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Love Ghost x Camidoh x DJ Switch Ghana - Dope Man (Love Ghost llc)

7 December 2023

It is fair to say that Love Ghost’s series of collaborations have often taken them far from the grunge/punk/alt-rock path that seemed pre-ordained for them. Through a brave and often unexpected choice of artists to work with, they have ventured into all manner of rap-rock, Latino-punk, and urban alternative sounds. But this latest release, “Dope Man,” a collaboration with Camidoh and DJ Switch Ghana is about the furthest they have yet traveled, sonically speaking.

The conclusion you draw from these creative bursts, says a lot about you, the listener. Either you approve of this musical adventurousness, in which case you understand how music evolves, stays fresh, and moves on, or you see it as an act of rock and roll betrayal, in which case you should go back to your Led Zeppelin albums and talk to like-minded folk about the various tunings, plectrum thickness and string gauge that Jimmy Page favoured. I’m in the former camp; what I hear when I listen to “Dope Man” is a band that is creatively restless, brilliantly genre-hopping, willing to test new waters, and rather than give the listener what they expect, happy to give them what they didn’t know they wanted. The phrase “comfort zones” is not one that Love Ghost has much time for.

“Dope Man,” far from following the band’s early inclinations to cut loose with big guitar riffs and thunderous drums, is built on afro-beat rhythms and cool rap salvos, slowly building in weight and energy until it reaches a state of near-euphoria. It is all about groove rather than grit, grace rather than grind.

When you hear the term “rap-rock,” rather than being put off by the notion of speed-metallers trying to gain some credibility by crossing over into hip-hop realms, something that never really worked, instead think of “Dope Man.” Think of a song where Western rock is subsumed, balanced, blended and raised up by African vibes, beats rather than bluster are the order of the day, and where the sounds of two distinct musical cultures move in unison. That’s how you do it.