Album: Spar Junkiez
Label & Release Date: Gbevu Music Group/ March 16, 2016
Dancehall singer Epixode’s craft, especially on stage is literally extraterrestrial. There’s no way that much comes from his diminutive stature. But the is talent for you –it cannot be explained with mere words. See has been in the industry for a while, and has blossomed beautifully. The quality Spar Junkiez (his debut) is a fearless statement about what force he brings to a genre which is certainly not for the faint-hearted.
Spar Junkiez consists such models as Body Body (ft. Mr Eazi), Avatar (ft. Rudebwoy Ranking), Ghetto Anthem Remix ( ft. Keratin Prescott), and No War (ft. Stonebwoy). These songs have served as steadfast pillars for the album.
Label & Release Date: One Nation / April 22, 2016
Featuring Sarkodie, Stonebwoy, E.L, Ice Prince (Nigeria), and Bisa KDei, with production from Legendary Beats and Kill Beatz, Efya ( born Jane Fara Fauzzier Afia Boafowaa Yahaya Awindor) fuses a mix of influences on the 21 songs which make up her debut album Janesis: afropop, R&B, reggae/dancehall, highlife…
Her versatility is vehement, still, she remains true to her her essence in all. No matter what she’s singing about, her voice communicates the rare clarity of soul. Forgetting Me, One of Your Own, Jorley, Gingam Too Much, and Deception are crowning moments on a record which is already exceptional.
Artist: Shatta Wale
Album: After The Storm
Label & Release Date: Shatta Movement Music Production/ April 29, 2016
The launch of Shatta Wale’s After The Storm album (April 29, 2016) was witnessed by a crowd 50, 000 strong. Held at the Black Star Square in Accra, it is the biggest album launch ever witnessed in Ghana. All 22 songs on the project were self-produced, and the hits therein are endless: Mahama Paper, Chop Kiss, Reality, Too Much Chemical, Kill Dem Wif Prayers, Dancehall King, If I Collect, Kakai, Hol it…
Over the past five years or so, he has maintained his place as a powerful voice in Ghanaian discourse through his music, something which has earned him several accolades both locally and internationally. In other words, he is a phenomenon, and is not going anywhere.
Artist: FOKN Bois
Album: FOKN Ode to Ghana
Release Date: June, 2016
FOKN Ode to Ghana is the third album of “gospel porn” duo FOKN Bois, who are known for their satirical approach on socio-political issues in Ghana with their songs. The project sees them perform over the 21-track instrumental album (Ode to Ghana) by Hobo Truffles. Hobo samples indigenous highlife melodies on the project which aims to “pay tribute to highlife and afro-jazz music from Ghana”.
As usual, they navigate global social, political, economic, racial and religious issues with the superior fearlessness they have been known for.
Artist: FlowKing Stone
Label & Release Date: RapFam/ Sept. 2, 2016
Originally of the rap duo Bradez, FlowKing Stone (born Kwaku Nsiah-Boamah) ventured a solo project shortly after brother and partner Kunta Kinte was struck with illness. It was more to hold the fort than anything else, till Kunta got back on his feet.
It is perhaps this reason –a selfless desire for unconditional sacrifice, that has shot him into the company of highest ranking contemporary rhymers in Ghana; earning collaborations (and comparison with) say, Sarkodie.
For several others, going solo implies a downward spiral into oblivion. It is the opposite with him. He has thrived both by himself, and as member of a group.
Gifted, his debut record as solo act, consists of 27 solid tracks showcasing superior technique, audacity, and versatility. The record also sees appearances from Nero X, Reggie Rockstone, Efya, Sarkodie, M.anifest, Cabum, Kunta Kinte, Luther, and Yaa Pono.
The singles –a number of them –via which the album was promoted, have been embraced warmly by both street and radio: Fire Burn Dem, Soldier, Number 1, Go Low…
Album: Nowhere Cool
Label & Release Date: Singitdamnit/ Sept. 8, 2016
Describing it as his most “industrious” effort yet, rapper M.anifest’s Nowhere Cool, his fourth studio album, was released to instant acclaim, and has been widely tipped as Album of the Year, 2016. It is also the project through which he stakes his most vehement claim to rap elitism in Ghana so far.
Through 14 songs, a precocious Kwame Ametepee Tsikata (as he’s known privately), discusses everything from love, politics, sex, ambition and setback, neglect, etc.
On an album crafted with careful hands, powerful wisdom, wit, and sparkling language, by an artist known for composing songs of established value, Time No Dey (ft. Worlasi) is extra-special.
Read More: OF MODEL ALBUMS: Nowhere Cool (A Review)
Other songs on Nowhere Cool are Invisible, Bear, Sugar (ft. Brymo), and Cupid’s Crooked Bow.
Album: BAR III
Label & Release Date: BBNZ Live/ Sept. 9, 2016
Usually a mixtape, the third installment of BBNZ Live frontman EL (Elom Adabla)’s BAR III blooms into a fully-fledged album. We might still refer to it as a mixtape, but it definitely wont be deliberate. Like BARs I & II, BAR III: The Lomi Era, is homage to hip-hop solely. Soliciting contribution from both regular and new collaborators, locally and across the continent: Kojo Cue, Shaker, MI ( Nigeria) Khuli Chana (South Africa), Ayat, Adomaa, Worlasi, Gemini etc, EL returns to his very musical roots: Deep thought. Masterful wordplay. Raw emotion.
Already, Portey Dey Be, Body Bags, Lalafama, It’s Your Life, Superstar (I repeat, Superstar) are chalking rapid prominence.
