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#VGMANostalgia – The Evergreen V-VIP



Welcome to #VGMANostalgia, our continuing buildup to the 17th annual Ghana Music Awards ceremony slated for the Accra International Conference Centre on April 8th.

This week’s instalment, the third in the series, focusses on veteran hiplife group VVIP.

The years 2004 and 2011 are the highest points for hiplife group VIP as far as the Ghana Music Awards are concerned. They were adjudged Artist of the Year on both occasions. Only Sarkodie has annexed the coveted title as many times. But their true legacy transcends awards.

Now VVIP (with the exit of rapper Promzy and the addition of Reggie Rockstone), they have grown to become an institution: indeed, one of our most important examples in the evolution of the genre. Among them dwells incredible history: Reggie Rockstone is credited with coining the term “hiplife” to begin with –an undoubted founding father, and though they have witnessed constant gentrification,  VIP (Vision in Progress) has been active since 1997, and so are veterans in their own right.

Three of the founding members of the group: Zeal (formerly Lazzy), Prodigal, and Promzy

Originally consisting five men and a dog, the band’s fortitude has consistently been threatened, but they have always prevailed somehow. Bone parted with the group first. Founder Friction (born Musah Haruna) also left after the release of their second album Ye De Aba to pursue a solo career. So did Promzy (Emmanuel Ababio) in 2013. Even their dog, Chicago, passed away not long after they started gaining fame. The point is this: like the spirit of Nima, the suburb where the group was conceived, they have remained resilient. Among the group’s other projects are Bibi Baa O (1998), Lumbe Lumbe Lumbe (2001), as well as the widespread Ahomka Womu (2003). They’ve published nine records till date, and show no signs of stopping.

Today, as VVIP, they consist of Reggie Rockstone (Reginald Ossei), Prodigal (Joseph Nana Ofori), and Zeal,  (Abdul Hamid Ibrahim), and still know how to make hits. They’re yet to release an album under their new name, but their singles, as soon as they are dropped, become favourites on the radio, clubs, and the streets. Skolom, Selfie, Book of Hiplife, Alhaji, Dogo Yaro, as well as their recent After Party (ft. Stonebwoy) all contain the hit formula –they all come in appealing rhythm and catchy hooks.

Ghana’s music terrain is quickly becoming chocked with the release of new songs daily, and this has seen some of our cherished veterans being pushed to the sidelines. But like a powerful rock, VVIP has remained steady while others have simply been swept away. If it were an easy thing to do, everybody else would have succeeded at it.

There’s a powerfully rebellious quality about the group. It is perhaps what has ensured their survival over the years. This can be strongly felt in their choruses too. Usually led by Zeal (formerly going by the stage name Lazzy), the hooks come as blasting  chants which you simply can’t ignore. The songs, like them, will not take “‘no” for an answer. Even if they were released 20 years ago, they scream at you. This astounding recall feature that their songs possess, even causes much younger generations to lay claim to them as though they were released in their time. Ahomka Womu, Obaa Sweety, Daben Na Odo Beba, Besin, Manenko, Sisi Yare3, Kuzo Muyi Wassa (Show Me Wossop), pass for “throwbacks”, but are very much present in this day and age too. At concerts, these songs inspire deafening roars from patrons, proving what timeless pieces they are.

Contemporary acts will only accept the label of “hiplife artist” when convenient (say, to secure nomination at the Ghana Music Awards), never mind that it is specifically hiplife that they might be doing. The quest for continental/ global appeal sees them adopt labels as “hiphop artist’, or “Afrobeats artist”, or “Afropop artist”. Or, they would come up with their own coinage: this pop or that pop, this music or that music. Unfortunate in many regards, it finds them needlessly shying away from the rich heritage that accompanies the name “hiplife”. VVIP is among very few Ghanaian acts who wholeheartedly refer to themselves as “hiplife” acts, essentially, the last of a few custodians of what remains of the genre.

At the same time, they have successfully assuaged negative stereotypes about Nima, where they come from — the image of a rowdy slum. Steadily, they have steered the Nima narrative to become a hub of dreams, and a centre of endless possibilities to them that believe. Their annual Sallafest, consisting of a huge feast by day, and a musical concert by night, has been running for something like 20 years, and has proven to be a source of pride for fellow Nima natives. It has inspired similar initiatives by their colleague musicians: Dancehall singer Stonebwoy is achieving something similar with Ashaiman.

Renowned street artist Moh Awudu testifies to this: “they are the first group of people who put Nima on the map with a positive perception. Before them, everyone thought of Nima as a place of negative people. They opened that door to us, especially for me — when I started with my art: the Nima- branded t shirts”, he tells me in an interview this afternoon.

“Now I’m using art as a medium to change and promote Nima, and teaching free art classes on weekends. Because, in the end, you don’t have be in a higher position to make an impact to the society”, he further submits.

VVIP’s impact on Moh is especially affective because, he has come full circle: from admiring them from afar, to now collaborating with them on projects.

