Last night I stayed up to watch the Erykah Badu vs Jill Scott #Verzus battle on IG Live. It was a night of Neo-Soul, backstories of how their classics came about, and general advice on life, love and sisterhood. It was beautiful. The energy was beyond healing, and the music played on this cancer moon’s heartstrings for three hours straight.

The battle got me thinking about the crossroads between focusing on self-development and relationships. Jill’s music is for those who love with everything they have but deal with the heart-shattering consequences when it falls apart. Erykah said she goes into love fully with shutters over her eyes and a ‘muzzle over the mouth’……yeah, that part is definitely not me, but it’s word to the true Pisces she is. This is the music I grew up listening to, the music that shaped my world view and my ideas of what love was. Now, any millennial operating in the UK dating scene knows this is definitely not always the case. So, where do you draw the line between upholding your standards and dreaming about a reality that doesn’t exist?

I don’t have the answer to that by the way. I just know that right now, things make more sense when I’m concentrating on me. When you’re a woman that’s focusing on climbing that career ladder and making a real lasting impact, dating can feel like a distraction. Yes, we know there are good men/women out there that will support your dreams and vice versa. You’ll choose each other every day and build together; you’ll bring each other balance and they’ll be your teammate in this relay race called life. After all, Mrs Obama did say, “We don’t want weak players on our team”.  And though there are lessons to be learned from every situation, the process can feel like time wasting when you have other priorities. Especially if you take disappointments to heart. I’ve spent quarantine focusing on self-improvement and something I’ve recently accepted is that underneath the logical exterior required for my job and academics etc., I’m a pool of emotion. Love isn’t something I take lightly- it’s soul deep. Now, when you’re trying to work on your own, who has the time to take on someone else’s? It’s a delicate balance for ambitious women to strike.

Over the past few years I’ve found a couple of things help. Firstly, just show up as authentically you. That whole saying, “your vibe attracts your tribe?” Yeah that’s facts. Secondly, communicate communicate communicate! Shrinking yourself doesn’t help anybody in any scenario. With time, experience, and growth, you’ll learn to analyse a situation and quickly understand what it is without forcing lofty ideals onto it. If there’s reciprocity, great. If not, that’s perfectly fine too. We have emails to respond to.

Dating is an art not a science so just trust yourself. That means when it comes to matters of the heart, quieten that busy mind of yours and listen to your intuition. I mean, the aim is to have no regrets, right? It’s far from easy but if you tune into your gut, you’ll never swerve off course toward your purpose. Whoever is meant to join you will do so, and whoever isn’t will fall by the wayside. No need to sweat it.

In the meantime, regardless of your relationship status, love is and will always be a beautiful thing. Listen to the playlist below to remind yourself why:

Chronixx’s new single is him bursting onto the scene with a message, I’ll let you know why its everything I needed to hear right now...

Dela Move is the first single from Chronixx’s new Album ‘Dela Splash’. Now, if your next thought after reading that is ‘who is Chronixx?’, my dear, we need to talk. I’d just pause right here and start with reading the first post I ever wrote about Koffee’s ‘Toast’, which I wrapped with Chronixx’s ‘Here Comes Trouble’ (shameless plug, but since you’re here). Like ‘Toast itself, I was filled with optimism at the start of 2019 and had no idea of the whirlwind and dizzying heights I would catapult to that year. I wasn’t ready. But the lessons learnt over twenty something years of a try-first-and-see attitude, were the tools I carried on my back, no matter how heavy, to face everything as it came with audacity and hopefully grace. It was far from easy, but lord knows the journey was nothing short of poetic, a mini odyssey of sorts. And gratitude was the anchor that always kept me ten toes down.

Now the whole world has screeched to a gut-wrenching halt. We’ve been forced to catch our breath, look inwards and just recentre. Clear our minds of the constant onslaught of noise coming from every direction, and just refocus on the things that are truly important. It’s a serene yet eerie moment of silence. We really are in unprecedented times and it’s terrifying, but as to not give into anxiety, I’m trying to focus on the things I can control. Sort of like in the video, cleansing my environment and myself while it seems the world is on fire. This is the time to do some inside work, confront our inner child. Ask ourselves what we truly want after the dust has settled and all this is said and done. The universe has weird way of doing that; recalibrating and reminding us that despite our human perception of superiority, there are higher powers even beyond our understanding.

Be still and know that I am God’.

Despite everything, the universe will always find its balance. And as a part of it, so should we. Like the libra-scale of his sign, this is the energy that Chronixx always brings to his music. In these testing times he brings comfort while also stirring you into action.

