28 Days of Album Cover Blackness With VSB, Day 8: Guy Warren of Ghana's Afro-Jazz (1969)

Illustration for article titled 28 Days of Album Cover Blackness With VSB, Day 8: Guy Warren of Ghana's Afro-Jazz (1969)
Image: Guy Warren of Ghana ‘Afro-Jazz’ (EMI Columbia Records)

I’ll bet if that if I didn’t tell you that this album cover was for an album by a Ghanaian artist in 1969, I’d bet good money that you might assume this was a reference cover for a Kool Moe Dee album in 1989. Or for some gangsta rap artist out of Compton in the late ’80s. But nope, Guy Warren of Ghana (as he was known in the United States) or Kofi Ghanaba was a pioneer for late ’80s hip-hop even if he didn’t know it or doesn’t get any credit. He was already a pioneer for the afro-jazz movement, but he might have single-handedly inspired Kool Moe Dee, which makes him hip-hop AF.

I mean, just look at this album cover—photo credit goes to William Holden. Look at the drums—the drums make anything 100 percent Blacker than it started—and the taco-meat chest hair. Look at the locs and the black hat. This could have been the cover for Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet and nobody would have batted an eye. My man looks like he’s ready to go to war. Look at those super fly kicks he’s sportin’. He looks like he used to live Uptown, 129th Street and Convent. I can’t stop making Kool Moe Dee references. The fact that this came out in 1969 also trips me out. It seems so ahead of its time even if it was right on time, similar to album covers by artists like Isaac Hayes, which feel both ahead of their time and entirely of their time.

I love everything about this album cover. If I had to re-create any album cover, this is definitely high up on the list of recreationables. So shouts out to Guy Warren of Ghana for perhaps unintentionally inspiring a slew of artists in America two decades later. This album cover is Black AF.

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Now somebody please give the drummer some.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.

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DISCUSSION

This guy used to play drums for E. T. Mensah and the Tempos, the amazing highlife band.