CoSign is an accolade we use to put our stamp of approval on an up-and-coming artist or group who is poised for the big time. For August 2023, we’re highlighting Ghanaian-Australian artist Genesis Owusu and his sophomore effort, STRUGGLER.
Just a few years ago, Genesis Owusu had a serious sit-down with his manager. His debut album, 2021’s Smiling with No Teeth, garnered rave reviews and even cracked the top 30 on the Australian charts. But as a working musician, he and his manager both knew it was time to start considering steps towards the next level of success, especially in the United States. In frank terms, the artist born Kofi Owusu-Ansah had to consider amending his sound for a more commercially accessible follow-up project. So, obviously, Genesis Owusu wrote STRUGGLER – a genre-bending, philosophically-inclined concept album about a bug’s attempt to evade the boot of God.
“I literally went into the album like, ‘Okay, yeah, we’re gonna make some hits,’” the artist explains on a call from his Canberra home. “And then I ended up making an album about a fucking roach trying to run away from God.”
Written across multiple continents, STRUGGLER takes the creative idiosyncrasies Owusu displayed on Smiling with No Teeth and expands upon them in just about every possible way. From the album-long narrative arc to its boundless stylistic exploration, STRUGGLER is Owusu distilled into 11 tracks.
“I realized that I just want to be a storyteller,” Owusu tells Consequence. “When I was a kid, I used to write short stories, and then I transitioned to poetry, and then I transitioned to music and making albums and projects. And I realized that I’ve just been a storyteller the whole time, the medium has just changed.”
And yet, ironically, Owusu came to such a realization by looking outwards. An ambitious, conceptual odyssey in its own right, Smiling with No Teeth dealt with Owusu’s tangible experiences. Taking on topics of racism, mental health, and life’s day-to-day struggles, the record was a clear expression of everything that had been plaguing Owusu’s mind up to that point. STRUGGLER, on the other hand, attempts to oust Owusu from the equation, and in turn, perhaps achieves an even truer portrayal of the artist.