Sun. Nov 1st, 2020

Donnel Sosu Writes: Dying unnoticed: the ploddingly state of hiplife music in Ghana.

4 min read

Some Ghanaian musicians

“Frankly, I don’t feel the fire anymore from the youth. I miss my era when mudaf***rs were fighting for shit, spitting fire in their lyrics” Ice-T. Hip life or rap music since it’s inception as a genre in Ghana has made tremendous impact in the music scene and in the lives of the youth. It is undeniable that people who took rap music seriously have gained considerably enviable amount of wealth from it. The genre is a simple component of music but very complicated in itself. For this paramount reason, not every artist can survive in this domain. And that’s a bitter truth many aspiring rappers are not told. The genre has its major influence from the American Hip Hop culture and as such you need to be tough and lyrically prepared to prolong your stay in this sub-field.

Legendary Obrafour

By this reason the genesis of hiplife saw some wild, vicious and lyrically astute artists like Reggie Rockstone, Obrafour, Okyeame Kwame, Okomfour Kwadee, the Last Two music acts as well as the heavy weight champion Lord Kenya et al. During this era, rappers were lyrically and military minded ready to kill the beat at the least given chance. These well-prepared artists were not only conscious of the wealth generation aspect of the game but also conscious of their environments. Thus, they made songs to educate and tackle social vices such as rape, robbery, teenage pregnancy among others.

Songs such as “Nteteɛpa by Obrafour (touched on almost every issue), Apuskelele by Sydney (campaign about promiscuity), Peace and Love by Samini ft Edem and Tinny (election peace campaign) P1 by Kwadee (centred on education), Agye gon and Democracy by A Plus (Politics), Ɔkɔ aba by Obour (Road campaign) et al” are examples of such songs. Hiplife during that era was simply amazing. These guys produced hits after hits and have also stayed relevant up to now.

Howbeit, hiplife suddenly reached a morphological stage, an alarming state that drew the attention of both the musicians and industry players. It was soon realized the heat in the music was gradually vanishing. Some artists started releasing substandard rap songs. Songs which died off in a week or two.
WHAT WENT WRONG?

Two different schools of thought came to be at this time. One group believed hiplife was dying whilst the other group believed it was completely dead. Prominent among these people were Obour, Okyeame Kwame and Richie Mensah with the song Killing The Game. A song which confirmed that hiplife was actually dying. The song gave enough reasons to defend their claim.

In an interview on Pure Fm, Tinny admittedly said hiplife is dead. He however added that only Hammer of the Last Two can resurrect it. He added that until he (Hammer) returns to the studio, hiplife will be dead forever. On 4Syte TVs interview, Obrafour debunked the idea of hiplife being dead but quite interestingly, Reggie Rockstone on the same interview said it was rather going through a transition. A transition?

The different schools of thought on hiplife permits me to reiterate the question again.

Reggie Rockson

IS HIPLIFE DYING OR DEAD?

“Frankly, I don’t feel the fire anymore from the youth. I miss my era when mudaf***rs were fighting for shit, spitting fire in their lyrics” Ice-T. The quote above sums my opinion on the status of hiplife and also answers the question accordingly.
Hiplife is actually dying and it’s really dying unnoticed putting it in a ploddingly state.
That is a sad reality! But for Sarkodie! The availability and easy accessibility of technology has invariably increased the number of music production studios in the country. In effect, and unlike before, one can record anywhere. And this has resulted in the sudden upsurge of rappers in the country. (I wonder if some are even rappers!)

Most of these new school rappers tagged millennials are hungry for success and stardom yet they fail to sharpen their skills to prolong their stay. Their outrageous thirst for recognition is but a polydipsia.
They strive for stardom but are soon fafiated due to the porousness of their craft.
They release songs that only last for a couple of days as compared to their predecessors. Some even die off on their days of release. How pathetic!

“Music could ache and hurt, that beautiful music was a place a suffering man could hide” Pat Conroy.

Are we able to hide with our current songs? I remain reluctant mentioning names because you know them. Some of them are a typical example of Mason Bee rappers who have created their own compartments in hiplife.
Kudos to them considering the difficulty in the country but the quality of their rap songs remains a jamais vu.

“Tell me what you listen to, and I will tell you who you are” Tiffanie DeBartolo

Sarkodie

Indeed, if what we listen to defines who we are, then we must be careful in our selection because most of our song are substandards. It is by this reason that hiplife has reached a dull and predictable state. Although hiplife is dying unnoticed, I am highly optimistic that with the right persons in the game, the genre will return to it’s glory days. “Never become so involved with something that it blinds you. Never forget where you from; someone will remind you” DMX.

Culled from Master Mawuena GodsLove

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