It is refreshing to see VVIP achieve such high success levels, and still have their street credibility intact. At Sallafest, they are personally involved in distributing food items to the thousands who sit around the endless feast table. Their stardom doesn’t hold them back from connecting with the people on an intimate level. To be this close to your idols, and to receive gifts from their very hands does something to your spirit. These people you watch on TV daily, and witness travel  the world, are just like you. They come from the same lungs as you. The streets which nurture your modest ambition are the same streets which raised them. If they made it, what’s your excuse really? Now message is stronger than this.

VVIP’s impact on Moh (front row, second left) is especially affective because, he has come full circle: from admiring them from afar, to now collaborating on projects. Picture credit: Moh Awudu.


When Promzy left, many questioned once more, the sustainability of the group, holding that the rapper left with a significant amount of their verve, especially onstage. They may have a point, but there’s surely something to be said about how decently Zeal and Prodigal held the fort till Reggie joined. Pulling through this specific phase — one widely seen to be their biggest obstacle thus far, is proof that they will be present for as long as they want.

When Promzy left, many questioned once more, the sustainability of the group, holding that the rapper left with a significant amount of their verve, especially onstage.


VVIP are one of only three surviving mainstream groups of the class of early 90s and this new millennium who are associated with heavy activity: R2Bees and 4×4 being the others.

They have attracted collaborations with esteemed colleagues from across the continent and beyond, and have shared stages with even more. Over the years, they have been recipients of awards too many to mention. However, one of the two laurels they picked up at this year’s Ghana Music Honours summarises the core message of today’s conversation: Evergreen Hiplife Honour!



Long Reads

IT IS MIDDAY in Accra, THIS IS Kweku Obeng Adjei on Starr 103.5 FM



Starr 103.5 FM, Meridian House – Accra

It’s a minute to midday. Dark and muscly, Kweku Obeng Adjei struts briskly from the Komla Dumor newsroom into the studio across, a Lenovo laptop in his sturdy hand, an expression on his face which spells strictly, business.  He’s shadowed by a petite young lady of similar complexion. As they enter the studio, colleague broadcaster Kofi Okyere Darko, has just wrapped up his duties on mid-morning show “The Zone” and is on his way out.

A giant table occupies the center of the room. On it rests an iconic console whose channel faders are regularly caressed by on-air titans Bola Ray, Francis Abban, Giovanni & Berla Mundi, Jon Germain, Nii Aryee Tagoe among others. Black microphones, and swivel chairs surround the desk, and the day’s major newspapers rest on a small cabinet in the back. On a muted flat screen TV on the wall behind the glass door, an Al-Jazeera documentary is showing.

Kweku settles in the chair behind the console, from where he is faced directly by one of the microphones, three computer monitors, and a wide section of Ghana’s capital, who will be at the end of his voice in seconds. He sets the Lenovo down, beside the console, and begins to whisper something as he stares at the screen. The lady with whom he has just entered, offering production assistance, also sets up by his side. Suddenly, the familiar jingle announcing the Starr Midday News is heard in speakers in the top corners of the room. The news is live.

For the next half-hour, Accra and beyond, will be equipped with the very latest news items across governance, business, international happenings, and sports.

Classily attired in a chequered long-sleeved shirt, Kweku radiates the calm charisma of one truly in charge, his eyes darting about purposefully in this high-pressure enterprise, squinting at the screen of the Lenovo, working channel faders on the console, monitoring the fleeting hands on the wall clock, nodding for a voice clip to be played, whispering instruction to Ms. Petite, or taking feedback from behind the glass window to this left, bracing for an interview, mouthing the next story…

“I’ve always known that radio was going to be my thing”, says Kweku in his signature gentle manner, recounting how, as far back as his primary school days at John Teye Memorial, he has exhibited traits of broadcasting. This desire to utilize his voice even that young, led him to join such groups as the arts and debate clubs. Today, his old classmates aren’t surprised by his exploits, as hearing his voice invokes fond memories of the Class 5 pupil who once voiced a radio promo for his school’s anniversary celebration.

Possessing a soothing sleekness in a way that entrances you, Kweku’s voice is literally music to the ear. It is textured in a such a smooth tone and smooth inflections that everything it utters is instantly convincing. And as is the consequence of dedicating one’s self to radio, the voice is more popular that the person himself. He knows all about it, and has seemingly even made peace with it: “a lot of people don’t know my face but know my voice. Because I’ve been to places where, once I open my mouth and I’m talking, people then know and are able to relate, and even mention my name”.

For as long as Starr FM has been in existence (since 2014), Kweku Obeng Adjei has manned the afternoon bulletin. With a voice designed for radio, a superior interview technique, and an overall professional edge, he has earned an unquestionable spot among the nation’s top -notch anchors. Further testament: last year, he was adjudged Best Newscaster of the Year (English Language) at the Radio and Television Personality (RTP) Awards, and has been nominated on a number of other occasions. This year, due to how effectively he has maintained his steam, he may well retain it.

