IT WAS New Year’s Eve and the streets of Accra were lit. It felt like everyone was ready to say goodbye to another year of the pandemic. I was invited to a party at the Number One Hotel.
Presented by Akon, Popcaan, Steflon Don and Freedom, the event was hosted by PJ Kev. Everyone came dressed to the nines and ready to spend some money, so there was no way I would have missed this party because I knew everyone would be there.
I arrived around 11:30pm and as anticipated, the party was flooded with people. The atmosphere was electric. I got a drink and made my way to the rooftop, where I spotted a beautiful lady sitting alone.
By the time I made it to her, I noticed a man approach and hand her a drink before I had a chance to talk to her.
That didn’t bother me but there was something else that caught my focus. There was something peculiar about this guy. Especially when the DJ switched from Afrobeats to Hip Hop.
He knew the lyrics to every song. It seemed like he was in sync with the music like he was performing his songs. I wondered if he was a rapper or a ghostwriter. Maybe he was a producer.
Throughout the night, I noticed the guy catching up with others and taking pictures with people who approached him. Once I finally got close I asked, “Are you a ghostwriter or something?” He laughed and said, no.
As the night went by, we acknowledged each other occasionally. At times we would mime the lyrics to songs we both liked.
He had a way of connecting to music, which made me enjoy songs that I hadn’t cared for much before.
At the end of the night, I saw him again at the bar and decided to say goodbye on my way out. I asked for his social media handles and quickly realised who he was.
He goes by the name Rayoe, a dominant rapper, whose name rang bells across high schools and colleges in Accra in the late 2000s. I covered one of his performances at Alliance Française back in 2011.
Everything made sense now. From his Rolex Oyster Perpetual Presidential Watch, coordinated with his gold rope chain, to his Louis Vuitton sneakers and Givenchy shirt. Rayoe’s aura alone draws your attention and makes you want to know more about his story.
That story is deeply embedded in his music.
I immediately asked Rayoe where he had been. An entire decade had passed since his last performance in Accra. I still watch clips of it on YouTube.
Seeing him here in person was blowing my mind, because Rayoe is one of those artistes you only hear about in certain circles and seldom see on the mainstream scene. Still, he is well known in the world of Hip Hop.
Rayoe formed the group Souljas Inn, with the award-winning singer, Chase Forever. One of their most popular songs, ‘One Day’, produced by Richie, saw heavy rotation in 2009, and was featured in several movies.
Besides Richie and Chase, Rayoe is featured on songs with Sarkodie, EL, Dex Kwasi, and Trigmatic.
After leaving Accra in 2012, Rayoe moved to Los Angeles, where he mastered his voice and recorded a host of new tracks.
I got a preview of his upcoming video for a song called ‘Extra’. It’s a great showcase of Rayoe’s creativity and extravagant aesthetic.
He fuses that extravagance with raw talent and a tailored flow. Rayoe has evolved, and so has his story.
He’s a Ghanaian-born artiste, whose ambitions took him to the other side of the world, fully embodying his phrase, “Rap At Your Own Expense.”
Follow him on Instagram @MetaRayoe for updates on all his projects including his single ‘Extra’, which is dropping soon.