Stonebwoy is unstoppable. The ultra-colourful Ghanian star has forged his own sound, blending dancehall aspects with emerging waves of afrobeats creativity. Part of the current golden generation of West African talent making their mark internationally, he’s also out there on his own, working in a singular style. ‘5th Dimension’ is held together by his presence, with the glittering guests serving notice on a fireworks laden display of diasporic interchange.
‘5th Dimension’ is an album stacked with highlights. UK icon Stormzy lights up opener ‘Life & Money’, paying his respects to the Ghanian godfather with a rare – and impactful – feature. The dulcet ‘Therapy’ – featuring Oxlade and Tiwa Savage – blends R&B aspects into his bubbling afro-dancehall sound to magnificent effect, while the majestic Jaz Karis boosts Stonebwoy’s anthem ‘In Control’.
Always intent on linking trans-Atlantic communities, ‘My Sound’ finds Stonebwoy merging his voice with dancehall kingpin Shaggy, resulting in something ruthlessly entertaining. It’s far from only dash and colour, though – ‘African System’ takes things a little deeper, introducing societal aspects to his lyricism, while ‘Forget’ is an oddly moving soliloquy.
Indeed, for all the use of features ‘5th Dimension’ is often at its most effective when Stonebwoy stands alone. ‘Where Is The Love’ and ‘Non-Stop’ offer thrilling testament to his multi-dimensional talents, the latter a soulful reggae skank with some gorgeous horn work. Closing with the zesty ‘Manodzi’ – with the help of Angelique Kidjo – this is a record that offers the full flowering of Stonebwoy’s powers. Continually moving forwards, it’s an album packed with flavour, built for summer use.
The sound of someone realising their dreams, it offers further sign that Stonebwoy is here for the long game, building a formidable legacy. As he puts it; “Music chose me, I didn’t choose music.”
Words: Robin Murray