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#VGMANostalgia: 2002 – of Lord Kenya, the stage god

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Welcome to the continuing ENEWSGH buildup to this year’s edition of the Ghana Music Awards. Sponsored by telecoms giant Vodafone, the main event is slated for April 8 at the Accra International Conference Centre. The series started with a look at the inaugural edition (year 2000), which was dominated by highlife legend Daddy Lumba. Read it here.

 

No rapper quite commercialized hiplife in the late 90s and early 2000 like Lord Kenya. Obrafour is credited for his depth, Nananom, NFL, Reggie Rockstone, Akyeame all as pioneers, and Buk-Bak for a modern sleight, but the Sika Baa rapper (born Abraham Philip Akpor Kojo Kenya) brought abundant traction to the movement, many would argue.

With a consistent offering of five records in as many years, he quickly became your ultimate Ghanaian superstar –something like the modern-day Shatta Wale.

Even now, several years after he has walked away from the celebrity of music to take up the Lord’s work, his name is mentioned with reverence, and songs he released about two decades ago still experience radio presence like they were published recently. The lifespan of a modern song usually doesn’t exceed a few months, and so the fact that his music is present on our airwaves at all speaks volumes, especially when, since becoming a pastor, he has constantly requested media houses to stop playing his songs.

A story is told about how once, at a local radio station in Accra, he was forced to perform from his car, because the thick crowd of admirers that had gathered around him was simply impenetrable. Many other stories abound about how his concerts were characterised by rowdiness, and there was violent pushing and shoving for his clothes when he threw them into the audience.

2002 is a momentous year not just for Kenya, but for the genre in general. Really, until he swept four awards (including Artist of the Year) in that edition of the Ghana Music Awards, hiplife was not regarded with the same seriousness as, say, highlife. Controversial as it may sound, him (a rap act) winning Artist of the Year legitimized that type of music, and secured mainstream acceptance for the genre. He truly opened the floodgates for other rappers, which is why perhaps 10 out of the 12 acts who have won Artist of the Year since him have been hiplife people: Kontihene (2003), V.I.P (2004, 2011), Obour (2005), Kwaw Kese (2008), Okyeame Kwame (2008), Sarkodie (2010, 2012), R2Bees (2013), and EL (2016).

His style, like his concert, was fierce and reminded you of a certain 2Pac Shakur. Even his love songs were delivered with a fearless demeanor. Again, like 2Pac, it was clear that he had so much to say in painfully limited time. Still, within that short spate, he did a lot of saying.

Every one of his performances was striking for some reason. You never knew what to expect when you attended a Lord Kenya gig, and it gave you a rush every time.

He was unstoppable. His voice was too husky to be any good at singing, but he sang. His colleagues held on to new music to allow for old ones to completely ebb, but he was constantly ready with a record. He flew off stages and broke his leg, but he was back in a couple of months, rousing thousands with renewed vigor.

Kenya truly led the pack with his stage presence, and raised the bar so high that, even today, it still remains to be matched. Even in the recording booth, veteran producer Zapp Mallet (who worked on a significant amount of songs on his catalogue) once recounted in an interview, Lord Kenya was something else.

And then suddenly, somewhere in 2004 his performances began to lose fire. He would pick up the mic and forget his lines. He was constantly fatigued, and there were occasions when his sets were simply abysmal. In a tell-all interview with broadcaster Deloris Frimpong- Manso (Delay) years later, he would confess to the use of a cocktail of illicit drugs as the reason for the volatile feature of his craft. Stardom is a dangerous thing.

He did make a return though, in 2006, with Born Again. Heavily themed on sentiments of compunction, it chalked significant reception, and was subtle notice of things to come as, soon after, he went into full-time ministry.

Ye Sum Sika, the album with which he ascended GMA royalty rained masterpieces: Mr. P.O.P, Enwom No, Mobrowa, Medo etc. It topped local charts for 34 weeks straight.

Also picking 4 awards at GMA 2002 was (unsurprisingly) Daasebre Gyamenah, who’s 1999 hit Kokooko was a major springboard for the rapper. A dynamic duo, they proved what majestic art could erupt when the best of both worlds united creatively. Kokooko is archetypical hiplife, and is among the most important contributions to the genre till date.

Gyamenah passed last year, and Kenya caters for the Lord’s flock, but the Kenya era is no doubt a special moment in GMA history.

*This year’s edition of the Vodafone –sponsored Ghana Music Awards comes off at the Accra International Conference Centre on Saturday April 8th. EL, Sarkodie, Stonebwoy, Joe Mettle, MzVee, Medikal are all in the running for the coveted award of Artist of the Year.

 

 

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Events & Places

Sarkodie named for ONE AFRICA MUSIC FEST – DUBAI, November 16!

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Celebrated Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie (Michael Owusu Addo) will be joined by other music giants from across the continent for the Dubai edition of the widely patronised concert, which comes off at the Madinat Jumeriah Al Sufuoh Rd. on November 16!

The concert has been successfully held in the United States and the UK, witnessing sterling performances from Wizkid, Davido, Tekno, Jidenna, P-Square, Tiwa Savage, Olamide, Cassper Nyovest, Alikiba, Flavour N’abania, Phyno, M.I, Efya, 9ice, Awilo Longomba, Falz, Victoria Kimani, among others.

One Africa Music Fest is described by organisers as ‘ Africa’s leading platform in showcasing the best and brightest musical talents in the continent, with the sole aim of solidifying Africa’s position within the entertainment industry on a global level”.

Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, ,and beloved Kenyan band Sauti Sol have all been confirmed for the Dubai concert.

A multiple-award-winning act, Sarkodie is CEO of his independent imprint  SarkCess Music, which is also home to singer Akwaboah, and fellow rap act Strongman. His fifth album “Highest”, is out now!

