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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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I’m not just a music producer; I am a very good singer – StreetBeatz

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The culture of music producers releasing their own songs has been rife on the Ghanaian music scene of late and latest to join the bandwagon is StreetBeatz, the producer of Sarkodie’s ‘Adonai.’

According to StreetBeatz, contrary to the notion that he is only into beat production, he is a consummate musician who also sings.

“Most people think I only produce beats for musicians. But I am actually a singer. Very soon the world will know my other abilities in the field of music. I am working on some wonderful tracks with top artists in Ghana and abroad,” he told Citinewsroom’s Kwame Dadzie.

StreetBeatz (born Bright Kwame Appiah), is preparing to release a song that features two vibrant acts in the United Kingdom, DunD and Timbo. The song, titled ‘Holiday,’ will be released in few days and will be available on music stores for purchase.

Also in the offing, are songs he is producing with some top Ghanaian artistes and great African acts.Apart from Sarkodie’s chart-topping ‘Adonai,’ StreetBeatz also produced Keche’s ‘Diabetes,’ Edem’s ‘Zero to Hero’ and ‘Biegya’ by Criss Waddle.

Others are ‘Obiba’ by Akwaboah, Donzy’s ‘Club,’ R2Bees’ ‘Plantain Chips,’ Stonebwoy’s ‘Hero’ and ‘Bawasaaba.’

 

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Sarkodie, Edem, Tiffany others endorse Jetey’s new single ‘Fa Ma Me’

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The just recently signed artiste of Supernova records is enjoying a good amount of support from a lot of renowned Ghanaian artistes.

He dropped his single “Fa ma me” featuring Gidochi on 11th May, backed by a very colourful video which is getting a lot of attention on YouTube. Barely a week of dropping the single, he’s had the likes of Sarkodie, Edem, Tiffany, Angel Town and some industry players driving traffic to the song and the video.

Eugene Adjetey, known by the stage name “JETEY” born January 30, 1993. he’s a recording artist who coordinates with engineers to compose Afrobeats and Afropop music; he has worked with producers like AbeBeatz, Bang, BeatzDakay, Fantom, QholaBeatz and Kobystaxx.

Eugene Adjetey is a Certified Political Scientist and holds a Bachelor of Art and Science degree from Ohio University; Athens, Ohio, USA. Jetey has been doing music actively since 2016.

See Images:

 

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Mr Eazi announces 2 singles off ‘Lagos To London’ – LISTEN!

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Following the international success of ‘Pour Me Water’ Happy Boy Mr Eazi reunites with beat master E-Kelly for Overload, the latest offering from his forthcoming project ‘Life is Eazi, Vol. 2 – Lagos To London’.

E-Kelly has once again worked his production magic to create a rhythmic beat that adopts the dark Southern African drum patterns with the warm bounce of original Nigerian melodies.

Mr Eazi calls on Naija’s hottest MC’s Mr Real, the man behind the street anthem ‘Legbegbe’ and official ‘shaku shaku (dance move) master’ Slimcase to feature on vocals. This musical collective layer their bars and tag team between each other to create a catchy tune that you can’t help but press repeat on.

On the other song, the Banku music creator Mr Eazi teams up with The Landlord Giggs for London Town – an anthem for the UK’s capital!

Mr Eazi has been cementing his Uncle London status with the UK charting hits (Decline, Bad, Bad Vibe) over the last few months and now the Happy Boy is ready to give us a sneak peek of his forthcoming EP ‘Life is Eazi, Vol. 2 – Lagos To London’ with the banger ‘London Town’.

Production duo Da Beatfreakz provide a hard beat that features a heavyweight verse from Giggs and sees Mr Eazi switch his style from laidback melodies to hard flows and back to back bars.

Listen to London Town below:

https://mreazi.lnk.to/LondonTown

Listen to overload below:

https://mreazi.lnk.to/Overload

 

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WOYALE! Wiyaala’s GRRRL band drop debut single – WATCH!

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Here’s the debut single by International all-female group GRRRL. Taken from the EP, ‘Woyale’ was released via Delayed Records & Barrio Electric.

A landmark music partnership between Ghana’s Wiyaala, Speech Debelle, Nono Nkoane, Lei Di Dai, Sohini Alam AWA – African Women Arise, and Afrodeutsche, GRRRL is converged by ‘In Place of War’, a global organisation that supports artistic creativity in places of conflict as a tool for positive change.

Described as “a bespoke electronic music collaboration between independent, revolutionary women artists from around the world, coming together to tell their collective stories of life, conflict, inequality and change through music”, GRRRL fuses sounds of dark techno, ghetto bass, hip hop, dancehall, reggae, soul and electronica.

The music project is directed by Brazil’s Laima Leyton (Mixhell/Soulwax), and accompanying visuals, filmed on the cliff top at Mosman -Australia, were directed by Adam Singer.

Watch below:

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FRA! Band announce new song this Friday

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Ghanaian band FRA!, is set to drop a new single this Friday, May 25. Titled “Lover”, the record features singers Kueiqu Afro and Susan Augustt.

Themed around two people professing their affection for each other, it is one of the many tracks from the band’s highly-anticipated upcoming album.

“Lover” is produced by TheGentleman.

The band, last year, dropped the remix of the 2016 hit song “Happy Yourself” featuring revered vocalist and songwriter, Efya.

FRA! which translates as “to mix” in Twi, emerged on the music scene in 2015 with “Dumsor.”

Comprising Joshua ‘Virgen’ Boateng, Martin Adjartey, Maxwell Klu, Selorm Dornyoh and George Ashirifie ‘Gogoe’, the collective has also authored other well-received joints including “Crazy” featuring Maayaa and “Party”.

 

 

 

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LISTEN: Kelvin2Much releases new Afrobeat wave “Attention”

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Ghana-based Nigerian Afro-Beats artiste Kelvin2Much has released another hit song titled “Attention”.
This song comes after “Shury” a hit song released earlier this year which has enjoyed massive airplay across various Radio, TV & Streaming platforms across the globe.
The artiste who has been recording since 2007, has worked with legendary producer BlackFace and currently has 6 songs to his credit.
Listen to the song here
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