Genesis Owusu is out to impress with new track, ‘Sideways’
Ghanian-Australian wunderkind GENESIS OWUSU has teamed up with members from Hiatus Kaiyote to produce a joyous, Afrofuturistic jam called ‘Sideways’. 19-year-old Owusu, who is based in Canberra, has been turning heads since he was selected as a finalist in Triple J Unearthed High in 2015. This tune builds on his reputation as a creator of idiosyncratic but hugely catchy beats; it is unsurprising that Owusu’s influences range from Jimi Hendrix to Frank Ocean, Wu Tang Clan and Kanye West.
Owusu’s family moved to Canberra from Ghana when he was two, and he believes this has influenced his creative ambitions. “Being put in that situation automatically made me an outlier, which was something I quickly grew to accept and own,” he said in a recent interview, “So since then I just unapologetically did really cool shit.” Owusu is not afraid to stand out, bending genres with his experimental hip-hop sound.
This collaboration was recorded in a home studio in Melbourne with Simon Mavin and Perrin Moss of Hiatus Kaiyote, in a room containing 33 keyboards, a drum-kit, an assortment of guitars, and other miscellaneous music-making equipment from all over the world, plus a couple of cats. The unique groove of ‘Sideways’ is in part due to the plethora of unusual sounds that the trio have used, but also owes a lot to Owusu‘s confident, distinctive vocals, as he holds his own alongside the bass-heavy beats.
“The three of us were scanning and researching a whole bunch of sounds when we came across this creaky little rhythm that would soon become the foundation of the song,” he explains. “Something about the way the sound moved just reminded me of the sounds of my birthplace, Ghana. I started singing what would become the chorus of the song, which was reminiscent of Pidgin English. The phrase ‘Onyame gye me, gye me, O’ is a Twi (Ghanaian language) phrase that translates to ‘O God, save me, save me, oh’.”
“The song has a lot of significance for me personally, as both an artist and an African, as I progressively push my own sound further while also being able to proudly pay homage to a cultural foundation that hasn’t always been correctly appreciated by people outside of it,” says Owusu.
This track is the first single off Genesis Owusu’s forthcoming five-track release. It’s sure to be a wild ride.
Words by Molly McLaughlin