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Events & Places

GADAM NATION CONCERT slated for Bukom Boxing Arena, Nov 26!

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Popular Tamale-based singer Fancy Gadam takes his annual “Gadam Nation Concert” to the Bukom Boxing Arena this November.

Put together by Sultan INC and 5M Music, the concert is one of the key dates of his ongoing tour of major cities across the country, which has been massively patronised, and seen performances from popular colleagues as Sarkodie, B4bonah, Ebony among others.

Last year, the Accra leg of the tour was held at the National Theatre, drawing thousands to the venue.

Born Ahmed Mujahid Bello, Fancy is recipient of a BASS Award for Discovery of the Year, 2017  VGMA Best New Act, as well as a 2016 JIGWE award for Best New Artist, and has been associated with the likes of Medikal, Wiyaala, Shatta Wale, Sarkodie among others.

Fancy is author of several hit songs including Total Cheat, off his 2017 album “Mujahid’.

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Events & Places

MOBO Awards 2017: Sarkodie, Juls, Mr. Eazi, Eugy up for BEST AFRICAN ACT!

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Ghanaian rapper, Sarkodie has bagged a nomination at the 2017 Music of Black Origin (MOBO) awards. The ‘Glory‘ act was nominated in the ‘Best African Act‘ category.

Davido, Eugy, DJ Juls, Maleek Berry, Mr. Eazi, Tekno, Tiwa Savage, Wande Coal and Wizkid are the other contenders in the category.

The awards ceremony will be held at the First Direct Arena, Leeds on Wednesday, November 29, 2017.

 

The MOBO Awards stands for “Music of Black Origin” and was established in 1996 by Kanya King and Andy Ruffell. The MOBO Award show is held annually in the United Kingdom to recognise artists of any ethnicity or nationality performing black music. In 2009, the awards ceremony was held for the first time in Glasgow.

Prior to that, it had been held in London. In 2011, the ceremony returned for a second time to Scotland. The awards then moved to Leeds for the first time in 2015.

The Music Of Black Origin (MOBO) Awards were established in 1996 to recognise and celebrate artists who create Black or urban music. The MOBOs may be the most prestigious but were not the first Black music awards show in the country. In Britain, the Black Music Awards (BMA) show ran from 1992 to 1996 in various venues in London.

The first MOBO award was presented to UK trio Baby D, in the Best Dance Act category.

The MOBO Awards are seen as a UK equivalent to the BET Awards and Soul Train Awards for being the main award show in Britain to focus on Urban music.

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Music

Trigmatic Shines At Celebration 2017 – SEE IMAGES!

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Rapper and Host of YFM’s Myd Monring Show, Trigmatic over the weekend set the stage on fire as he performed with the Safoa Band at the 2016 Felabration at The Shrine in Nigeria.

Trigmatic put up a spectacular performance for patrons at the show. He rocked the stage with live performance of most of his hit songs.

The ‘Motromodwo’ hit maker together with the Safoa Band lifted Ghana high with at the music festival in Nigeria.

Since their over the weekend, Trigamtic and the Safoa Band have been all over the news with everyone talking about their outstanding performance during the “FELABRATION” MUSICAL FESTIVAL; a most prestigious festival celebrated by a great number of people in Nigeria and across Africa to honor the legendary FELA KUTI.

Felabration is an annual music festival conceived in 1998 by Yeni Anikulapo-Kuti in memory and celebration of her father Fela Kuti, a Nigerian musician and human rights activist known for pioneering the afrobeat genre of music.

The one-week-long event which is held annually at the New Afrika Shrine in Ikeja, attracts visitors all over the world and has thus been considered as an official tourist destination by the Lagos State Government

Felabration is held on the week of Fela’s birthday.

The event features musical performances from top music acts from Nigeria and guest appearances from internationally acclaimed musicians and personalities. It also consists of street parades, symposia on social and topical issues, debates and photo exhibitions.

Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti (15 October 1938 – 2 August 1997), known professionally as Fela Kuti, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, or simply Fela, was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre, human rights activist, and political maverick. He has been called ‘superstar’, singer, musician, Panafricanist, polygamist, mystic, legend. During the height of his popularity, he was often hailed as one of Africa’s most “challenging and charismatic music performers.

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Music

LISTEN: No Size – Obrafour

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Titled No Size, rap veteran Obrafour reunites with XLM boss JMJ, with whom he worked extensively on his 2015 album Asem Beba Dabi.

The song, an uplifting up-tempo jam, is released under Obrafour’s Execution Entertainment imprint, and is among a series of landmark singles preparing the way for his Obrafoforo album.

Obrafour’s 1999 masterpiece Pae Mu Ka is widely considered the greatest Ghanaian rap album till date. An unparalleled lyrical technique and fearless social commentary have set him apart as amongst the most influential voices of his generation.

 

Listen to No Size below:

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Music

BRONYA: Wutah ready RETRO video for COMEBACK HIT – [ watch BTS images/video]

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Top Ghanaian duo WUTAH –comprising Frank Osei (Wutah Afriyie) and Daniel Morris (Wutah Kobby) are scheduled to release the video to their widespread comeback hit Bronya in coming days.

Yaa Baby’s Purse & a Premature Christmas – Wutah’s ‘Bronya’ – A REVIEW

 Directed by X Bills Ebenezer, the 80s-themed video is expected to invoke as much nostalgia as the record itself. Bronya is the second joint since Wutah announced their return as a group months ago –the other being AK47.
Wutah’s explosive break into Ghana’s music industry was with their 2006 debut Anamontuo, which birthed such classics as AdonkoGoosy Ganda and Big Dreams.

See behind-the-scenes images and footage from the video shoot courtesy Blagogee:

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