Rap music in Ghana- what we call hiplife, undoubted has laid a strong foundation for the recent talents that exist in the music industry in Ghana. And one thing that need not be ignored has always been the language factor.
Tinny became distinct in the hiplife game because of his strong acumen in his native Ga. Obrafour and Kwadee showed their lyrical depth with Twi. What about Kwaw Kese? Need I mention Edem?
Despite the spaces in their breakthroughs, one could count the features and collaborations among rappers from the same tribe or tongue. Okyeame Kwame and Obuor rap in Twi and did “Killing the Game” with Richi Mensah on production and singing as well; Obrafour featured Guru on “Kasiebo” and also collaborated with the then rising star-Sarkodie on “Hiplife” all in 2009. And we all can testify how such trends of collaborations and featuring did for the genre Hiplife till now.
The Fante dialect, with its variations, spoken mostly in Central and Western Regions of Ghana, without doubt, has influenced Ghanaian music to a large extent. Trace Ghanaian music legends, and those from these two regions, and their contributions cannot be gainsaid. C.K Mann, A. B Crentsil, Jewel Ackah, Paapa Yankson, K. K. Kabobo, Randy Nunoo, Bessa Simmons, Ben Brako, Amandzeba have all brazed the trail. The Sasha Marleys, Sass Squad/ TH4Kwages also have done their bit.
There clearly appears a conscious attempt to institutionalise Fante as a preferred music language. This may be conscious or not. In contemporary times, Castro and Kwaw Kese have held the fort, so also is talent kid Tutulapato emerging.
Call it pure talent from Fanteland, but if you have heard about the Westside Legacy, you will know these young talents are bent on taking over the music scene.
The Westside Legacy, “[is] just coming together as one BIG umbrella and a FAMILY to raise the flag of the [western Region] higher. It consists of all the Music Artists, Radio Presenters, DJs, Promoters and Event Organisers in the Oil City,” the Movement’s Facebook Page clearly demonstrates.
Atsu Koliko & Scooby Selenxy, Castro, Sketches, Ras Ebo, Singlet, Tredeii, King Lucas, Perry, Expo, 2 Rat, Snow B, PsyphaRilla, and other guys like Qonsiano, Sketches, Kess, Ras Ebo, Smokkie [DeeShine], King Lucas, NTK, and Female artist like Dara Makwena and Debbie, are listed as members.
These Fante-oriented musicians, these days pride themselves with collaborations among themselves with the aim of helping carry each other along. Singlet, Ayesem, Curr3ncy, SayVee, among others are all helping. Nero X for example, has featured on Kinaata’s “Asaw Biara wom” and TeePhlow’s “Amen.” Nero gets featured, may be because he is a singer. Just may be.
What about the rappers? Currently, Fante rap has taken the centre stage, but it seems the three Fante frontliners-Kofi Kinaata, Pappy Kojo and TeePhlow are not well united, although there have not been any beefs or lyrical war, that obvious, that the public is aware of.
TeePhlow’s breakthrough came as a result of the 2014 Next Big Thing in Gh Hipop Reality Show where he emerged as the First Runner Up. Kofi Kinaata (aka Fante Rap God) had his name on the lips of Ghanaians after featuring on “Odo pa” by our lost and yet to be found Hiplife great-Castro with Baby Jet in 2013. The “Awo’a” hit maker, Pappy Kojo blew up with “Realer no” with Joey B which became an anthem on the street in the late 2014.
These three rappers are doing great with their craft with different styles of rapping but there is a big question mark when it comes to their relationships, from where I sit. Most of their fans are expecting a feature or collaboration among these Fante rap soldiers; however it seems they are not ready to come together.
Is there any beef “cooking” among them? Is ego playing a major role here? Should we expect collaboration or we should forget about it? The fans want some wind of peace to blow within the Fante Confederation Rappers but the separation still remains. Why? Kofi Kinaata, Pappy Kojo and TeePhlow.
May be, that group photo, which features Kinaata, Pappy Kojo and TeePhlow, with Hammer, taken at the 2016 VGMA Nominees Party Friday night, which has been widely circulated on social media is a sign of what to expect. And I am eagerly waiting.