Obeng Adjei poses with EC Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, after an interview.

Owned by the Bola Ray – led EIB Network, Starr FM towers high in the media terrain. In order to maintain this rank, people like Kweku must remain on top of their game at all times. There is no room for mistakes, as the company risks a dip in ratings as a result. This is where trusted voices as his come into play. Master of the mic, Kweku’s many years of experience, starting from Radio Univers, through Joy FM, Choice FM, and then Power FM (which is now Starr), have purged him of the kind of pressure which accompanies this job.

“It’s just about doing what you have to do, and ensuring that you’re applying all the the skills and ethics of the profession. So for instance, if you’re do interviews, you have to ensure that you have information about what you’re going to be talking about. You must also know who you’re going to be interviewing, because you don’t wan to go on air and mess up. So there isn’t much pressure, but, of course, you must be on alert, because you never know what can be thrown at you” he posits. He can afford to say that now, because of how many years of professional service he has chalked. In addition, the brands which he has been associated with in the past, have built in him the confidence of a veteran.

“Because of competition and who may be on air around the same time you do the bulletin, you must always ensure that your presentation is apt and on-point, and you have all the big stories on your plate. For me in particular, I have worked with some of these competitive stations so I know how their bulletins are prepared, I know how the presentation is done. But of course, currently with Starr FM, I always focus on what I’m supposed to do to ensure that my brand is leading, and a choice for many”, he adds.

A reliable hand, Kweku not only runs the midday bulletin, but also produces a number of other programmes, sits in for other OAPs from time to time, and is a mentor to burgeoning broadcasters. His work culture is remarkable, and his contribution to modern Ghanaian radio, is just as noteworthy. Still, many hold that he doesn’t get as much credit for his efforts…that he may even be underrated.

But the broadcaster disagrees, stressing that he is acclaimed in the industry — where it matters: “I don’t think I’ve been underrated. I know my stuff. I have worked at great places, and at all these places, I have been able to deliver”.

During commercial break, an editor appears by the door: “let’s do something on Togo”. He vanishes almost as suddenly as he appears. A lady walks in and hands in a piece of paper with information hastily scribbled on it. Sports anchor Dennis Mepouri walks in to present the sports, and then rushes back to the newsroom, which is engrossed in usual seriousness; eyeballs staring keenly at the screens of computers, fingers tapping away on keyboards, assignments being written on a nearby white board. Named after Ghanaian broadcasting icon Komla Dumor (formerly of the BBC), the hall is home to many of the country’s brightest young journalists, who hope to follow in the steps of the late Dumor.

Like many newsreaders in this town, Kweku cites Dumor among his idols (alongside Matilda Asante, who gave him his first real break at Joy, Tommy Annang Forson, and mogul and boss Bola Ray, whom he also now considers a brother and friend), admitting that even today, he occasionally resorts to Komla’s old videos to, among other things, “relive and learn”.

Obeng Adjei’s relationship with Bola Ray has even earned him the nickname ‘Deputy CEO’ amongst a section of his peers.

“We all don’t know why he had to leave that early”, says Kweku after a pensive pause, “but Komla was a symbol on the way that, if you wanted to be a journalist …if you wanted to build a standard or class for yourself, you’d look up to him, and I think that his values, his ethics, [and] the zeal with which he performed his duties professionally, encouraged most of us to give this profession all our hope and all our energy.

“Through studying Komla, we realized that journalism is very powerful. I mean, you had the mic to make and unmake, to impact lives, to straighten issues, and to hold people accountable”.

Though he worked at Joy FM, Kweku never got to work with Komla Dumor, as he was on his way to the BBC at the time. Nevertheless, Kweku regularly picked up a thing or two from him, often tuning in to the BBC in anticipation of Komla’s unmistakable smile.

To Kweku, Joy FM proved an impactful grooming platform, where he learned to read the news, conduct interviews, package stories to make an impact. At the Kwesi Twum- owned establishment, Kweku also learned key nuggets as patience, enduring frustrations, and navigating egos –all elements that have steeled him up as a formidable professional. At Starr FM, he has certainly blossomed into a real star!

As far as classic men go, Kweku cannot be overlooked. Always dapper in a blazer or crisp African print, the radio gem also stands among truly well-dressed men in these parts. Radio or not, Kweku believes that elegant dressing (which he picked up from boarding school days, and by associating with sharply-dressed colleagues/ friends) does something to one’s own confidence, and inadvertently influences output.

Behind these microphones, thirty minutes pass very fast, and every second counts. But when you have executed the bulletin as well as Kweku has just done, you too can afford a habitual calm sigh of accomplishment like he’s just breathed.

He makes his way back to the Komla Dumor Newsroom, slightly more relaxed than he came in …Lenovo in hand, and Ms Petite following. A mountain of work still awaits on his desk in the newsroom, as is a rice dish which will be consumed quickly, and out of necessity. A journalist has no rest.

