The last time Livingstone Etse Satekla otherwise known in the entertainment circle as Stonebwoy released a full-length musical project, the whole world was at an abrupt standstill. The Alakple native released his fourth oeuvre at a time of despondency- and forthrightly, the project couldn’t have been more on time.
2020’s ‘Anglo Junction’ was Stonebwoy’s fourth project and many hailed the body of work as the gifted singer’s most personal, well-sequenced, and curated outfit thus far.
Perhaps it was the sentimental backstory attached to the record; the Ghanaian singer sighting his hometown, Alakple as the project’s muse, or it was the quality of Anglo Junction’s guest acts ranging from sensational American singer, Keri Hilson to South African Hip-hop royalty, Nasty C to the animated Tanzanian crooner, Diamond Platnumz that made the project garner considerable critical acclaim- for all the right reasons, Anglo Junction seemed to have struck the right nerves.
Stonebwoy made his full-project debut in 2012 (Grade 1), and ever since, the Ewe-speaking star has successfully implanted himself as one of Ghana’s go-to artists in the Dancehall genre, standing toe to toe with local beloveds such as Samini and the controversial Shatta Wale.
Unlike Samini and Wale, Stonebwoy has been able to conveniently shape-shift himself into other musical genres over the years via numerous Pan-African musical collaborations- yet still sticking to his default style of music. His latest body of work, Fifth Dimension proves this much is true.
Post Anglo Junction; the butterfly effects of Stonebwoy’s fourth body of work were beginning to – if not wearing off totally from the minds of his loyal fans, and subsequently, demand for a new album filled the air.
Like an Apocalyptic zombie’s insatiable thirst for brains, his fans were salivating for another release- Although Stonebwoy occasionally pacified his teeming fan base with a single release here and there, nothing satisfied the ‘BHIM NATIVES’ (as his fan base often calls themselves)more, than the announcement of his Fifth Studio album titled ‘Fifth Dimension’( for obvious reasons) scheduled for release on the 28th of April.
Fifth Dimension came with solid stand-alone singles like ‘Activate’ featuring popular Nigerian singer, Davido- solo efforts like ‘Far Away’, ‘More Of You’, and ‘Therapy’ -although the original record of the latter had now been substituted with an Oxlade and Tiwa Savage version.
Therapy had already gained a whopping figure of over one million views on the popular viewing app, Youtube, while a record like ‘Activate’ took home bigger digits- ten million views.
One of the interesting aspects of ‘Fifth Dimension’ is how it exposes Stonebwoy’s foresight. For example, a record like ‘Activate’– Albeit released two years prior, still fits conveniently into the Album’s sequencing.
Record opener, ‘Life & Money’ is a mid-tempo sonic cuisine and British rapper, Stormzy adds extra sauce with an introspective rhyme scheme, a lovely appetizer to the seventeen-track body of work.
Tracks like ‘Apotheke’ featuring South Africa’s DJ Maphorisa prove Stonebwoy’s ability to adapt to trends, as he hops on the Amapiano music craze with ease.
While Stonebwoy might stretch his hands to the Southern corners of the African continent, seeking new vibrations, he still reminds fans of his early dancehall affiliations with songs like the quizzical ‘Where Is The Love’, ‘My Sound’ which features legendary Jamaican Musician, Shaggy, and ‘Secret Lover’, this time with yet another Jamaican icon, Dexta Daps.
Stonebwoy is a benevolent host as he leaves space for each collaborator to shine, maybe too much (Therapy), and (Manodzi).
In summary, Stonebwoy's '5th Dimension' is a poignant oeuvre that picks from a variety of sonic influences to make it a uniformed musical arrangement befitting of a celebrated yet ironically underrated African musical icon.