The traditional Rastafarian nyabinghi drumming reminds me of my father, a Ghanaian man with a love for the reggae music that punctuated my childhood. The flutes provide elevation, letting you know that this will be a spiritual experience. The hip hop sample underlying the whole song is haunting (perhaps because I can’t quite place it). It’s a slow pulse of adrenaline, akin to the heartbeat of a sprinter seconds before the starting pistol. The sample somehow takes me to Beyoncé, embodying greatness as she obliterated the Coachella stage. And finally, his lyrics, a gentle invitation to open your mind. Chronixx tells us that to really understand him you need to ‘read between the lines’. Interpret the picture he paints not only with his music but his visuals too (I mean honestly this video is LOADED and just stunning).

Though Dela Splash will be his third album, Chronixx is now ready to truly step out into the world; equipped with his talent, his body of work, and his divine sense of purpose. This is an introduction, and above all, this is a testament to growth.

Updated: May 6

Why the Ghanaian producer's new single may be the Pan-African energy we need

A few days back I was sitting around going through my Spotify playlists, and I stumbled across Juls’ new release; ‘Mandela Riddim’. Now this struck me. Was this a house track I was hearing? From Juls no less?? Oh, now I was intrigued.

If you don’t know about Juls by now, my dear, where have you been? Julian Nicco Annan is a British born Ghanaian producer, responsible for some of the biggest hits in commercial Afrobeats today. His command of instrumentals creates an alchemy that moulds songs into beautifully executed works of art. Think I’m being dramatic? Just listen to this...

After a long period of rolling my eyes at the over the top commercialised Afropop that was dominating the scene, in 2015, Mr. Eazi caught my attention. With early singles like Skin Tight, Bankulize and Hollup, this sound was everything I’d been missing. Juls’ production brought back the nostalgia of classic highlife (enter memories of Supermalt and meat pie hall parties), interlaced with jazz, dancehall and hip-hop. His guitar riffs paired with that sultry slow tempo rolled off your skin like the most gentle touch. Juls created a level of intimacy in his music that injected soul back into the mainstream.

In the years that followed, Juls refined his sound and went on to collaborate with artists like Burna Boy, Eugy, Sarkodie, Mugeez, and Maleek Berry. His hit-making abilities cemented his position as the production powerhouse who was playing a key role in the international explosion of Afrobeats.

Listening to his music, you can probably understand why I was so shocked by this new track's 180. Like, I have so many questions?? I’m assuming he spent time in Johannesburg, because the song is definitely influenced by South African House. Cool. But somehow it feels like to interpret this sound, he felt that he needed to strip back the soulful essence of what makes him so beloved up West.

I mean, I understand the logic. They are completely different sounds. But if you truly Immerse yourself in SA house, and experience the way people dancing in Johannesburg, Durban or Cape Town conjure up an electric energy in a room. You’ll find that It is nothing short of poetic. I once watched as a man who had spent most of the night trying to impress a girl at his table, was slowly pulled away by the sound of the beginning of DJ Big Sky’s song, Fire. I’d never seen anything like it. Almost like the spirit of his ancestors were carrying him forward, finally placing him before that DJ booth. All remnants of stunt like behaviour slowly melted away as he approached the dancefloor. And in that moment, his body and the beat involuntarily become one single entity. This didn’t just feel like dancing, this felt like something entirely deeper. Something spiritual.

Despite the slight disconnect, I feel like Mandela Riddim has a much bigger purpose, and signals more of what’s to come. It’s a unifying statement in light of the xenophobia scandal that rocked the continent a few months ago. It highlights the fact that despite all our differences, we need to collaborate if we are to excel. Nothing highlights this more than my experience in Ghana this December. The 'Year of Return' transformed Accra into a stunning cultural melting pot, and made our hometown the diaspora’s gateway into Africa. Therefore this song says, whether your people traditionally dance with their waists or they get busy with footwork, we are all Africans first.

This audacious ode to South African music, is Ghana's biggest producer reminding us that the ‘s’ in Afrobeats is not silent. The genre’s umbrella spans further than Ghana, Nigeria or even Congo. This song is an acknowledgement that though our sound has taken the mainstream by storm, there is a huge scene further South that’s also making massive waves. There are multiple seats at the table. And we should be be inspired by each other while always keeping our essence. For me, it’s also a reminder of why it’s so important to travel within our own continent. There is so much to see and it’s truly a life changing experience.

Ultimately, Mandela Riddim is the perfect representation of cross-cultural inspiration. An act that ironically aligns so perfectly with Ghana’s celebration of 63 years of independence. How? Because if this isn’t a manifestation of Dr. Nkrumah’s vision for Pan-Africanism, then what is?

The musings of a twenty-something-year-old music lover.


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