It’s hard to find someone that Ghananian rap duo FOKN Bois don’t offend on their first official album and legitimate early bid for best rap album of 2012 “FOKN Wit Ewe.” But it’s even harder to dislike them.
Although M3nsa and Wanlov Da Kubolor have released a rather large catalogue of material both solo and together as FOKN Bois, FOKN Wit Ewe, released February 14, represents their most refined and impressive effort to date.
In between beats that nestle themselves between afro-beat rhythms, Timbaland bravado, and irreverent, hilariously clever rhymes, FOKN Bois establish themselves in this album as the undisputed kings of Africa’s rap scene- that is, if you can understand them.
FOKN Bois, as their name suggests, rap in pidgin and pride themselves on this- their last big project before this album was “Coz Ov Moni,” the “worlds first pidgin musical.” When you can understand them, though, you’ll usually find them to be saying something mildly offensive, incredibly clever and ridiculously hilarious.
Despite their constant joking, I hesitate to relegate FOKN Bois to the genre of joke rap that I have a not-so-secret disdain for. That is because unlike others in this genre, FOKN Bois don’t prioritize comedy at the cost of rap legitimacy (The Lonely Island), nor do they hide a lack of talent behind a veneer of irony (Das Racist). Instead, FOKN Bois are top tier rappers who also happen to be hilarious.
Their brand of humor is crude and extremely sexual, attacking just about every untouchable issue with extreme irreverence.
The album sets the tone with the “SINtro,” wherein M3nsa and Wanlov point out hot women in church over the audio of a Catholic mass. Highlights of crudity include the smooth R&B-flavored “Jesus is Coming,” which is not referring to arriving, the faux-party anthem “Laffin at Cripples,” the Arabic-beat backed “Sexin Islamic Girls,” and their biggest hit to date “Thank God We’re Not a Nigerians.”
While their humor may be low-brow, FOKN Bois use that humor as sincere social criticism, crafting an album that is not overly-political, but just political enough to be important and just ridiculous enough to still be enjoyable. And I mean really, really enjoyable.
In a way that only the best lyricists can, FOKN Bois craft hilarious, disingenuous songs that make legitimate statements about real issues like gay rights (“Strong Homosexual Guys”), race relations (“Want To Be White”), and, most poignantly, a track entitled “Help America” that comments on the Occupy movement and America living outside of her means while calling on Sudan, Somalia, and Mexico to send help.
In a time when hip-hop rebellion is defined by Tyler, the Creator making up “shocking” macabre crimes, it’s refreshing to see a group that uses rap shock value as a mode of actual rebellion rather than a marketing ploy.
FOKN Bois claim that this album will either lead them to mega stardom or martyrdom. I don’t pretend to know which they’ll be in America, or even if they’ll break into American markets, but I do know that they’ve created an album worthy of global exposure and have set the bar for rap albums in 2012 extremely high.
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