The album “Revolutionary Ratchet” conveys a lot of afflictive imagery, but OHENE balances it with moments of empowerment and encouragement. The gravity in his words is matched by the sound of the production. He shows dexterity in how he approaches the songs, frequently switching his cadence and delivery. OHENE also uses his singing voice to establish the sentiment of certain songs. His raw honesty and visceral candidness is intentional and it’s bound to deepen the connection between himself and his fans. This concept album is his most powerful to date, with the rapper giving listeners an up-close look into his thoughts on society via the urban experience.
American born Actor and Musician Ohene Cornelius has been seen on the big screen (Kick Ass, Zenith), small screen (Blindspot, Person of Interest), the internet (blackandsexytv) and important music venues/festivals (SXSW, Santos, A3C). Recently he has been working on musical philanthropic efforts and collaborating with numerous indie and mainstream artists, starting the comedy showcase “Smokes and Jokes Comedy”, being a father, and starting his own lifestyle and clothing brand called Harlem River Yacht Club.
OHENE has a reputation for being a prolific lyricist. By listening to his past releases, it’s already been established that it doesn’t matter what project he is working on, the man’s dedication to deep-thinking conscious lyricism is always evident no matter which route he’s traveling. OHENE’s revolution in this concept album, is not just one of political unrest and violence, but also of reflection and community building, as he explained.
“Besides Urban Dictionary’s definition of a ‘ratchet’ being a gun, or an aggressive hood person,” elaborates OHENE, “a ratchet is a tool, allowing one to take steps back to move forward during the perpetual state of time’s seemingly one directional trajectory.” But it’s not only the title that is a play on words, OHENE also uses powerful imagery to transmit his story. In particular, the storyline of “Revolutionary Ratchet” is dominated by rats.
Why use the rat? New York is known for pizza rat, city rats, and snitches and OHENE wanted tell a story where he personifies these rats in an urban way, with all the good and bad connotations attached. Check out the album linear notes for the full story on the album’s concept, which is an in-depth look at the black experience in America, through the eyes of an artistic visionary.
The 9 track album begins with “Moxy” in which OHENE lays out his intentions for his music in narrative-style, and quickly gets right down to business. The cinematic backdrop and the crackling percussion is appealing in its own right, but the lyrics calling out the storyline is spot-on lit mode.
“Work Out” ft. Oun P. further explores OHENE’s purpose for the album: “Born from a hex. On Malcolm X Boulevard. Where they pull your card Tested. Niggas stay being arrested. Nigha never learn they lesson. Til revenge get em popped in the back. And laid up on respite (the fuck is the deal).”
“Crashing Down” is a protest song produced and featuring Tommie Sox that lays its cards on the table from the get go: “White Gun. Black Masks. Green Bills. Red Flags. Blue states. Welfare. We don’t got no healthcare.” The track looks at all the forces that molded and shaped the social texture of America.
“You can have the world. But you can’t have my girl. I be swishin and a swerving. She be loving and deserving.” “Deserving” is a well-crafted piece of audible prose that almost sounds like a soulful R&B interlude from the album’s intense main theme. Looking inward and outward at his relationship, this track captivates with its mesmerizing delivery. “The revolution is in love,” sings OHENE.
“Lost girls. Lost money. They be back by tomorrow,” raps OHENE in “Love In The Street”. It plays like a therapy session as the Harlem rapper gets situations and feelings off his chest that have been bubbling to the surface for years.
“To the Moon” features Merc da BigBodyBenz and Paco da G Train Bandit. OHENE brings great lyrics and flow to every track, and proves again how strong he is as a lyricist. Here he is ably assisted in delivering an explicit three-dimensional listening experience.
“Decked Out” is another one of those detailed stories that only artists like OHENE can deliver. Once we hit this song, things on the album start to get really introspective, deep, and emotional. It comes with great vocals and verses. “Juice” is filled with shimmering guitars, keys and mellifluous vocal tones by SHAPRI, while femcee MERC throws down some serious rhymes before OHENE comes onto this female dominated track.
The album closes with “A Different World”, written and produced by OHENE, which comes with his usual intricate writing and storytelling. OHENE has always been respected as an artist and top-notch lyricist, but with this album, we’re finally given a clear and concise introduction to his profound mindset, and the revolutionary power of his beating heart.