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A Review of Rootword's 'Warning Signs'

Updated on April 17, 2018
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Ikenna Chinedu Okeh is a poet and novelist. His books are available in all major ebooks stores. He lives in Lefkosa, North Cyprus.

Album cover photo
Album cover photo | Source

It is best to start this review with a warning to the reader who will go in search of the album after reading my opinion of this album. This warning is about the artist and his style. He's not exactly out to entertain. The rhythmic sounds you hear are only an accompaniment to the deep meanings embedded in the easy-flowing lyrics, lyrics with social messages that will stir your consciousness so much as to make you realize that you have been sleepwalking through all you see, hear and feel. But just like eating nuts dressed heavy with chocolate, you will savour much good music while suffering the punchy lines of Rootword's rap lyrics.

The rhythmic sounds you hear are only an accompaniment to the deep meanings embedded in the easy-flowing lyrics, lyrics with social messages that will stir your consciousness so much as to make you realize that you have been sleepwalking through all you see, hear and feel.

It starts off with an intro that builds into the track list proper. Laced with pun, interactive and narrative are descriptions that come to mind when qualifying the intro. 'Clockwork' follows next. I will rather say that it's intended to exhibit an instrumental achievement. The drumbeat takes the lead in a masterful show-off. Great display.

Rootwords on a stage performance
Rootwords on a stage performance | Source

I had to put 'A Matter Of Time' on replay. Doubtless, the artist has a whole lot to say in his lyrics and he says them without much ado. You can easily read in between the lines and tell that the lyrics are a message which the artist feels very personal about. It's evident in the feeling he puts in his tone. Set against a solid beat, varied in tempo at periods and accompanied by a soothing chorus, 'A Matter Of Time' is tightly knit and held so in the duration of its play.

On seeing the title 'Bad B*tch', I expected something belittling of women as is taken to be common with perversive Hip-Hop culture. Rather than hear of boobs and arses and booty calls, 'Bad B*tch' is a song in praise of a woman whom the society takes to be bad because of her nonconformist stand. It reminds me of Wyclef Jean's 'Perfect Gentleman'. This woman in Rootword's 'Bad B*tch' is a supportive one to her man, and in his lyrics, he pledges his unwavering dedication to her defence. The title is quite ironic, in my opinion, but it falls into my line of thought; if women stand for their individual uniqueness and against conformist dictates that are at variance with their natural constitutions, then the world would be peopled by strong women who would inspire strength and nobility amongst men rather than the predatory weakness that's being mistaken for strength and test of manhood.


Rootwords obviously understands that variety spices life as much as everything pertaining to life; arts inclusive. Hence he included tracks with featured artists from different cultures, thereby adding an exotic tinge to the album's flavour.

Rootwords obviously understands that variety spices life as much as everything pertaining to life; arts inclusive. Hence he included tracks with featured artists from different cultures, thereby adding an exotic tinge to the album's flavour. There's J. Fever in the track 'Great Wall' delivering rap in Oriental lyrics such as flows in time with the beat. Even though I understood no word of his lyrics yet I could connect with them musically. Still on the album's variety, there's Robin Thirdfloor bringing on a native South African flavour in 'Some Danger' with rap flows that testify every bit of artistic resourcefulness.

The album takes on a theatrical feel with 'Children's Story'. It's my guess that Rootwords is out to say something that could be missed if skimmed only on the surface. The track is a lyrical play on words and quite interactive. I love the catchy chorus. It's the kind you catch yourself humming to. The snare drum roll pulled me in and held me on. But then the track gives way for 'The Same' and my senses get treated to Rootword's style of hard-core rap lyrics. It's evident that the album is offered like some sort of Eucharist with the officiating minister bearing in mind the necessity of varying the mood of the order of service lest he lose the congregation to disinterest arising from monotony and boredom.

A display of instrumental ingenuity comes on with 'Blue Sapphire'. The rhythm is strong, and the use of digital effect is well served as to speak of nothing short of mastery. I couldn't help but notice the back-up vocals. There could be no better complement for the deep hard-core rap flows. I can draw a parallel with 'Back Off Me' which boasts an informed combination of sound instruments tastefully arranged. Such pleasing offering of music to the ears. And for the rap lyrics, you should notice how they are delivered without effort.

The album is a musical journey; my opinion, at least. Its paths lead through the highways of social and societal issues and down the deserted lanes and backstreets of Rootword's personal experiences, with musical sounds adding shade to the scenery.

The mood drops with 'Waumfwa' with periodic variations in tone and mood. Yet it's all a dramatic accompaniment to rap vocals. And then to wrap it up comes 'Diaspora'. Quite a suggestive title considering that Rootwords is an African in diaspora. He goes all poetic with this one, rhyming such inspirational lyrics that suggests to the listener to pay closer attention beyond cursory listening.

The album is a musical journey; my opinion, at least. Its paths lead through the highways of social and societal issues and down the deserted lanes and backstreets of Rootword's personal experiences, with musical sounds adding shade to the scenery. At any time of the day, I'll strongly recommend the album for informed and entertaining listening.

Also available in vinyl
Also available in vinyl | Source

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