Diamond From the Pressure: a review

ea. osei
3 min readNov 14, 2022

McRay, of the Rebo Tribe collective, has exploded onto the Hip Hop/ Rap scene in Ghana without apology. Born Reuben Egyiri Buabeng, McRay released his debut Hip Hop/Rap album Diamonds from the Pressure Oct. 27 of this year. Following the release of his first studio project Just Ray Ep McRay states, “For almost two years it has been in the pipeline, with loads of pressure on myself and the team’s necks, and when we say pressure we mean selecting an idea or an experience to express, to get the right contributors to work with, and to find that right time to release.”

McRay

Immediately he sets the tone for the record with the intro; an exasperated stream of consciousness condemning pressure from the powers that be, while celebrating the beauty in community. Celebrating the freedom one feels jumping headfirst into the pressure, if surrounded by a strong support net. DFTP starts to really resonate with me around track 3, “Grow.” Pivoting from the drill-inspired vibe of the first two tracks, “Grow” is best described as more chill, ambient rap. The production is rather minimal, giving space for McRay’s voice to come through clearly. The layering of the background features elevate this track amongst others on the record, giving it a texture that’s tangible and an imagery that’s visible.

Throughout the record, McRay not only shows his lyrical skill in both Twi and English, but shows off his storytelling skill. This body of work shows what ‘starting from the bottom’ sounds like, feels like. It sounds like exasperation, but feels like persistence. It sounds like pain, but feels like catharsis. It sounds like pressure, but feels like the starshine of the last diamond standing. Sonically, he stayed within the bounds of melodic rap and drill pretty rigidly. While keeping cohesion is always appreciated, debut albums are the best places to expand and experiment. “Grow” was my favorite from the record because of its sonic departure from the rest of the album. McRay could afford to slow down or simplify his beat selection, giving more space for his storytelling skill.

GROW (Official Music Video)

Overall, this was a raw and honest debut about the struggles of shooting for the stars amidst intense pressure. Internal and external pressures can compound so much in the beginning of one’s journey it can stop you from taking the next step. However, McRay proves tenacious and triumphant; that he is a diamond made from the pressure. An inspirational offering to the future diamonds scared to take the next step amongst hundreds of thousands of grains of sand.

DFTP” also features guest verses from, Kofi Mole, Toy Boi, Mac M, Endiz, Ara The Jay, MANGODANCE, and Young Eezy (South Africa) including a solid range of beat productions by Yung Demz, Samsney, JVNKNGZ, Lali, Iyke Parker, and Nigo. The project was Executive Produced by Rebo Tribe’s very own audio engineer Mantse Chills, Creative Direction by Saint Richboss, Photography by Bryne Shot It, and Art Design by Fred Godswill.

McRay

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a review, by ea. osei

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