By Clinton Efe Akporherhe
Koo Kumi had a lot to tell us in The Griot. His intent to inspire, advise, and motivate is well received.
On 28th November 2020, Koo Kumi released the much anticipated 10- track The Griot album. The majority of his fans knew what to expect from the spoken word poet. Koo Kumi had a lot on his mind and most of his attentive fans were aware of what he can do with words. My personal favorite before this album had to be either The greatest poem ever written and Dear future wife. Koo Kumi has with time mastered the act of invoking our spirit to either motivate, make us feel, or even make us love.
Ankonam came as a single off the album. A single is supposed to water the ground in which an album will be planted. Ankonam seem to be meant for his Ghanian fans since he spoke in his native language leaving a non-speaker with an underground palm wine tune and his words shattered in mystery. Manifesto of Dystopia was chosen as the first track on the album. This is a well-calculated step, for it immediately informs a novel listener of Koo Kumi’s dept and how easily he can reach the realms of the heart.
We can feel his pain, anger, and frustration when he said in the second verse “..there is pain in what I write. there is anger….frustration….revenge….vulgar in what I write…” Justifying his reason for sampling Prophet Odumeje’s words at the intro: “I am not a preacher of love”. Accra, the second track immediately invoked a whole new feeling as compared to the previous track. Here, Koo Kumi declared his love for his city. Telling us about the joy, laughter, dreams, and characteristics of the streets of Accra.
It was not until Same Old Song and How Did We Get Here that Koo Kumi began touching on critical political issues. How Did We Get Here is my personal favorite, especially the part where he gave his equation of Ghana politics. We can hear the pain in his voice as he voices out his frustration about the status quo. In Same Old Song, he criticized Ghana politicians and even went further to warn of an impending revolution, he said ” ..don’t let them sing these same old songs, remind them where they belong. Revolution is coming headstrong..” Together with Nene Narh, he undoubtedly made a classic. Koo Kumi even made a better pick with his features on How Did We Get Here with Ko-Jo Cue and Hilary. Hilary’s soft and calming voice will make any listener put this track on repeat.
Diary of Unfinished Poems seems very personal to Koo Kumi. He goes deep, showcasing his unmatched spoken words poetry prowess with calm and loving words when he said: “…count your blessings as if they were stars. for every time you smile, you give thirty-two reasons to be hopeful…” In the seventh track, If These Walls Could Talk, Koo Kumi left nothing hidden as he went vulgar and explicit to give a stern warning to young boys about the evil of rape by denouncing it to the latter. We can also hear something similar in In Your Pants.
Questions was an emotional one as Koo Kumi goes in, asking romantic, life-changing, and other important questions most touchingly and excitingly as possible. He made a special one for young boys, girls, and lovers in Just For You (Slow Down), advises about everyday life. The last two tracks Man of the House(interlude) and Man of the House was a powerful conclusion, as Koo Kumi gives his thoughts on what he believed it takes to be a man.
Compared to his other body of work like Woke on the Mountain and An Ode to a New Moon, Koo Kumi gave his fans a satisfying and largely experimental album. Although for the most part, The Griot is free-flowing and very musical. Koo Kumi could have done better with a little more cohesion as he tried too hard to touch a lot of important topics at the same time giving the album a complex feel overall. This was unnecessary. All in all, The Griot was a good one. Koo Kumi succeeded in showing his dexterity with spoken word poetry and music. We give it a 7/10.