Boomkat Product Review:
NTS commit Ama Serwah Genfi aka Amaarae’s incred debut LP of sugar-coated Afrobeats to vinyl, sating popular demand for one of the finest binds of US and Ghanaian styles in recent years - RIYL Burna Boy, Kelis, Kojey Radical, Drake, Ice Spice.
Based between New Jersey, ATL and Accra, Amaarae dropped her instant classic ‘The Angel You Don’t Know’ in the run-up to xmas 2020. Two years later, and following her curation of a day of music for NTS in 2021, her definitive calling card is cut to wax with signature elisions of southern rap, Ghanaian afrobeats, dancehall and bubblegum pop voiced by her dreamy, balmy but piquant falsetto, with reference points as wide as Paul Wall and Meat Puppets.
Following international critical acclaim and her major label works and features with Tiwa Savage and Kali Uchis, the 14 track album is every bit a definitive early decade classic, richly symptomatic of a prevailing Black Atlantic dialogue between R&B/dancehall-dembow and its Afrobeats sibling that has dominated the best dances and earbuds since the ’10s. It’s a supremely easy going and effortless listen that sounds perfect puckered to wax.
Between the breezy ATL flair of ‘Fancy’ and melancholic Afrobeats of ‘Party Sad Face’, Amaarae is variously joined by Kojey Radical & Cruel Santino on the trim Afro-R&B of ‘Jumping Ship’, and fellow Ghanaian stars Princess Adjua & Moliy on the tantalising bump of ‘Feel a Way’, with harmonious contribution by Kyu Steed & 6 in the wavy, The Draem-esque lick of ‘Celine’. Left to her own devices, Amaarae is equally seductive on the Afro-R&B of ‘Leave Me Alone’ and the charmingly naif hook of ‘Hellz Angel’ feels like a less sugar-buzzed Ice Spice. Bit of a no brainer, this one.