*Born in Accra, and husband to “Pretty Anita”, Kweku is alumnus of Mfantsipim, NIIT, the University of Ghana, and the Ghana Institute of Journalism.  


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Long Reads

Charisma, Talent and an absolute beauty that is so SENA, so DAGADU – AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW



Saturday January 27. Breakthrough Studios, Tesano – Accra.

It is not surprising that Sena Dagadu answers my hello in Pidgin – it is normal about her speech, if you’ve followed her — but it still catches me off-guard, pleasantly so, too. “Wosop! Ebi you be the Enews guy ɛh”? Her smile is sunny, and her handshake, warm. “Yeah”, I return her smile, and swallow what is left of my introduction.

She has just walked off one of three sets in this large first-floor space that houses Pascal AKA’s Breakthrough Studios. In a hall buzzing with constant movement and exchange, she stands out, glorious in colour and charisma. On her jumpsuit are black spots evocative of a jungle cat, and she wears a large yellow scarf over her shoulder. Cowries hang from her dreadlocks, and the gigantic ethnic neckpiece around her neck reaches down to her belly.

Sena DAGADU on the set of her new video. Image: Eben Yanks/ ENEWSGH

“Amake busy small, so adey come”, she says with regret in her eyes, points me to an orange plastic chair, and then rushes back onset. Her first name, screams across the wall behind her in bold green graffiti. There’s a crown on the “E” in “Sena”, and down at the base of the wall, are the words “scare crow”, “Sark”, “original”, “Yo Chale!”, and “Let’s get kickin”. They’re not as big as “Sena”, but they’re legible enough. She nods steadily to heavy drum kicks of the track that now fills the room, and mimes into the video camera swinging to and from her, her face exuding funk and attitude. Directly opposite this first set is a cage sprawling with electrical cables, and fluorescent light. It is where Sarkodie will perform when he arrives in a few minutes. The third set, to Sena’s left, fascinates me immensely –not only is it alive with orange and white patterns (and everything on it; sunglasses, a vase, the sofa, boxes), but assumes a different hue under artificial light. Female dancers are practicing over here, their male counterparts are summersaulting over there, makeup is being dabbed on eager faces, sweat is being wiped off soaked necks, in spite of a big standing fan swaying its head this way, and that way. A creative mess – that is what this is. It is all being steered by AKA, who instructs gently from his seat, or storms up suddenly, bouncing like a hip-hop act, to ginger Sena on. This will go on, I am told, till tomorrow morning.

The bubbly Ghanaian-Hungarian musician, is as hands–on as Pascal himself (who currently ranks among the most influential video directors from these parts), suggesting ideas and angles, joining the crew behind the camera to review shots. “I don’t like not knowing what’s going on”, she divulges to me, when we finally settle in her make-shift dressing room to the back for the chat. She opens a pack containing her lunch, and takes two bites of the chicken on the rice meal, and then packs it away again. She wipes her lips and fingers with tissue, and offers me her full attention.

Sena DAGADU on the set of her new video. Image: Facebook/ SENA

Sena is seldom without a smile: in music videos, during interviews, at concerts, or in pictures, a lasting smile inhabits her lush cheeks and fearless eyes. It is virtually unimaginable to describe her person without listing her smile. Still, when I point out what I think is a pretty obvious relationship between her face and a smile, she is stunned. “Really?”, she asks, an extra tickle in the pitch of her voice, and then laughs. A realization hits her almost instantly nonetheless, about the the fact of my observation: “for one thing, it makes me feel good”, she admits. “I don’t like being angry, I don’t like being upset, I don’t like confrontation, and fights, and things like that…When I see people and they smile at me, it makes me feel good”.

“My normal face is a happy face. It has to be an extreme situation that makes me change my face…maybe concentrating or something like that, but in general, I’m a happy person. I like the things that I do, I enjoy the company of my family and my friends, and I think that it would be as if I’m ungrateful for my life if I don’t smile, so I just try to, you know, make myself and everybody else around me feel better about themselves by giving them a little smile”, she explains further.

I toss another word at her -another noun I think truly encapsulates her character: colour. When she moves, Sena oozes a vibrancy that invigorates everyone and everything around. This word too, ignites a sparkle in the sides of her eyes. “Colour”, she repeats the word, but with the peculiar island inflection that cuddles the “r” at the end. “Without colour, everything will be so dull!”, she emphasizes, stretching “dull” so playfully, even I can’t hold back a chuckle. She continues: “I love colour. I wear, actually, a lot of black, but then, even when I do that, I always have something that will pop a little bit of colour –whether it is lipstick or eye-shadow, or jewellery, or something like that.

“The world is filled with colour: the rainbow, green grass, laterite soil, the sky, you know…everything. It’s the same as the smile. It makes life not just more bearable [but] more interesting, more exciting…I like fashion as well, so, colour coordinating; what goes with what…it’s just fun, you know? Colour is like smiles – it’s just fun.”


