EL, Something Else

Beverly Bryan

By Beverly Bryan

on 08.06.12 in Reviews

After producing hits for many of Ghana’s pop and rap stars and releasing a string of his own blazing singles, EL has made a potentially groundbreaking debut with Something Else, two discs of Afropop and Afro hip-hop informed by, and aimed at, the world.

An unpredictable all-night Ghana dance party

It’s a lengthy album, but while it isn’t neatly arranged, it offers plenty of rewards and surprises. The singing, rhyming musical polymath’s work bears the influence of all the styles he’s produced: Spanning 25 tracks of dancehall-flavored hiplife hooks, driving Afrobeats and assorted azonto fodder, Something Else feels less like a proper album than a suitcase bursting with inventive sounds and cool ideas. The project boasts a dazzling variety of flows, supplied with help from top Ghanaian emcees like Sarkodie and M.anifest. The energy never sags and there are plenty of non-single treats like the lovelorn ballad “Takoradi.” Leavened by international club, hip-hop and R&B references, and, specifically, a bit of current Nigerian pop’s fireworks, it adds up to an unpredictable all-night Ghana dance party.