As a Ghana native residing in Canada, filmmaker, painter, and songwriter Kojo “Easy” Dampton has witnessed firsthand the hostile injustices of racial oppression and violence against his own people, as well as other minorities the world over. His debut album, Daylight Robbery, touches upon these very experiences through stories of inequality, persecution, hope, and love of oneself and others with gripping song-based compositions and spoken word passages that attempt to call attention to and salve such frustrations. All that being said, the man knows his way around a mic and a piano – websites for piano teachers like the well-maintained Local Rankings site for music would be wise to log some demonstrations of his virtuoso-level prowess to use as course material. Yeah, he’s that good with the white and black keys.
Considering the weighty subject matter pervading through its ten tracks, Robbery has an optimistic sound that is sonic ambrosia to the mind, soul, and ear. Blending traditional and modern influences of Highlife and Hiplife from his native country together with soul and jazz fusion essences, the album illustrates a raw, honest portrait of the world as seen through the eyes of this talented artist. “The Corporate Man” immediately comes to mind; a jazzy number with breezy flourishes of horn instrumentation and keys as Dampton inquires, “You ask yourself what kind of pressure are we under, under, under?” just as the chorus kicks into high gear. Following up with “Wait for Love” and “Africa,” Dampton infuses Caribbean rhythms of spidery guitar and dub-riddled percussion that evokes the utopian offerings of King Bruce and The Black Beats jamming with Lee “Scratch” Perry.
As a singer, Dampton has a commanding presence on the microphone and it certainly drives his message home. Songs such as “Rock & Roll” and “Field of Dreams” elicits an aura of slam poetry, with dynamic snare pops and soothing vocal harmonies masked behind his soul-drenched, rapped lyrics. Dampton’s delivery may be sharp-tongued, but his dream is a positive one, and he encourages the listener, regardless of ethnicity or creed, to find their voice and rise up.