Because Sena navigates, and excels across multiple genres, she has come to represent variety. Since the start of her career in 2001, whether by herself, or as member of the Hungarian collective, Irie Mafia, she has combined influences from hip-hop, reggae, funk, rock, EDM, soul, jazz, Afrobeats, etc. This rich versatility, she attributes to her lack of “patience”:

“I’m not exactly your most patient kind of character. I do have patience when I have a goal I want to achieve –I can wait for years for it to happen. But in general, I like excitement. I don’t like being dull…if I do something today, I don’t want to do the same thing tomorrow. In my music as well, that, kind of, has a certain play. I like to change my musical styles, even the people that I’m working with, you know, test myself and try different grounds that I haven’t tried before…try to push my boundaries a little bit further. So variety, for me, is normal. It’s like…one you’ve tried something…I might come back to it, but I like to, you know, go across the palette and see what else I can do before I go back to the ones that I’ve tried”.

Ultimately, “World Music” is the umbrella I conclude best encapsulates her craft, because she dabbles in everything. “To be very honest with you, it is very difficult to say that I’m belonging to one genre or not”, she stresses bluntly, “–so I like how you said World Music”.

And when I tease that, as is the case of human families, she might have a favourite son namely, reggae, because of the air of freedom that her music arrives in, she quickly refutes it: “I don’t have a favourite child, and it depends on my mood. Some days, maybe I’ll be driving in town, and the only thing I’ll be listening to on the radio is reggae. Sometimes too, I’ll be very calm by listening to some Classical music, and I can’t listen to, you know, electronic music… It depends. That’s the beauty about music. Every music has its day, every music has its mood and the reason why it was created

“[As] artists, you try to capture a moment in your life and a kind of vibrant frequency, and then that music represents that…and you can’t have the same vibration when you are in a different mind frame. That is why I listen to a lot of kinds of music, because everyday is a different style, everyday is a different feeing in your soul. So maybe, today, I like my hip-hop son, the day after, I go like ma Classical daughter, I go feel ma Jazz niece, and so on and so forth. I don’t have any favourite, I like all kinds of music”.

Still, what is the sonic direction on her new project? I am inclined to ask. It’s going to be different, of course, but it’s not a difference she hasn’t already explored previously, and sees her explore new depths to her creativity: “Since my last album, I started to push myself. Like I said, I like to push my boundaries in production. So I wrote the songs on my last album –and the new stuff that we’re working on –for example, the song that we’re shooting a video to here –are also beats that I produced for myself, so it’s like a new thing that I’m doing, but it’s an old style of music that I’ve always liked – hip-hop…kind of popular music, with a little bit of some Sena eccentricity inside. Because I write the music and the lyrics myself, I’m starting to get a certain character which is my own”. This new sound is hip-hop, but a liberal kind: “I’ll not label it strictly hip-hop, you know, but it’s got elements of that – it’s electronic music, so you’ve got all those hard kicks and, you know, regular 4/8 patterns and 12- bar verses and things like that. So I’m kind of going into this now, but then again, testing my own strength in production and beat making and things like that. So it’s a new exciting thing for me to do, actually”, she tells me.

Another word: Difference. Whereas she constantly dabbles in a variety of melodies, it is nothing like you’ve heard before; how she articulately rides (and marries various rhythms), via Pidgin, English, Patois, and Hungarian –an alternative.

“I guess so”, Sena concurs. “I try not to follow trends for the sake of following trends…I do try to present an alternative to what everybody else is doing by being myself, because there’s nobody in the world like me –there’s only one pɛ.

“Nothing is one-way. If you search, you’ll find; so I try to be part of that crew that presents an alternative.”

Sena’s collaborations in Ghana, over the years, have stayed within a small circle: Reggie Rockstone and VVIP, FOKN Bois M3nsa and Wanlov Da Kuborlor, Worlasi… Most recently, these partnerships have birthed acclaimed joints as “One Life”, and “Skolom”. She reveals though, that she is expanding that list, starting with this new album. Aside Sarkodie, the likes of EL, and Pappy Kojo are both to be expected on the project.

Worlasi, easily Sena’s favourite Ghanaian act currently, makes an appearance in this video though he’s not on the record. In one scene, he sprays a can of graffiti at the RED camera through a glass wall. In another, he joins her in ecstatic bounce. She has often declared her admiration for the “Nukata” man right from when he first launched a body of work. The result of their first partnership (Worlasi’s instructive April 2016 joint, “One Life”), without question, sparked a beautiful artistic relationship, which will guarantee more songs from them in the near future.

In one scene, Worlasi sprays a can of graffiti at the RED camera through a glass wall. In another, he joins her in ecstatic bounce. IMAGE: Eben Yanks/ ENEWSGH

A mutual admiration continues to blossom between them, and Worlasi’s recent recent EP, “Outerlane”, has made things even better:

“The EP I last soak, and really really enjoy, was Worlasi’s Outerlane. It freaked me out. It just completely freaked me out. I was humbled by his artistry, and I gained a whole level of respect for such a young talented artisan in today’s world”.

