From the opening words of GHOST, you know this is an X.O Senavoe you’ve never heard before. “Drowning all my sorrows in this vodka, having a ball, wondering when you’ll grow one/I been hearing that you f****rs wanna show out, oh boy, click click on my shot gun”. If you think that was an incredible start, you should wait ’til the end. GHOST is everything you wanted X.O to be – fearless, bravado-spilling, multi-bar-lacing, and all with effortless delivery, as he lays claim to being one of the greatest African rappers … ever. Among many things, GHOST is X.O’s indictment of the idea that Africans need to rap in a particular way, or language or tongue, to be considered among the “greatest”. His ability to do so seamlessly is matched by the irony he points out in his lyrics: “Sorry, I forgot, I’m from Africa right, so I gotta spit something we relate to, like how, if I rap in English, even if, I’m the greatest ever – they no go rate you”. Produced by Gafacci, GHOST is laced on a hard-hitting symphony of bass, 808s, synths, and high-hats which provide the perfect canvass for X.O’s re-emergence. The hook, which is in Twi and translates to “one who’s ghost refuses to agree that you’re dead” is simply eery, and befits the song title.
But the ante is upped when X.O, who represented Nigeria in the BET cypher, flexes his linguistic muscle rapping in Fante, and both Asante and Akuapem Twi for the first time ever. And throughout it all, “El Presidente” is pulling no punches with this one. No more Mister Nice Guy. After “Oluwadele” ft Efya, and Coptic’s “Real Niggaz” along with Sarkodie last year, Mr. Senavoe went ghost on us, reportedly to dabble in other interests like Law. But if this is, as he says, just the start to a cascade of new music coming our way, then the absence was well worth the wait. “I got a Barretta for all Barrettis to my Empire, Loaded Luxes for these Calicoes/All first verse, but you ‘gon get this work’ in a landslide, when I pull up like your pantyhose”. Smack!