Did you know that there’s a new drill scene in Ghana? Well, it’s thriving. Perhaps brand new to the rest of the world, but the skilled rhymers and burgeoning collectives are lighting up a scene with zippy UK-via-NY sounding beats and their own deft touches. Currently leading the way is 17-year-old Yaw Tog, who shook up the drill scene with last year’s devastatingly catchy ‘SORE’.
With debut EP ‘Time’ – powered by versatile deliveries and an American-inspired rap style – the rising prospect shows that he’s worthy to be anointed as the next Pop Smoke of Ghana. The recent ‘SORE’ remix – which enlists A-listers Kwesi Arthur (a fellow Ghanaian star known for his Drake-like aura) and British hero Stormzy – is yet another example of an expertly curated remix; one that almost conquers the original. The deep husk of Yaw Tog warning “Yɛbɛ soreeee, eeeeehu” (translates from Twi as “We’ll rise up, be scared”) is enthralling enough, but the addition of Stormzy and Arthur’s clear and sleek verses hints that it’ll be a dancefloor hit, club-opening permitting.
‘Time’ isn’t exclusively full of drill-sounding songs. With the same skittish synths throughout, tracks like ‘BOYZ’ and ‘Fake Ex’ Tog redefines what drill should sound like, proving that he’s deft at the slower, soulful songs too. ‘Fake Ex’ is the best such example, with a guitar riff akin to chart-topper Roddy Ricch’s ‘Backseat’ and yearning ethereal soundscapes. Yaw Yog’s delivery, however, transcends language and borders; the sentiment of dodging a bullet of someone best avoided is a universal one, after all.
With the musical magnifying glass continuing to turn its focus to regions within Nigeria and Ghana, these vibrant, brilliant scenes back up their reputation as world-beaters; Yaw Tog is one such artist at the top of his game.
- Release date: March 26
- Record label: KOOPOKUSTUDIOS / EMPIRE