Now Reading
“Let’s Start A Riot” Review: La Même Gang Returns With a Decent EP

“Let’s Start A Riot” Review: La Même Gang Returns With a Decent EP

la meme cover - Let's Start a Riot review - Afrocritik

At the end of the day, Let’s Start A Riot is a decent 10-minute jaunt that starts slowly but ramps up to deliver an exciting couple of songs that tease the listener with the possibility of what could have been.

By Yinoluwa Olowofoyeku

African Hip-Hop has had its fair share of ups and downs over the past decade While the veterans have continuously set the pace, there has also been a growing selection of youngsters and newcomers who have refreshed the conversation in their unique ways; bringing youthful exuberance and unique inspiration to the genre. Ghana’s La Même Gang is a staple player that has emerged in the space since  2017. 

La Même Gang is a collective comprised of innovative Ghanaian music minds, namely: Darkovibes, $pacely, RJZ, Kiddblack, and Nxwrth. The pack emerged after a chance meeting in 2016 at the Villain Sounds Studio in the heart of Spintex, an Accra suburb. United by their unique perspectives and a commitment to crafting good music, the collective developed a strong sense of brotherhood that makes them a formidable creative force. This force was unleashed to the world in September of 2017 with their debut project, La Même Tape. Boasting well-received hits like “Snakes” and “MadOp”, they gained instant recognition for their unique Afro-inspired Trap stylings. They went from being individually referred to as “Soundcloud rappers” to gracing stages and songs with the likes of R2Bees and Mr Eazi.

In 2018, they expanded La Même Tape into Linksters, a 20-track blend of Trap and Afrobeats that featured the likes of Medikal, Pappy Kojo, and Sarkodie. Their youth, style, fashion, and innovation positioned them as a fixture of Ghana’s burgeoning underground alternative scene. This was cemented by their annual headline event “The Crusade”. With all these accomplishments under their belt, La Même Gang seemed to have taken a hiatus to push their individual careers, as they only have a handful of collective singles released since 2018. Cue Let’s Start A Riot to break the silence. This 4-track EP arrives as disruptively as its title suggests. 

The 4-track EP is introduced with “Ninja Gaiden Flow”, a solo effort by KiddBlack over a trilling piano melody, thumping 808s and rattling hi-hats. KiddBlack rides the beat with a straightforward flow that borders on the predictable. The flow isn’t helped by the largely monotonous delivery as he delivers most of his lyrics with a steady affectation. This improves slightly on the hook as the pianos reverse and the vocal delivery gets a slight variation. The bars aren’t particularly noteworthy either and so the most impactful moment of the song is the ending where the EP’s title is revealed via a short vocal insert.   

The weak opening is forgotten as soon as “Worldwide Runners” begins. A harsh synth line combines with watery pads and rumbling 808s to usher listeners into a pulsating Psychedelic Trap atmosphere. Effects-heavy falsetto vocals draw the listener in with a catchy melody worthy of a Travis Scott song. Altranova’s production evolves throughout the song, with distorted leads and filtered basses floating in and out to keep the instrumentals continuously fresh. RJZ and Darkovibes provide most of the vocals on the song and they do the instrumentals justice, rap-singing with confidence and dexterity from top to bottom. Stronger lyricism and enjoyable deliveries mean there is not a dull moment in this song’s runtime.

la meme cover - Let's Start a Riot review - Afrocritik

“Steady Raging” keeps the frantic energy as incessant kick drums and 808s pound atop an oscillating synth line, urging the listener into an imaginary mosh pit befitting of the song’s title. Vocals come courtesy of a loaded line-up, as $pacely, Darkovibes, Joey B, RJZ, and Nxwrth get their moments on the song. This means the track never gets stale, with the constant switch-ups and change-ups in cadence, tonality, and delivery. This song also comes with some of the more notable lyrical moments as the energy is rife with strong punchlines. We get another vocal insert at the end of the song and it almost feels like the end of the EP – perhaps it should have been, a fitting one too.

However, the EP ends with “Forget Me”. Produced by Nxwrth, something about the sound selection makes the song feel old, almost like a throwback to older Ghanaian Afropop, with flat percussions and plastic choral pads. Surprisingly, it comes together quite well and contrasts interestingly against the thumping kick drums and contemporary wide stereo effects on the vocals, especially in the chorus. Emotional lyrics, sincere deliveries, and strong singing make the song uniquely poignant as it touches on the subject of being remembered in life and love. While vastly sonically and thematically different from the two songs before it, “Forget Me” does an interesting job of rounding the EP out with an emotional bang. 

La-Meme-Gang - Afrocritik
La Meme Gang

Let’s Start A Riot is a tad underwhelming as La Même Gang’s return from silence. It does nothing wrong, but it also fails to provide much of a new spark. Outside of “Worldwide Runners”, the EP merely comes and goes. This is mostly fine, but herein lies the disappointment. The collective is renowned for its innovative and boundary-pushing takes on both Trap and Afrobeats. Perhaps La Même Gang are victims of their own success, as the long wait primed expectations and it is hard to say that the lofty expectations were met. Altogether, the EP is commendable. Save for the weak introduction in “Ninja Gaiden Flow”, the EP is solid enough. 

The production across the board is also good as each instrumental is varied and interesting enough to keep listeners engaged sonically. The songwriting is quite varied and there is very little thematic cohesion between songs. The rap style isn’t exactly punchline heavy, nor narrative heavy-meaning – many lines feel like rhymes made for the sake of rhyming. Altogether, the lyricism doesn’t offer up many highlights across the project. The vocal performances pick up some of the slack as the artistes are very adept at creating catchy melodies and varied cadences. The Melodic/Psychedelic Trap moments are serviced exceptionally well with these abilities. 

 

La-Meme-Gang - Afrocritik
La Meme Gang

At the end of the day, Let’s Start A Riot is a decent 10-minute jaunt that starts slowly but ramps up to deliver an exciting couple of songs that tease the listener with the possibility of what could have been. It doesn’t drop the ball egregiously and it will surely placate many La Même Gang fans. Sadly, I can’t help but feel like the project had the potential to be a bit more than it was.

See Also
TZA - Kizz Daniel - Review - Afrocritik

Lyricism – 1.2

Tracklisting – 1.1

Sound Engineering – 1.4

Vocalisation – 1.3

Listening Experience – 1.2

Rating – 6.2

Yinoluwa “Yinoluu” Olowofoyeku is a multi-disciplinary artist and creative who finds expression in various media. His music can be found across all platforms and he welcomes interaction on his social media @Yinoluu.

What's Your Reaction?
Excited
0
Happy
0
In Love
0
Not Sure
0
Silly
0

© 2024 Afrocritik.com. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll To Top