On this new EP, Kelvyn Boy takes the fans through a short voyage of his present activities. The collaborators enliven the EP, and cancelling out any boring time out.
By Emmanuel Daraloye
Ghanaian singer and songwriter, Kelvyn Boy, gained popularity after participating in the eighth edition of the Ghanaian reality show, MTN Hitmaker, where he emerged as one of the finalists. In 2018, Kelvyn Boy signed a record deal with Burniton Music Group, owned by Ghanaian Dancehall artiste Stonebwoy. However, their partnership ended a year later, due to reported conflicts within the label, and his last album Blackstar (2020) was released under his independent label, Blakk Arm Entertainment.
Kelvyn Boy (real name Kelvin Brown) is known for his unique blend of Afrobeats, Highlife, and Dancehall music styles. His music often features catchy melodies, energetic rhythms, and introspective lyrics that touch on various subjects such as love and social issues. He brings all these to the fore in his new extended play For the Kulture.
“Down Now,” which opens the EP, serves as a response to cynics. The song revolves around Kelvyn’s struggles within the music industry, amid industry politics. The artiste has been caught in controversial arguments in the past, which dragged to the extent of being called ungrateful towards his benefactors. “Down Now” does not reveal a lot. The words are hushed as he addresses no one in particular. There is no name-calling on the track, but nevertheless, Kelvyn’s hurt and pain are noticeable – he sings from a place of distress.
At the start of the song, he attests to his skill and dexterity as a sonic artiste, and by the time he gets to the hook, Kelvyn iterates his sturdy disposition “I have been on the road, people are just talking about what they don’t know but nothing dey do me.” The mild piano progression allows the lyrics to seep in. Kelvyn exercises restraint on this song, even as the song has the tendency to be more aggressive.
Nigerian singer, Tekno, makes two appearances on For the Kulture. First, he comes on the second track, “Softly,” which finds an emotional Kelvyn crooning of his love interest. A twanging guitar starts the production, and it is closely followed by some drum rolls and shakers before Kelvyn’s vocals come on. “Everything, every night, she calls me gem, ever since you came to my life, you make a bad man come alive,” the singer confesses. Tekno, on his part, attests to a similar plight, however, positing to have been charmed by her beauty. “Softly,” with its Highlife elements, is a nice tune with a high replay value. Tekno and Kelvyn Boy excellently leverage each other’s strengths to create this track.
The drum pattern of “Ahomka Wo Mu,” by the legendary Ghanaian music group, VIP, is interpolated on the R&B-drenched track “Vero.” The track, which is Kelvyn Boy’s first released single for the year, is produced by the talented Master Maison, who has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry. “Vero” is the weakest song on this EP, with its uneven and overly repeated lyrics. The song is likely a result of a freestyle. Even as he tries to assure the titular Vero about his faithfulness, the words come off flat and lacking in genuine sincerity.
“Vero” is quickly followed by “Roma,” aided by the “Confession,” crooner, Babyboy AV. “Roma” possesses all the elements of Highlife music, with the trademark poignant guitar punctuating the production. “Getting Better,” takes the Amapiano route, as Kelvyn Boy affirms his hardworking disposition to life. Ghanaian singer King Promise, the featured artiste has a better grasp of the song, and beyond singing about hard work, he pays homage to God and sings about his struggle while showering encomium on his supporters.
British rapper, Stefflon Don, is featured alongside Tekno on the remix of, “Down Flat.” The original track has over sixteen million streams on Spotify, a career record for Kelvyn. This remix, which is the sixth track in the EP, will appeal to audiences United Kingdom and in West Africa. It is a daring attempt to connect with fans on both fronts. The boisterous remix sees Stefflondon and Tekno effortlessly synergise, as Stefflon Don raps in Nigerian pidgin language.
The last track, “Anti So,” highlights Kelvyn’s anti-social disposition. The track is laid on a mid-tempo production. The artiste pours out his heart without becoming overly vulnerable. When the EP is put on repeat, the first track continues again from where “Anti So” ends, placing the album on a continuous exciting loop.
On this new EP, Kelvyn Boy takes the fans through a short voyage of his present activities. The collaborators enliven the EP, and cancelling out any boring time out. The brevity put in creating For the Kulture will increase its chances of generating music streams. The relatable topics and the well-chosen collaborators make the EP easily appeal to listeners across different demographics. The three years hiatus paid off, if anyone is still in doubt, a spin through this EP is highly advised.
Lyricism – 1
Tracklisting – 1
Sound Engineering – 2
Vocalisation – 1
Listening Experience – 2
Rating – 7/10
Emmanuel Daraloye is Africa’s most prolific freelance music critic. He has over 600 album reviews in his archive.