the environment.
He is regarded as an eccentric performer that has captivated audiences through numerous thrilling performances across the genres he expresses himself in.
Dodzi uses his art to speak out on things he is passionate about as his own way of campaigning for social change.