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The Pick: King Promise is Love-drunk On"Slow Down"

Our song of the week!

Very few Afropop acts can hold a torch to the vocal prowess of Gregory Newman, aka King Promise, in the Ghanaian music scene. His liquid voice is like a swiss army knife: it can take a number of forms, eliciting different emotions, but one thing always remains constant ー it’s euphonious. On R2Bees’ posse cut “Boys Kasa”, he delivers a short rap-sung verse with a slightly lower register than what is usually expected of him, keeping up with rappers like Kwesi Arthur and Spacely. On Mr Eazi’s pop-influenced “Dabebi '' he makes a short cameo, complementing Mr Eazi’s more croaky inflections with his honeyed vocals. While he doesn’t have a full verse to himself, he pops up all around the record with amazing background vocals, almost like a colorful yarn loop weaved through a polychromatic textile.

On “Sweetie Jorley”, a cut from his 2020 collaborative project ー Love and Happiness ー with KillBeatz and Ofori Amponsah, his voice is spread thin across the record as he delivers a sweet-sounding verse entirely in twi, his native language. However, on his latest release, “Slow Down”, his vocal texture is the sharpest and crispiest it has ever been. His enunciations are crystal clear and his voice is also silver-toned. Here, an eager King Promise is head over heels as he warbles on about his love interest, making a case for jumping right into the thick of things. You can hear the urgency in his voice when he sings: “I’m tryna go on away with you / I’m tryna have my kids with you / If we gonna get into it / I no dey think say we should wait / No need to keep delaying” against a stacked wall of violin chords and a drum loop, giving a slight melodramatic feel. His love interest’s reply is simple ー slow down.

The 25-year-old singer lets out a slight scoff mid-verse, indicating how impatient he has become and how serious he is about his love interest. He, however, doesn’t get any clarity as to the hold up as he continuously sings: “Tell me what you want? / Me ne koraa what you want? / Meni noo what you want?” over Killbeatz and Nonso Amadi’s combined rhythmic percussion and soothing violin chords to close out arguably one of his best records in recent memory.

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