In the GTA-inspired opening sequence of the action-packed music video for “Yard”, Tulenkey, Ara and Wes7ar 22 are blocked off the road and pulled over from a vintage Camaro by a police task force. Ominous music and sirens heighten the tension as the officers roughly search the boys, a cinematic cut-away intro follows, re-opening to a flashback of events leading up to the police arrest.
Rapper, Tulenkey’s has been coasting in Ghanaian underground for nearly two years, with sharp lyricism and picturesque music videos. “Yard” is visibly his most ambitious attempt yet. The emPAWA-backed single comes packed with all the stylistic elements of grit, storytelling and bright colours that fit right into the renaissance of modern West African Afropop.
In the video, we follow Tunlekey—who is flanked by a masked Wes7ar 22 and Nigerian up-and-comer, Ara—through a trap-house, he is there to pick up a package but the details around him tell the clearer story. Wes7ar 22’s ebullient chorus, “We’ve got some Igbo (weed) in the Yard“, foregrounds trap house scenes; a pair of dice at the centre of a gambling circle, money being exchanged for an unidentified purchase and women packaging a white substance in palm-sized bags. As the events in the “Yard” progress, we later see the police slowly surrounding the building. Tulenkey and the gang are seen driving away, the gamblers scrambly disperse, and the formerly rowdy trap house rapidly empties out until viewers are reconnected to the scene of Tulenkey’s arrest.
“Yard” has an unapologetic attitude in itself that’s impossible to ignore. This is partly due to the confident delivery of all three artists on the track, but mostly because the edginess of the video highlights Tulenkey’s inclination towards hyper-realistic narratives steeped in contemporary pop culture references. Nigerian contemporaries Naira Marley, Santi and Prettyboy D-O have already become subjects of social media fascinations for using the same stylistic trope. With “Yard” , Tulenkey is proof raw depictions of African reality in this gritty manner won’t stop surfacing in popular music any time soon.
See Tulenkey in “Yard” below:
Toye is managing-partner at NATIVE Nigeria. Tweet at him @ToyeSokunbi