Finally i have the album. Pen & Paper has been bought by me. 4th album ever bought by me. So my colleague, Lobsang (yea weird name) introduced me to this album and i need to do this review.
Pen & Paper brought to you by Ko-Jo Cue, a Kumasi repping hiphop artist and Shaker, an awesome wordsmith from the glory days of Skillions. Can they combine their usual magic artistry into an awesome album? Let’s see
As usual my rules are simple. I listen to every song one by one and give my honest reactions into writing. No skipping, pausing, repeating or stop this. So ladies and gentlemen, Pen & Paper:
ACCRA KUMASI RD
This intro is new. The car start feels like an intro worth it. Okay a convo. They’re talking about a beat and wanting to play through the Bluetooth system.
Shaker goes in hard. A freestyle i guess but Ko-Jo Cue seems very laid back on thus. “I’m all about my main chics, no girls on the side chale”. Shaker gives us the old skillions feel with a new twist. Ko-Jo is a laid back beast. See, don’t underestimate this player. He knows no boundaries in this game. Shouts to Ipappy on this beat.
PEN & PAPER IS THE JAM ALBUM OF THE DECADE
Love the chemistry here. Guess that’s a perfect name; Pen & Paper. Perfect way to start an album.
PEN N PAPER
Love the beats. Ooooh the hook king is on. Shaker laid this perfectly. Cue picks up the flame and burns through the verses Goku style mehn.
I love the way they pass the baton to each other as Shaker is all about the awesome delivery while Cue is just chopping the beats.
Second verse too hot. It’s like they left us to jam to first verse and keep us second guessing the music we listen to. “Im so hungry for success, i can even taste it”
I mean i still find it unbelievable how they never won an award for best album at the VGMAs.
Feel trappy on this one. Cue goes first and he doesn’t disappoint on this cos I’m surprised he actually combined hard lyrics with superb delivery.
I love the chorus. Swear to God, they should promote this tune as a radio single. I can feel people singing along and turning up to this.
Second verse is cray cray. Shaker gives us a throwback “wallaby” line. That got me laughing hard. He switches to singing flows. Then back to this bars. Respect to the switch but the MVP is Ko-Jo Cue.
Good tune. 3 songs into this and I’m super hyped up already.
UH HUH EH HEH
The beat is weird. The kicks banged hard. This song will have anyone tripping and turning up simultaneously.
The chorus tho; i was wondering why that title. Now i know.
Listen to these schemes by Shaker:
“See the people i dey roll with//nobody higher than me”
“4 by 4, der norr by force // Everybro i know won wro my dross”
“Me i be the cyclops//i flame every track i touch”
To top it up, he gave a Mike Ross reference
IF YOU EVER SLEPT ON SHAKER, PLEASE WAKE UP. HE IS A FORCE TO RECKON WITH.
Ko-Jo Cue goes in effortlessly with a strong sense of assonance (if you don’t know this word, you failed literature class)
“I got the new fire like a caveman”. I actually paused the song and made that line marinate for a while. These guys eh.
PRESSURE FT. RU
Low bass on this. This is pure fact from a critic and fan. This feels like a letter from someone who really cares. Guys let’s be honest, of all the Skillions act, Shaker was the one destined to blow (and Kevin Beats but that’s another article).
I thought the BBNZ signing would do something no it didn’t. I love how he listened to these critics and transformed it into a strong masterpiece from “Joseph”
This is the first time i never gave a fuck about a Shaker hook. His verse holds more power here. Can’t wait for Cue’s.
Oh i didn’t expect this. This is a plea from a fan for a collaboration. People look up to Cue because a rapper from Kumasi managed to solidify his spot in Ghana hip hop and i understand how this could pressure him especially in a system where music doesn’t sell.
IS THAT RUMOUR????? YES IT IS!! Herh it’s been years and this is the biggest surprise on this album. His voice and delivery tho. This feels like a skillion reunion. Super short verse but it was well placed. Does this mean a Rumour project coming soon??
HIGH ME FT. MAGNOM
Beat sounds like Kayso. No that’s Magnom. Magnom is back to the board. I love his chorus. No Shaker hook and that’s good. It sounds like a trap version of MY BABY.
This is a love song I guess. Love how they make psychedelics feel awesome for a love song. Shaker’s verse was super short.
Cue is good with the assonance. That’s pure nerdy music here and I love this. I was so engulfed in the song, i couldn’t review this well. Another radio single here.
POLITICS FT. KWAMENA BOHAM
Nice start. Love the dialogue flow the incorporate here.
They seem to talk every musician’s fear; high efforts – low returns. Hahahahaha 200k followers with only 2 retweets. Herh. I need to write a post on engaging followers on social media na nipa abr3.
Ei them dey throw shots oh. No one is safe oh. I thought this would be a nice track oh. This is cut throat. This is pure jabs at the industry. Did they just jab Lex McCarthy and Echo House? ABOOWA
Love the chorus. Makes me miss FOKN boys.
