Boundaries are meant to be pushed. Boundaries are usually created out of false norms and restrictive rules. Hip Hop oftentimes finds itself stuck in a box that set the boundaries as grimy, hardcore, sexual content, when Hip Hop can be so much more. Hip Hop is a genre borne from rebels who set out to test and expand the existing limits, and I credit any emcee who lives up to these original doctrines. I decided to focus in on one Ghanaian emcee, M3nsa, who coupled with his American experience and love for his West African roots, is a perfect example of testing the limits of not only Hip Hop but individually as an emcee and music artist.
I listened to “Fanti Love Song” by M3nsa. I was shocked to hear the soft melody of piano accompanying a smooth, soulful voice that belonged to M3nsa. I was use to a conventional, rap style from M3nsa, but was pleasantly surprised to hear a sort of sultry, talking singing that I absolutely love to hear from contemporary Hip Hop artists. M3nsa sings this love song in a native Ghanaian language. We learned in class about Hiplife, which is a popular music genre in Ghana, and most artists of this genre use Ghanaian pidgin language or speak in Ghanaian languages: Twi, Ga, or Ewe. I’m not sure what language is used in this song. The title of the song, “Fanti Love Story” possibly alludes to the language spoken in the song, because Fanti is both an Akan language and a group of people in Ghana. However, I believe the title is alluding to the message of the song which is a love song to a Fanti woman that M3nsa fell in love with, or he could be professing his love for the Fanti people as a whole and being reflectively amorous about his relationship with Fanti people. The style of this song was very neo-soul which is an indicator of M3nsa’s familiarity with America and its music. It put me in the mind of a Roots or Bilal or even Andre 3000 type of soulful, Hip Hop-y vibe.
M3nsa’s “Fanti Love Song” is definitely reminiscent of the type of music that I have downloaded on my phone right now. I fell in love with the visual, the sound, and the overall vibe. It expands the definition of what is normally considered Hip Hop. It is definitely a song to chill with a boyfriend or girlfriend or to put yourself in a relaxed and sensual mood.