Music review: Koker does everything right on ‘Kolewerk’

The anatomy of a hit Nigerian pop song is a melodial checklist of all of the same elements. A distinct beat, a defined rhyme scheme and a catchy repetitive hook that sounds tacky, vague or ambiguous. Koker’s Kolewerk is the latest in the line of similar party anthem efforts. But rather than make another generic song with mediocre results, Chocolate City underdog, Koker excels with this new number.

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The revival of Chocolate City was put in the hands of new signees with an array of promising talents and skills set in 2015. After Koker made his splashy debut on the label’s compilation album, with Do Something he automatically became the most watched name amongst the likes of label mates, Milli and Dice Ailes. Kolewerk is the third single, he has released since joining Chocolate City.

Kolewerk is a slick fusion of Ghanian highlife kpangolo drums and heavier trap hip-hop beats. Though there is an alternation during the song’s bridge when heavier synths burst the song to life, the baseline instrumentation remains noteworthy in its simplicity. The smooth chemistry of this cross-genre blend is a song that catches your attention in the first few seconds. Koker opens the songs by repeating the word Kolewerk, an avoidable party song cliche that will leave the catchphrase and song on replay in the back of your head for a long time.

Despite its limitations, there are many highlights on the song. Koker glides between singing and dropping semi-humourous conversational talk-singing verses. He maintains a rhythm breath space between each line, rarely drifting off course, even when he sings. The production of the song is another high point. The bond between producer Reinhard and Koker may be the bloom of another artist-producer creative bromance. Both of them  have collaborated before to produce Do Something and the follow-up Heart Felt which featured vocals from Milli. The results were excellent on both instances.

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Are we sure it is really not working?

The formulaic nature of Kolewerk may not work for people seeking more value from a song other than feeling good, but is will probably never be a popular opinion. Besides, the alternating instrumental and vocal switching between the hook and verses, also somewhat suggest this bland route may have been deliberate.

With the recent rise of heavy mainstream artistes like Lil Kesh and Olamide who are a contrast to the hip-hop leanings of Chocolate City, the label will always have an ace in the hole with Koker as the perfect Third Mainland bridge between the majority common man’s ear and those of the sophisticated minorities.

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