MzVee will most likely not win this year’s BET…but you already know that, don’t you? And while you will immediately label me killjoy or worse, let us also acknowledge that you too have been thinking it –I’m merely the one who’s either bold enough or stupid enough (more likely the second) to say it out loud.
MzVee’s story has been impressive, a fairy-tale even; a mere two years into her solo career, and she’s already sown two albums and harvested five Ghana Music Awards out of 14 nominations, a 4Syte Music Video award, a Ghana Music Honour, a BASS award, a KORA Music Award nomination, and two BET Award nominations. Her heights have also seen her ink association with Blaqe Energy, Beta Malt, the World Bank…possibly Woodin.
MTV Base has named her an African artist to watch out for in 2016, and if you disagree, tell that to the over 48,000 followers on her veeery verified Twitter handle alone. She has collaborated with local and continental stars; VVIP, Shatta Wale, EL, Efya, Didier Awadi, Shaydee, and BET alumni Sarkodie, Stonebwoy and MI.
Finally (well not finally, but let’s continue) in a genre which has proven to be a lion’s den even for her male counterparts, she’s gone toe-to-to with our favourite dancehall artist and received, at the very last, admiration. In a time when Shatta Wale was at his most hazardous, she entraps him in such feminine charm, so that on My Everything, their romantic highlife duet, the fearsome dancehall gangster, finds himself lowered into the fantastical promises (very early in the song too), which characterize a hopeless love: “I will be with you all of my life/ I will keep you good and treat you right/ I swear, I no go deny you as my wife/ together the two of we jus a-go rise for life”. And even when finally his verse arrives, he still hasn’t “returned” to his senses, his original identity: “ Girl if I’m loving you, I’m loving you, its because I will be there for you. I promise will marry you girl”. I could say something similar about StoneBwoy on his Come Over…and these are dancehall heavyweights around here…ask anyone. That’s Ms Vera Hamenoo- Kpeda for you. She will domesticate you, and you wouldn’t even know.
So that by far, she is most probably, indeed, quite certainly the most successful merchandise to result from Lynx Entertainment gestation –Lynx has once held immense influence on our music front in recent history. Around 2010, when they dictated the tinge of hip-hop and pop to savor down here, everybody wanted to share in their youthful mystic surge–Okyeame Kwame, Tinny, Bradez, Andy Dosty, Irene Logan, Efya, Kwaw Kese , Sway DaSafo, etc. Every artist who called Lynx home was assured of commercial success –Asem, Eazzy, OJ Blakk…even Ziggy (You Say Wetin, the one worthy single from him, won him a GMA Afro-pop Song of the Year in 2012. Songs like Pigaro, Wengeze, Run Away, No More Kpayor, and One Gal all came from Lynx’s stables. And then astonishingly, everyone who has walked away from the label has ended up limping on one knee, even till today.
But MzVee is an immensely talented artist from a continent of immensely talented artists, and that is where the unease arises –because there is Diamond Platnumz, and Yemi Alade, and AKA, and Casper Nyovest, Black Coffee Serge Beynaud, and Wizkid. WIZKID, who features Drake’s One Dance, a song, which has dominated world charts since it was released seven or eight weeks ago, and who got Drake to lend vocals on his Ojuelegba (remix). The same Wizkid who, through Ojuelegba, has found space in global music discourse; who has featured on R Kelly’s I Just Wanna Thank You, who has widely been hailed (albeit erroneous) as azonto originator, who has already won a BET, a MOBO and several Headies, whom fellow nominee Casper Nyovest has just pronounced as the biggest star out of Africa, whom it has been confirmed, will perform at the world-famous Barclays Center –New York July 22, and is touring with R&B icon Chris Brown…You know what, let me just stop here.
South African rapper AKA’s latest album, LEVELS was, in July 2015, certified Gold by the Recording Industry of South Africa, and platinum as of May 2016. He has opened for global hip-hop stars Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Big Sean, and Kendrick Lamar. He too has collected such laurels as a Europe Music Award, a South Africa Music Award, as well as a prestigious MOBO.
Yemi Alade’s 2013 hit Johnny saw her gain popularity across the African continent and beyond. A 27, she has two albums; King of Queens (2014), and Mama Africa (2016). Mama Africa especially, has seen her tour extensively across Africa and Europe. She too has secured for herself, an MTV African Music Award, a MOBO nomination, and this is her second appearance in the Best International Act: Africa category. Her most recent hits include Na Gode (2015) and Ferrari (March 2016).
Casper Nyovest too is an African powerhouse –hip-hop-wise. One of the highlights of his career recently would be his guest-appearance on Talib Kweli’s 2015 album, Fuck the Money. At 25, he’s already appeared on popular US radio Show, Sway in the Morning, been ranked Number 1 on “The Hottest MC in Africa” list by MTV Base, filled the Ticket Pro Dome -South Africa, which seats 20,000 people, had both his albums certified platinum, won several awards including five Metro FM Awards, seven SA Hip-hop Awards, and three Channel O Music awards. Indeed, by the time he turned 24, he had already won 24 awards. He has also signed several endorsement deals since emerging into the limelight, prominent among them being the 2015 deal with telecom giant MTN.
The other nominees in there present heavy competition; Black Coffee is considered a doyen in South African House music, Tanzania’s Diamond Platnumz, has won nearly 30 awards, including an MTV Europe Music Awards laurel, an AFRIMMA, and a whopping 17 Tanzania Music Awards. Ivory Coast’s Serge Beynaud has been called, among other things, “an Ivorian sensation” and “heavyweight act”.
This makes MzVee an underdog by a long shot. No one really knows the indices for nominating artists in that category. It is no wonder she confessed shock to Live FM on the morning the list came out. It is no wonder that VGMA Artist of the Year EL’s losing out on a nomination came as mild shock at the very least. As Ayigbe woman, she possesses a fortified vim, as Ghanaians, we hold up unwavering hope, but she will only win, it seems, by an act of God, considering whom we are up against.
The nomination alone though, already does so much for her personality and brand, and opens her up to such expansive exposure and endless possibilities, which did not even exist before her nomination. And considering what she’s done with what little she has, imagine what she will attain with BET exposure. No one knows this better than her…she played Abofra after all, so she will keep moving.
In the end, MzVee, has worked incredibly hard, and so deserves the nomination. It sends an even deeper message to many a Ghanaian artist who feels unnoticed: you never know who is watching.
This year’s event is scheduled for Sunday June 26, at the Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles.
I’m done. Now let the crucifixion begin…
–Gabriel Myers Hansen (@myershansen on Twitter)/ ENEWSGH