Consisting 9 songs, the project, like anything he has published over his young glowing career, is both highly unconventional, and widely-praised.

“I was weaked [sic] by his last EP”, Sena reiterates playfully.

Anyway, more words: truth, modesty, knowledge. “I like the fact that you think I represent those things because they’re things that I do strive for”.

On truth, she’s true: “I always try to be true to myself, especially. I do not try to compromise myself. I’ll not do something that I’ll not feel comfortable with – and I try to write my lyrics honestly –experiences that I’ve had, or thoughts that are my own. I don’t like to borrow; I don’t like to sample…I don’t even like to do covers of other people’s stuff. I like to be true to myself”.

On modesty, she’s modest: “I try. I mean, I have my flashy moments and I’m all over the place, but in general terms, I have a lot of respect for people that have guided me in my life. The true people I have respect for are very humble people; they’re very modest people… they continue to work and learn throughout their lives –and I’m talking about people who are in their 80s and even older than that. I respect people who have gone through life; hardships, happy times…everything, and still manage to remain calm and cool, and friendly, and open, and communicative. They’re my idols”.

About knowledge, she holds that it is something that should be sought daily, from whatever situation: “I wasn’t born knowing anything, and I’m still quite young in my life. I think that everyday, there’s something to learn, either from people, or situations, or anything that happens in your life”. From how a video director goes about his work, to the grace in how an ice water seller holds her spine, there’s always something to pick up: “if you want to learn diɛ aa, everyday, you’ll find a situation, at least, which will teach you something”, she’s convinced.

In many ways, Sena reminds you of the ocean –magnificent in its wonder, and bursting with infinite possibility. But it scares her a bit, because it once almost drowned her. She breaks into a nervous laugh when she mentions snakes too, and eyes the ground near her feet, as though there’s one crawling up her leg this very second. “They just freak me out!”

What else? “Not trying…that really dey bore me”, as does the realization, at 60, or 70, that she didn’t explore her full potential. “I try to not be afraid of life, because that one diɛ, no point…then you might as well die”, she sums up.

Ultimately, Sena also typifies an overall “wave mentality”, or a peculiar “Irie vibe”, if you will. “Irie” denotes “good feeling” in Jamaican patios, and she’s a staunch advocate of that. It’s evident in how she exclaims “Oh Yeaah!”, when I utter the term. “I’m all about Irie vibes, I mean, if it’s not fun, then don’t do it. We are here to enjoy life. So if you’re doing something and you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it!”

An intricate puzzle, life is only truly figured out in bits, with each passing day. Our time here, and how we go about navigating it, is a task we must enjoy, whatever the circumstance. A silver lining is what our gaze should perpetually be fixed on, if we must find true meaning over here. “Irie-ness, constantly”, as Sena puts it.

*Sena is author of numerous projects, and has played at destinations all over the world. Her latest album, FEATHERS,  was released in April 2017. Get it here.


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Whispers of LOVE, Life & Living it… THE Kwabena Kwabena ‘Ahyɛse’ album – A REVIEW



Tragic amour is widely-held to birth the greatest songs, and true artists owe it to us to experience sour love. The unlucky lover, Kwabena Kwabena has more than honored this curious demand of art, and is therefore, master of love songs.

Now to the meat of the matter:

Sonically, Kwabena Kwabena’s aptitude has never been in question. Over five magnificent albums, via superior linguistic ingenuity and melodic virtuoso, the beloved crooner has proven indispensable, and therefore, is well on his way to the status of “highlife legend”.

Since Aso (2004), his songs have served as nectar to a huge constituency of loyalists, which primarily consists women. And why not? His music has always accompanied with it, a timeless eminence and soulful connection in how they navigate the theme of love.

Comprising a concise nine songs, his latest album, Ahyɛse, completes an exciting index of high-profile projects published in Ghana last year –other contributors being the likes of Sarkodie, Ebony, Stonebwoy, Akan, Joe Mettle, and Becca. Led with 3 well-received singles (Tuamudaa, Siwagedem, and Adansie), the album sees Kwabena Kwabena, born George Kwabena Adu, double back to the very beginning, which is what the album title translates into English as.

It makes sense that Kwabena would opt for Ahyɛse as title for this new body of work. For one, they say life begins at 40, and at 39, he’s preparing himself to start living. For another, 40 symbolizes the juncture in showbiz where artists generally take stock of their career, and contemplate legacy. How else can we tell that he’s there? Months before announcing the album, he published his memoire, “Past Days Ahead”, chronicling his compelling journey thus far.

