Review of E.L’s B.A.R II mixtape

Artist: E.L
Album/Mixtape: B.A.R II
Label: BBnZ Live
Photo Credits: @BBnZLive

BARCoverArtRealBBnZ Live’s greatest asset Elom Adablah, musically known as E.L, has blessed the earth with the second installment of his solo Hip-Hop project, dubbed “Best African Rapper (B.A.R) mixtape”. The VGMA ʼ15 Best Rapper award winner wrote history when he dropped the first volume of the mixtape, as it made a huge impact on the Hip-Hop community. After securing his crown, the “American Passport” hitmaker didn’t settle on his seat, rather worked zealously to put together another classic.

The B.A.R mixtape is a well thought-out and properly arranged 19-track body of work. The versatile rapper basically wanted to prove a point: why he’s the best rapper, by tackling diverse topics, exceedingly playing with metaphors and puns, making sure he bodies every featured artist, carefully selecting instrumentals appealing to the ears, motivating and setting the bar really high.

Making a good comparison between the two BAR mixtapes, every Hip-Hop head would realize E.L is actually rapping on this, not to say he didn’t deliver on the previous tape. He had to penetrate the Hip-Hop grounds and sow a viable seed, hence he commercialized it. But on this edition, he goes all out – discussing national issues on “State of the Nation Address”, sharing musical tips on “10 Rap Commandments”, elevating hopes on “We No Dey Hear” and “Work II”. As you’d expect he continuously echoes he’s the best African rapper and a king without a crown with his authenticity.

BARTracklistRealThe Intro welcomes the listener, giving a fair idea about what to expect from the divine session. E.L indicates this isn’t actually your usual mixtape, but it goes as far as being a tradition. The song would’ve been light-weighted without Deezy’s adlibs echoing to the listener with guttural intensity to make ready as the extraordinary rapper delivers classic music. Rap music gets boring with time. It takes a good rapper/musician to trigger listeners to push in the earpods and enjoy a whole project without unnecessarily skipping songs. E.L’s delivery is stupendous! Dude can rap about a heated issue and make it seem cool. His switch of flows, rhythm and styles keeps listeners in suspense. He opened wide his wings of versatility, adapting to styles he’s not trademarked with, such as “Authentic”. There’s a sense of certitude that E.L would fuse his auto-tuned voice into the songs. It’s false that this is Hip-Hop with an African feel anyway, thus, the instrumentals tell us differently. The only distinguishing factor from foreign tapes is the language (blend of English, Twi, Ga, and Pidgin English).

Truth be told, the tape deviated from being a project for the listening pleasure of rappers only. As E.L has realized the continually growing audience of his music, he reserved “Wossop” for them.

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‘The BAR Man’ recruits the best Hip-Hop producers in the game currently, to seal the product. Combining the creativity of various talented people gives the best flavours of innovation. Yung Fly who produced 3 songs on the tape kept it cool, absenting heavy drums, and incorporating samples into his instrumentals. However, Yung Fly should be careful, not to be sued for plagiarism. The ancient chants, heavy drums and marching effects on “King Without A Crown” aren’t the norm. “All Black”, my personal favorite on BAR II, brings out the best in E.L, Pappy Kojo and Joey B. The track puts the listener in a ‘hippy’ cowboy mood as the background keys blend perfectly with the heavy kicks and lead guitar. There’s none other than Drumroll behind such intelligence. DJ Juls switches the general tone of the tape into a West Coast mode with “Switch Up”, well maybe that’s why they named it so. Nice samples are coalesced into the production making it copacetic – Reggie Rockstone’s skits endorsing The BAR and other voice samples in the intro, “The Cross” and “16 Bars”. The uniqueness in the “Pop Champagne” beat is dandy – the arrangement of the patterns, claps, well-chosen hi-hats and electric instrumental makes one have that tingly feel.

The general production of the project is okay for the Ghanaian standard. Apart from “We No Dey Hear” which suffered poor mastering, having a low volume output, all other songs were well engineered. Jayso’s verse on “16 Bars” needed some extra audio polishing as well.

BAR1(1)It’s obvious that E.L didn’t need the help of other artists to get his message across, but not to sound monotonous and for other reasons best known to him he featured wild rap cats. Paradoxical to volume I, BAR II didn’t have nationwide known guests. E.L decided to introduce slept-on artists to the mass market. Every guest saw the feature as a competition, forcing them to bleed on sheets. There’s no doubt that “Unity” is going straight up into the history books. This is not a DJ Khaled remix nor a “One Blood” remix, but a GH song with 22 different rappers, filled with punchlines and whatever you desire as a rap music lover. Ko-Jo Cue who had 3 spots on the tape spat the most honest verse, which is too deep, so that the editor had to cut out some portions of his vocals. Recognize Ali who arguably had the best featured verse didn’t play with the bars as well. You know it’s a good project when you can have a particular song which suits different moods… BAR II is that project!

Gradually, mediocrity is being killed. The Ghanaian Hip-Hop streets have a new anthem… We have a new template, a new order. The self-acclamation of being the best African rapper by E.L may become a coronation by the people. Tradition goes on…

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