As a product of the golden era of Sierra Leone Hip-Hop, The Sierra Leone UK Based Rapper merges his Hip-Hop background with Afrobeats/Pop hooks for classic Rap/Sung fusion that radio and women love.
K Kwan demonstrates a considerable talent on this mixtape — a collection of some fantastic tunes and subjectively skip-able tracks, laced perfectly together with the Afro-fusion sound.
Across nineteen tracks and switching genres tied by the uniformity of mellow music – even with the uptempo ‘key,’ K Kwan feels like a Sierra Leonezed version of Drake. His topics seemingly come from honest inward ruminations around romance, love, sex, his journey, society and his dreams – with positive declarations.
K Kwan has come close to Africa’s contemporary hip-hop A-list but never quite made the leap regardless of his conspicuous talent as a singer and songwriter. His critically acclaimed, The Only One 2015 Album release earned him attention from Afrobeat purists, socially conscious hip-hop heads, melophiles, reggae fanatics, and big features, and soon after, Burna got himself up close and personal with his own independent record label “Shared Music Entertainment”
With his newly released mixtape The Statement, K Kwan has cemented himself as a class A artiste. He’s so mainstream, veritably, he could conjure and release hype on the back of the subjectively boring, borderline sleepy (but ultimately well known) single “KEY”. Despite the current buzz, he still seems ambivalent about his musical identity (and falls below lyrical expectations.
Under the aegis of “KEY,” K Kwan figured out how to subtly uncover the lede for what the Afro-fusion/Hip-hop mixtape should sound like.
K-Kwan and his production crew (which highlights a host of credits) endeavour to align most of their beats like sleek Afro grooves of firmly woven percussion instruments, cleverly arranged hooks, soulful vocals, sprinkling in sonic coalescence throughout the mixtape.
Apart from dope track “Ginger & Juice” featuring Stego Da Pro, when it works, Gatman is groovy but doesn’t gratify, using a repetitive version of the afro bam-bam beats he’s inclined toward over and again previously like the altruistic orchestra of strings and Fela-Esque melody for “Flavour,” a track buoyed by a Kwan power chorus that sounds both lyrically bankrupt and boisterously triumphant:
K-Kwan shows his considerable talent on this album — a collection of some fantastic tunes and subjectively skip-able tracks, laced perfectly together with the afro-fusion sound, matching his creativity with polished production and club-ready hooks. While Kwan remained fairly proficient throughout, especially when speaking about Sierra Leone’s political struggles in “hypocrite”, he struggled, to lyrically subvert cliches he flexed on his generally impressive Mixtape. The Statement — an enjoyable Mixtape, places K-kwan’s magnum opus in Africa’s hip-hop upper echelon.
Akin to most contemporary hip-hop Mixtapes, k-kwan could have genuinely enhanced the lyricism. The measure of a well-rounded and produced songs with great replay value here is in single digits, scarcely justifying 19 tracks of hit-or-miss and (possibly) emailed verses.
Regardless, even with the burden of k-kwan attempting to work outside his comfort zone (and getting stretched in the process), the Gatman still produces notable moments where his equanimous yet lucid flows perfectly blend with a timeless afro-fusion of FELA-inspired beats.
QUESTION: At this time, what does K-kwan represent?
He’s not too immersed into the Afro world to be a totally decadent Afrobeats, replete with the newsworthy headlines and an embrace of female adulation. He is an elite MC, but he didn’t do enough to cement his place pre-TAP and he continues to step away from that space with his continuing string of hits.
Perhaps that’s the brand: an in-betweener, who floats around like Drake.
Perhaps ‘The Statement Mixtape’ is just a needed sacrificial lamb, as K Kwan seeks to truly unlock and establish what that brand represents from a subconscious human perception and sonic perspective, which sets a template and metrics of expectation and judgment, in the mind of listeners and critics.
Right now, ‘The Statement Mixtape’ seems like a good project that most people can’t appropriately process because there is seldom any previously established representation, barring that of a dope rapper.
If this ‘in-betweener’ is the desired brand direction, then it might need to be reinforced with a consistent string of releases to cement it. To this writer, ‘The Statement Mixtape’ is not a matter of the present, it’s only an introduction to the new K Kwan and it underlines an exciting future for him – if he properly wields it.
It smoothly blends different genres, brands of music, flow schemes and emotions into one. K Kwan is a rapper, an Afrobeats artist, a popstar, loverboy and poet at the same time. He creates relatable music from an ordinarily ‘different’ brand of music for a rapper.
It didn’t hit the required level of excitement this time, but this brand of music could be owned by the SHARED MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT Act, once he perfects it with a consistent string of releases. The time to truly judge K Kwan might just be on his next project. Hopefully, it’s an Album.
• 0-1.9: Flop
• 2.0-3.9: Near fall
• 4.0-5.9: Average
• 6.0-7.9: Victory
• 8.0-10: Champion
Chain Rap Blog Africa Rating: 6.5/10
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