EL is reigning VGMA Artist of the Year, and president of his BBNZ label, which also houses Kojo Cue, and Lil Shaker. He’s also one of many top African music acts participating on season 4 of the prestigious Coke Studio Africa presently ongoing in Nairobi- Kenya.
Artist: Rudebwoy Ranking
Album: Elevation Time
Label & Release Date: Bullhaus/ Sept 12, 2016
Having sufficiently served the underground, fearsome dancehall warrior Rudebwoy Ranking, officially announced himself into mainstream challenge with his debut, Elevation Time.
Drone images from the release concert, held on the streets of his native Nima show thousands of RM loyalists cheering him into his “elevation”. It is common knowledge that the Nima crowd is the most important demographic in the dancehall conversation here. Nima has nurtured Ranking into a fearless commentator and custodian of the stories from the ghetto. And the way Nima has honed him, he’s the best at (but not limited to) dancehall which makes him even more dangerous to go up against.
Signed to Bullhaus Entertainment, which also largely orchestrated colleague Shatta Wales’s soaring, Ranking looks next in line for dominance in the the genre and beyond.
Artist: Omar Sterling
Album: Victory Through Harmony (mixtape)
Label & Release Date: R2Bees, Starboy Worldwide/ Sept. 30, 2016
Omar Sterling’s September 30 mixtape seeks, above all, to prove his mettle lyrically. Being one half on Afropop group R2Bees means that he’s “ensnared”, as their main target is one that simply wants to dance. Hence, he has had to keep his verses short and safe, or risk boring the listener.
On Victory Through Harmony however, he makes his intentions clear; he wants to rap, he wants to flow.
Unlike the commercial setting being in the group presents, a mixtape is the perfect platform to let it all out without the entrapments of sales targets, etc.
This mixtape finally pushes him into conversations circling Ghanaian rap masters. This is not unfounded, Nineteen- Ninety, Damba Flow, Swag, Bob Marley, Talk Talk, and Bob Marley add weight to this assertion.
Artist: D Black
Label & Release Date: Black Avenue Muzik/ Sept. 30, 2016
Just 29, D Black is widely regarded a Ghanaian hip-hop mogul , combining music with corporate duties as running Black Avenue Works (consisting Black Avenue Muzik, Black Avenue Clothing, Livewire Events and Black Avenue TV (producers of THE EFGH Show), as well as Club Onyx.
Lightwork consists 15 songs and 2 bonus tracks. It features appearances from both Ghanaian and international stars. A latest single Omega (ft. Sarkodie, Singlet), since its release on the UK weeks ago, has become a radio favourite.
Not entirely surprising of Desmond Blaclmore, Lightwork is an assembly point for a constellation of the continental stars: VVIP, Phyno, Sarkodie, MI Abaga, Seyi Shay, Cassper Nyovest, Davido, Praiz, and more.
Artist: Black Prophet
Album: Stories of Life
Label & Release Date: Prophetic Music Production/ Sept 16, 2016
An undisputed legend, singer Kenneth Wilberforce Zonto Bossman/ Black Prophet returns with his fifth. Since entering the terrain in 1998, he has become both one of our most reliable acts and most exemplary ambassadors.
His acclaim has come from wide, and his authenticity reinforced with every album, working with reggae elders Rita Marley, Pliers, Don Carlos, Yellowman, Steel Pulse, Lucky Dube, Alpha Blondy, Buju Banton, Dean Fraser, and Capleton.
It is therefore no wonder that with this album; recorded entirely in Jamaica (home of the genre he’s disciple of), with contribution from giants Tarrus Riley and Duane Stephenson, Prophet eyes the prestigious Grammy Awards; “I will put African Roots Rock Reggae on the musical map and bring a Grammy back to Ghana“, he put forth via Facebook upon the record’s release.
Highlights of the 12-track masterpiece include Too Know, Elmina Castle, Distant Love, African Freedom, and I Wish.
Artist: Shatta Rako
Label & Release Date: Talent Over Hype, RudeBouy Records/ Sept. 17, 2016
The first copy of Shata Rako (born Rexford Kojo Amoah)’s Preface sold for a whoping GHC 20,000 at he launch in Kumasi. That’s incredible endorsement, even if money isn’t the ultimate endorsement of art.
Shatta Rako has been around since 2005, and cannot be overlooked in the development of dancehall/ reggae in Ghana. His consistency and versatility have been something to marvel at, both by his contemporaries and the new school alike.
His 2013 Kassic Remixes is widely revered because of the sheer genius with which he retouched some of Ghana’s most cherished highlife tunes. Those 16 songs definitely shot his legitimacy in the music industry even further.
This new album, his fourth, and which is bound to create new records, compiles impressive songs as Clear Di Dance (ft. Root Eye) , Roll Call, Mama, Good 4 Evil, and State of Emergency.
Artist: Sonnie Badu
Album: Sounds of Africa
Release Date: Oct, 2016
Recorded under the theme “African Gospel in Classical Hymns and Songs”, Ghanaian UK-based gospel singer Sonnie Badu’s latest album sees guest appearances from American starts Jonathan Nelson and Darwin Hobbs, as well as his wife Annie Badu.
Soundz of Africa (his fifth record so far) was recorded by Danny Duncan, who has also worked on the albums of Israel Houghton, Cece Winnans and Marvin Sapp.
Sonnie has gained wide acclaim with compelling hymns as Covenant Keeping God, Adonai, and Baba, which is also rendered in French on this album.