Glasgow-based rap artist, producer, and songwriter Kobi Onyame returns to the forefront with his fifth studio project entitled Don't Drink The Poison. The 10 track body of work is produced by Kobi Onyame himself, with Ghanaian musician Jayso and Scottish Alternative Music Award-nominated alt-jazz maestro Nathan Somevi contributing additional co-production on two tracks on the album, and guest appearances from some of Africa’s finest new artists, including George Kalukusha from Malawi, SheSaidSo from South Africa and rapper Worlasi from Ghana.
The project is a seamless and eclectic blend of rap, afro-fusion with global music sensibilities, which highlights him at his UK hip-hop and pan-African music best. Onyame dives into a plethora of real-time issues and the current state of humanity in this pandemic era and in a way it represents the last 18 months in his life, from the most difficult to the most beautiful, as he battles with the direction in which the world is moving.
The album opener "Aseda" is a percussion-driven, horn-laden piece that sees Onyame giving thanks to the lord and savoring the blessings bestowed on him. This is followed by the anthemic "My Prayer" which is ripe with a global message of uniting the entire race under one roof and implores us to do away with race and irrelevant differences. Ghanaian American hip-life pioneer Bayku appears on the solemn "Trouble" who shares his thoughts on daily struggles that we all can relate to. Onyame is not far behind and pours his emotions and frustrations for the heavens to hear. Things switched up on the afrobeat-infused jam "Nante," a catchy tune ripe with evocative lyrics imploring listeners to slow down and smell the roses before it's too late. Other stand-out tracks include "Yo" and "Malawi," the former is a bravado rap track while the latter is where Onyame pays homage to his wife and their first child together. On the dance-infused track titled "Giddy," he teams up with South African artist SheSaidSo where both pour adulations on women who are pushing the envelope across the globe.
The project ends on the grand note with the midtempo drum-less track "Poison" which is ripe with a hypnotic horn and sublime bassline. He summarizes the theme of the project here and warns us not to drink the sweet poison even though we might be tempted to. Overall, the album is a brave statement of intent from Kobi Onyame, created during the most confusing and yet most beautiful last two years of his life. According to Onyame, “it’s a warning that not everything in our society that feels or looks good is actually good. I guess it’s the old saying that not everything that glitters is gold”.
Across his four previous albums, Kobi Onyame has collaborated with the likes of vocalist Emeli Sande, UK/Ghanain rapper Sway DaSafo, and Canadian veteran rapper Saukrates. His last album GOLD earned him a nomination for the prestigious Scottish Album of the Year award in 2018. His comeback album Don’t Drink The Poison arrives three years after GOLD.