Album Review: Fokn Bois – Afrobeats LOL [FOKN INC; February 2019]

Pidgin rap provocateurs Fokn Bois are back with seven-track EP Afrobeats LOL, which satirises the globalised afrobeats genre, albeit using its riddims and dances. With features by Mr Eazi and Sister Deborah, plus elder of highlife Gyedu-Blay Ambolley, Afrobeats LOL has all the catchy swag of the genre it parodies with added lyrical inventiveness.

Ghanaian duo M3NSA and Wanlov the Kubolor are the cartoonish pair behind the world’s first pidgin musical Coz of Moni. Like the trickster hero Anansi of West African folklore, the Fokn Bois survive by their wits in the film, which unfolds over one day in Accra and which they followed up with a sequel and the album FOKN Ode to Ghana (2016).

Latest drop Afrobeats LOL opens with the reverb-soaked ‘Abana (Tanya Revisited)’, over which the two sing in faux Gregorian style of a young woman pursuing life abroad. With haunting vibraphone and glitchy beats, it sets the tone for what Fokn Bois mischievously describe as their ‘low budget afrobeats’.

Lead single ‘Wo Nim Mi’ follows, featuring fellow Ghanaian Medikal over a refrain which translates as “now you claim to know me because I have made it”. With a wonky sitar sample and floor filling rhythm, it’s the highlight and a great example of the chemistry between M3NSA and Wanlov.

‘True Friends’ ft Mr Eazi provides another strong hook as the Fokn Bois call out ‘Fakebook Friends’- fair-weather friends who ‘Dey never bring cutlass to the farm, but harvest season dey say cut us so’.

The punchlines come thick as Accra traffic on ‘African Holiday’, which lampoons the difficulties of travel within the continent, quipping ‘to go SA without visa I afri-cant’.

The many exclamations of Chale! (mate) Ghanaian pidgin, mixing Twi and English, lends itself to wordplay and is part of the Fokn Bois charisma. If you get lost, the back cover of Afrobeats LOL features playful emoji translations of the songs.

Afrobeats LOL may lack the narrative of Coz of Moni and is not as witty. Nonetheless, the EP finds Fokn Bois on great form.