True fact on the second verse because payola no dey guarantee replay. Love this. The second verse is a solution to the first verse.
From the djs, bloggers and even the insta and snap chics. Every one has a strong role to play in making an artist blow. Guys you hear??? Shaker and Cue give you apor.
Kwamena Boham is nice. Love his voice and flow. Not the best but i love his crown-jewel line.
UP & AWAKE FT. KWESI ARTHUR
Herh. Kwesi Arthur never fails to give the best hook. This is a first but Kwesi is the new hook king; not Shaker.
Cue goes in hard. This is a hustle flow. Cue understands the masses and makes quality music for them. Still don’t understand why he isn’t that big. Verse short but heavy.
Shaker takes the baton with style. Wow he chops hard. Love this switch. “Pen and paper flow // foolscalp, bic pen. Shaker can make a line reference about stationeries and still flow stylish.
This song is quite short. But kinda memorable. Kwesi goes in third. This guy is a different breed yo and i love this.
ME TI ATE
Nice piano build up. Oh Cue’s intro is hard. Chorus is very basic. Not my favorite but it’s nice.
Cue is taking us on a throwback lane. Wow i like his verse. He is charging for a verse so if you need one, you better have that paper yo. Pure honesty.
“But i don’t buy the bar// Charley i don’t even rent it”
That’s a true hustler flow right there.
Oh Shaker goes in large. Assonance filled with shout outs. The song is cool but honestly i don’t feel this.
They are harder and nicer than this. NEXT TRACK PLEASE.
Herh i love this beat. I have a feeling they will chop this fast and go hard yo. This is the instrumental for live. Who made this beat???
Wait what? Why are they singing? Have you had that feeling where you wait on that girl after all the flirty talk and then she arrives and gives you the worst sex, THIS SONG JUST GAVE ME THAT FEELING.
I love the bars. They flowed easy here but i had high expectations for this.
Maybe it’s me. I will give a second listen after this review.
THINGS WE DO 4 LOVE FT. KIDI
Damn the beat. I expected this. Highlife is life yo. I hope they impress me.
OH MY GOD Kidi is fire. His voice brings a different flavour. Ei this is a Hiphop tune. See guys, they actually produced a highlife beat, sampled it and made it into a hiphop beat. This song is the highlight of the album and the main purpose of the Pen & Paper concept.
Shaker is pure fire here. He makes a love song feel like a lifetime jam. This is the type of tunes that will take you back to the old Shaker but with a rejuvenated vibe.
Cue is laid back here. I feel like he is sitting down and just cutting this beat like its nothing. He said he will pick her over Jollof. Lmao. I’m feeling this song. He mentioned fisting, kumkum bagya and distin all in one verse. This love song just got destroyed.
This is my favorite song on the whole album
No build up here. Cue just went straight for the kill. The last tune needed a skit for me to rest. They know no rest oh. They mean business.
Cue made a lot of reference here from google to kumawood mentions. This is the flow that you will mention when you talk of Ko-Jo Cue. He went for the kill and made sure the kill was actually dead. Young Daddy Lumba for you.
Shaker is holding no bars here. He is showing no mercy for this beat. “The Harlem shake, crip walk, madafaka what be dab boy”
JESUS M. CHRIST, SHAKER IS BEASTING ON THIS BEAT.
This is a rapper who people underlooked and underrated. See, I have the ultimate respect for Shaker as he gave shouts to the industry acts and still delivered one of the best flows of 2018.
I want to repeat this. I really want to.
Ei, its not over oh. Cue is all over the place. “Too many dope lines, i for supply Tagor”. Shaker wants to throw shots but Cue just stopped him. DAMN!!!
HMMH FT. CINA SOUL
Ooooh melodies. Cue is flowing on a slow based tune. This is a lifting tune but Cue is heavy hearted and i love how he poured the emotions on this song.
Cina Soul has a powerful voice. The Ga language serenades the songs lightly. I want to use this platform to give shout outs to her on her record deal. Its well deserved.
Shaker on some throwback shit that’s way before Skillions and he is giving a very sad story of Skillions. Heartbreaking music right here.
Shaker i am sorry for underrating and quickly judging you. I thought he lost touch. This song has giving me a new insight of Shaker.
I am imagining how powerful this song being performed on a bigger stage with the candles, and orchestra and choir. I love this.
Trust me when i say this but this is a pure masterpiece and I still think this deserved album of the year. There were a few hitches but that didn’t stop Pen & Paper from being one of the best albums of the decade in Ghana music.
I would urge everyone to get Pen & Paper cos It’s very affordable and worth every single peswa you spend. I want to give a huge shouts to Ko-Jo Cue and Shaker for this beautiful piece of art. BBNZ for signing these acts and more acts to be signed. And most importantly to readers and fans. Continue supporting greatness and reading The Critic Bay.
Long Live Ghana Music