A lot of Nigerians didn’t know about Kuami Eugene till he featured on ‘Love Nwantiti [Remix]’ opposite Joeboy and Ckay. They didn’t know about his 2018 debut album, ‘Rockstar.’ When they did know about him, a few people constantly mistook him for Tanzanian star Rayvanny, due to the similarities of their respective styles and voice type.
But by the time Ckay tapped the Ghanaian star for the song, he had won an AFRIMA and had coasted to three awards - including Album of The Year and Producer of The Year - at the 2019 Ghana Music Awards. On October 9, 2020, he released his 14-track, 46-minute sophomore album, Son of Africa.
The album is a hotbed of several elements of Contemporary Afro-pop from different African countries. For sound, the album stayed true to its concept and direction. When Eugene isn’t on Pon Pon sound, he is on melody-rich Highlife, Afro-fusion or Soukous-fusion for a well-rounded sonic experience.
Interestingly and aside from Woman of Steel, ‘Son of Africa’ slightly feels like a Yemi Alade album with better A&R. Conceptually, the album follows the concept of an African love story, from admiration to the beauty of marriage and love.
Half way through, it then breaks into several elements of modern Africa as Eugene heavily sings in Twi before closing out to an African appreciation of motherhood and God.
The album opens up to the Independence Speech by Kwame Nkrumah on March 6, 1957 in Accra, Ghana. The track is built like a Doomba-based Sauti Sol record as Eugene celebrates the beauty of Africa in resources, people and blessings with a Pan-African rhetoric.
He also urges Africans to never feel out of place, regardless of which part of Africa they find themselves. ‘Show Body’ featuring Falz is a Highlife beauty on which Eugene urges African women to show off their melanin, curves and edges without fear of reproach. Those guitar chords are so beautiful… Yikes!
While ‘Show Body’ feels like the admiration stage, the next five tracks are heavily built around African love. ‘Open Gate’ is an Afro-pop record that is precursor to a wedding ceremony. In Nigeria, you could call this the ‘introduction’ stage.
A lovestruck Eugene is willing to go all out for the reluctant woman he eventually asks the big question on the Pon Pon/Highlife track, ‘Marry Me.’ It’s also quite interesting that Eugene interpolates Rudeboy’s ‘Reason With Me' and Ice Prince’s hook on ‘Particula’ on ‘Open Gate’ and ‘Marry Me’ respectively.
The Zlatan alley-oop on ‘Dance Hard’ is probably meant to connote the reception stage of the story that commenced on ‘Marry Me.’ However, it seems like this concept was an afterthought because elements of the song suggest that it was mostly made about two lovers dancing rather than something specifically created for a wedding ceremony.
Alongside ‘Wa Ye Wie,’ ‘Mama,’ ‘Give It To Me’ and ‘Ewurade,’ ‘Will You’ is one of the best song songs on this album. Eugene is a wide-eyed dreamer as he asks his lover, “If I die, baby will you die too?”
Again, this was meant to follow a concept of marriage/a union like ‘Dance Hard,’ but it feels like the song had been created before the concept was ideated. Nonetheless, the song is fire. That said, Eugene's adlibs on the song are markedly similar to Fireboy's adlibs on 'What If I Say.'
‘Give It To Me’ is another Highlife-fusion record which sees Eugene make solemn love-filled promises and sweet-nothings. But from ‘Ghana We Dey,’ the love themes dry up as Eugene heavily sings in Twi about specific topics. ‘Ghana We Dey’ is a Dancehall record that appreciates Eugene’s home country of Ghana.
To drive the current sweetness of Ghana home, Eugene juxtaposes the times Ghanaian boys had to leave their country in search of greener pastures in other countries. ‘Beifour’ documents detraction on a Highlife track with the aid of Sarkodie and DJ Mensah.
The Highlife continues on the guitar-rich ‘Amen’ as Eugene dreams and prays out loud before saying ‘Amen’ for effects of optimism. ‘Scolom’ follows in a proper spirit of lamba. ‘Wa Ye Wie’ is arguably the best song on ‘Son of Africa.’
The beat is amazing, the hook is amazing and Eugene's heart of gratitude to God will send even the most morose person into dance rhythms with this song.
Released in September, this song has heavy Pan-African smash hit potential with the right Francophone and Nigerian features. With its fusion of Soukous, Gospel and Highlife rhythms, Flavour, Diamond Platnumz and Toofan will be amazing on this song.
However, Obaapa Christy should take a bow for his part on ‘Wa Ye Wie' which shares incredible similarities with Frank Edwards' timeless gospel song, 'Okaka.'
‘Mama’ follows in its Highlife-based celebration of motherhood and ‘Ewurama’ rounds out the album in its Highlife-based celebration/appreciation of God.
While the diversity of topics make sense, the ‘Son of Africa’ title seems overstretched to serve the purpose of this album. At times, it feels perfect to sum up the overall spirit of this album. But at other times, it feels insufficient.
The saving grace for that title is that on every song - even when Eugene sings about love or God - something about his delivery is very African by reference, language /mode of delivery or theme.
As regards the tracklist, the discrepancies in the first half of this album have already been noted. But in the second-half of the album, the album was properly sequenced before closing out to three brilliant tracks.
• 0-1.9: Flop
• 2.0-3.9: Near fall
• 4.0-5.9: Average
• 6.0-7.9: Victory
• 8.0-10: Champion
Pulse Rating: /10
Content and Themes: 1.7/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.6/2
8.2 - Champion