When Lil Kesh announced in 2016 that he was splitting his business from Olamide’s YBNL to chase new records, many screamed foul.
He was held up as a potential bad example of an artist who has allowed his fame and relative success get to him and he is making a childish decision. No matter how many times Olamide took to social media to clear the air on everything, there were still people who were genuinely concerned that the singer was gone.
His debut album, “Y.A.G.I” was symbolic for him, marking the moment when he rose from nothing to become a genuine rap artist, and has a project to back his claims. A few of the songs made the rounds on radio, and got into the playlists of music enthusiasts, but many of the rest failed to catch.
And the doomsayers reared their heads. Lil Kesh was a failed artist, they said. He will never have a hit again, they said. He can’t survive on his own, they said.
But they were wrong. The kid had something up his sleeve. And although he hasn’t been getting the credit that he deserves, but he has found a formula that is working.
The minimalism. The application of the theory that less is more.
On ‘Shele gan gan’, which has become a hit by all definitions, he employs the services of Krizbeats, who is famous for his work on Tekno’s ‘Pana’. Krizbeatz, who is embracing the minimalist sound and working on owning it as his personal signature sound, sprinkled some on Lil Kesh and it worked.
Check out the production on ‘Shele gan gan’. A foundation of lazy drumming, a mid-tempo synth, and a sprinkling of strings. For dynamism, he plays with stop-start syncopation, and achieves a perfect record.
‘No fake love’ is the same. Produced by Princeton, it uses the Ghanaian siren as an opening icon, while adding the drums and the simple strings.
The secret on both tracks is that the instrumental serves as a background accessory, while the voice is utilized as the most important and foremost instrument.
It’s just two singles in, but the style has obviously worked. This is a far cry from the robust production on his breakout singles ‘Shoki’, ‘Gbese’. Those were sonic sprints, devoid of critical musical substance. But the new singles are pure gold.
Lil Kesh is winning with this method, and as the year unfolds, it gets exciting to see what he else he has up the sleeve. But on evidence of his recent release, we can only expect positivity.