Ahyɛse navigates mainly, love and coitus (Kwabena’s leitmotifs), but also, God, life and living it, sees the singer expertly amalgamate authentic rhythms from across the ages, and features a single guest appearance –rapper M.anifest –a decision which is only logical for the direction of the project…also because ultimately, he’s regularly thrived solo anyway. Whatever theme he tackles, Kwabena’s vocal style induces goosebumps, because his delivery is distinctly persuasive. Whether he’s proclaiming the almighty’s unconditional mercies (Adansie, Adonai), listing the many accolades of the Ghanaian damsel (Obaa), peddling adult music (Tuamudaa, Siwagedem), or imploring a lover to be patient as no condition is permanent (Ɛnsesa), a rich honesty is felt, making the message difficult to ignore.

Like everything he has previously submitted, Ahyɛse is made for lovers, by a lover. But it is as much to detractors too. When, on Efie Biara, he admonishes all that there’s a “Mensah” in every home, we know he’s addressing the impunity with which his private life is subjected to public derision. Measured, he resorts to trusted adages (and vintage trumpets) that have guided our society over millennia, to convey his message: “if you see a fellow’s beard in flames, fetch water near yours in precaution”, “have good thoughts toward your brother, so good deeds will follow you”, “when you throw a stone at a wall, it bounces back at you”, he sermonises in Twi. Nobody is without flaws, and often, another man’s woes make you ignore your own, instead of causing you to reflect on them.

Ɛnsesa is a sobering piece not just for its lyrics, but also for the instrumentation that transports them. Every note, every percussion placement, is deliberate and delicate. It’s almost seductive in how it draws one in. The heavy sigh that is induced in the consumer by the end of the song, is testament to what a loaded tune it is.

Women have arguably been subject of adulation even more times than God himself, and Obaa serves as a special addition without doubt. Introduced by fine strings and a Palm Wine aura, it is a tantalizing homage to the Ghanaian female. Whoever inspires music thus, is not ordinary, for she affects unknown depths of a man’s heart.

M’atwɛn Abrɛ evidences Kwabena Kwabena’s adaptability to varying rhythm, as well as the ease with which he owns it. Highlife isn’t static; unrestricted to a single beat pattern. If anything, it unites cadences from across the breadth of Ghana, from days of our forefathers, to sounds of our time. So must the highlife artist. Kwabena proves a vessel for the spirits, whatever generation, whatever corner. M’atwɛn Abrɛ floats on regal Adowa reconstructed by Kwame Yeboah and the OBY Band (who handle virtually the entire album), and adds to the many moments of authentic heritage and cultural pride on the album.

Other records that round up this exquisite body of work include Obi Asa, and Yedɔ Yɛn Ho. Both joints inspire heavy perspiration, but whereas the former is tailored for the dancing feet, the latter is designed  to facilitate the rumpy pumpy.

Whether his voice is slightly above a whisper, or his emotions arrive via the unique pitch of his falsetto, on smooth rhythm, or on rapid tempo, Kwabena shines.

Mature, seamless, and thoroughly edifying, this album makes a magnificent case for highlife and the model Ghanaian songwriter, and further indents him as Ghanaian ambassador worthy of the name. Though it is only months old, Ahyɛse is the kind of album that you would refer to as a classic. It is one to be handled gently, enjoyed repeatedly, and only truly available to them that seek.

Like the album cover, Kwabena bares it all, and embraces himself afresh, flaws and all. It is only when one accepts himself that he can truly impact others.

Ahyɛse – Kwabena Kwabena 2.0!

Artist:  Kwabena Kwabena

Album: Ahyese

Label & Release Date: KBKB MUSIK/ November 2017

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#ENEWSGHPicks: Ebony’s REIGN, Shatta WALE & the Lynx Effect – Top acts of 2017



2017’s class of most influential music acts –an interesting mesh of seasoned and burgeoning stars –may be narrowed down to strictly 8 names. Sultry chanteuse Ebony Reigns is the one realistic female contender for the title of Topmost Act for the Year.

Like previous years, Shatta Wale remains an obvious brand in that batch, unleashing a profusion of jams that further prove what a phenomenon he has been.

In a year of comebacks and a “One Corner” madness, who else makes the cut? Here’s our list:



RuffTown singer Ebony Reigns has owned 2017 like nobody else. With 5 nationwide hits, an impressive debut CD, and an overwhelming attractiveness to the tabloids, young Priscilla Opoku-Kwarteng has remained a focus in the male-dominated industry.

Abuse, Violence & A CALL TO ACTION – Ebony’s ‘Maame Hwɛ’ – A REVIEW

She belongs to a new crop of performers revolutionizing the terrain currently, and has performed on nearly every big stage in the year under review. She is widely-tipped to unseat Joe Mettle as VGMA Artist of the Year in coming months. With Bullet (Ricky Nana Agyeman) in her corner, it is accurate to assume that the hits will keep flowing. While Ruff & Smooth was active, they were a certified hit machine. Bullet constitutes one half of the Afropop band. A proven repository of catchy songwriting, he complements Ebony’s vocal competence greatly, and together, they most certainly will steer 2018 too.



