The Genesis of a new sound with some familiar flow
As one of the preeminent names in Australian Hip-Hop, Canberra based Ghana born Genesis Owusu’s debut album has been long waited for since the artist burst on to the scene in 2017 with debut EP Cardrive EP. Since then we have had a few singles and short two track tapes come out but with his latest single The Other Black Dog Owusu announced a 15-track album slated to come out in early March 2021.
I am a big fan of Genesis Owusu’s previous work, sounding unlike anything else in the Australian music landscape at the moment, usually relying on a super funky track, expert lyricism and a groove that gets listeners moving. This track has all of that and yet it is presented in a bizarre, almost dark way that makes this track stand out as different from the artist’s previous work. The track is still super groovy, the drums having a frantic yet in the pocket feel and the keys part, slightly detuned gives a bit of an eerie feel that sets up the tone for the rest of the track. The vocal delivery is different too, almost reflecting the story told in the astounding music video, as if the ‘dark part’ of the artist which the song is about is rapping to listeners for the first time. Luckily for all involved Genesis loses none of the prowess on the mic even with this different vocal presentation, bars weaving in and out of the beat, switching up styles like the impeccable clothes Genesis always wears (seriously I have never seen them look anything but extra), the style switch into the second verse where the lyrics are given a little bit more space is particularly nice in breaking up the track before the controlled chaos takes back over. The hook has a really nice upswing quality on it that takes what could be a simple staccato line and putting a different feel on it, adding to the franticness of the track overall.
I want to be your number one you’ll hold me to the sky
I want to be your golden thought you’ll love me till you die
I want to be your shield and sword you’ll never be the same
I want to be your flesh and bone you’ll take me to the grave
The song is all about internal struggles, “between a hopeful spirit of endurance, and a gnashing black hole of ugliness” two features the artist identifies in themselves, and it seems the full length release Smiling with no Teeth, will explore similarly dark and complex issues including mental health, race and perseverance as well as continuing to push the boundaries of what hip-hop sounds like.
I am very excited to hear the full length album in just a few months now, but in the meantime if you haven’t checked it out I would highly recommend watching the incredible video for The Other Black Dog as it is a masterful piece of storytelling and sets up a really interesting aesthetic for the artist as they move forward.