This year, Sarkodie add the accolade “Highest” to his titles. This is as a result of an audacious choice of title for his fifth studio album –that and an overall image built via several years of exemplary consistency.

The rapper may not have churned out as many dance anthems as are required to keep one’s name prominent in our music settings, but he is the “Highest”…he has contributed his quota, and is now advantaged to be at a spot where he dictates the scene and not the other way round.

A KING’s Charm over his subjects, a concert of many colours, A Legend LIVES ON … THE FIFTH RAPPERHOLIC


Shatta Wale

Charles Nii Armah Mensah! Leader of the defiant ones, Shatta Wale has been at the pinnacle of Ghana music for the past five years, at least. Perennial controversy, and an abundance of hit songs have kept him   miles ahead of his peers.

We are still counting his offerings for 2017 alone (over 100 at this point), and though today is December 31, he might just drop five more songs for good measure, never mind that Taking Over, Umbrella, Forgetti, Low Tempo, Freedom, Ayoo, Dem Confuse, Bumper, and Hosanna have more than done the business for him. The recruitment of Willis Beatz to his backroom has proven a tremendous addition to the SM4LYF imprint, bringing a fresh versatility to the sounds from the staples. Like Shatta Wale, Willis also reigns in the year as producer, brewing a number of SM hits as well as offerings from Ebony, MzVee, and Kofi Kinaata.



With a single highlife masterpiece, singers Frank Osei (Wutah Afriyie) and Daniel Morris (Wutah Kobby) staged one of the biggest comebacks in Ghanaian music, quickly reclaiming their place within the top tier.

Bronya, that KinDee-produced joint, is homage to the genre’s earliest forms and met with a peculiar homesickness within the Ghanaian spirit.

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

Now signed to NKZ Music, the group (not unfamiliar to acclaim brought about by Bronya) has published other notable joints as AK47 and Don’t Worry (ft. Stonebwoy).


Fancy Gadam

Dagomba music titan Fancy Gadam is truly a man of the people. Following his historic VGMA Best New Artist win earlier this year, he has gone on to entrench himself in Ghana’s mainstream, filling arenas  at will, and serving the widely-loved Afropop tune Total Cheat.

Born Ahmed Mujahid Bello, he published Muhahid, his fourth album this year, and wraps up a great 2017 with Customer, a new Afrobeats single featuring Nigerian dancehall star Patoranking.


Kuami Eugene

Lynx Entertainment act and MTN Hitmaker alumnus Kuami Eugene has had the year of his life without question. A talented singer -songwriter and producer, he has worked with sought-after names including Shatta Wale, and label mate KiDi. He has also received praise from greats as Sarkodie.

Angela, a beautiful love song on which his 2017 rides, is ubiquitous.  It has made him one the busiest acts of the year.



Further proof of Lynx Entertainment’s immense 2017, KiDi has chalked great success in the year under review. Also an MTN Hitmaker alumnus, he has shown brighter this year than any other time in his blooming music career –now officially becoming a love symbol.

Joined by label mates MzVee and Kuami Eugene, he performed to several thousands at the Achimota Mall days ago, in a befitting end-of-year concert hosted by the label. Dubbed the Wave concert, it aptly describes influence of their sound on the new wave of Afrobeats.



BET honouree and certified showstopper, Stonebwoy (Livingstone Satekla) released multiple hit songs and a new album this year. His panache to make craft infectious melody has never been in question. For years, he has proven a core source of nationwide anthems.

MIGHTY LORDS! A Stone God’s Homage to a Rain Godfather – THE 2017 BHIM Concert

This year sees the artist pursue a more international agenda than he has ever done. Epistles of Mama, his fourth studio project after Grade 1, Necessary Evil, and Livingstone features universal names in reggae/dancehall as Sean Paul, Chronixx, Sarkodie, Pressure, I Octane, Efya, Vanessa Bling, and Kabaka Pyramid. At the same time, he has maintained a firm grip on his local fanbase, headlining two major concerts, and mount nearly all high-profile shows staged in the year under review.

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A KING’s Charm over his subjects, a concert of many colours, A Legend LIVES ON … THE FIFTH RAPPERHOLIC



Heightened and impatient, the growing crowd begins to grumble loudly now. For hours, they have waited to be let into the large auditorium in which the concert is scheduled, but the gates have remained firmly shut. Circumstances thus fester disturbing thoughts. No one is anticipating a stampede, but…

2017 marks five editions of Sarkodie holding his annual Rapperholic concert. Also, it crowns an extensive tour of major destinations across Europe, UK, and the US with his latest album. Now bearer of the accolade “Highest” as a result of the album’s title, Sarkodie is expected to curate nothing short of that adjective. The venue has remained unchanged in the past couple of years, and to a large extent, his biggest hits haven’t either. But he bears in his hand on this occasion, an exceptional new body of work, and a sturdy desire to engrave it as a classic in the hearts of patrons gathered here tonight.

Sarkodie performs at Rapperholic 2017. IMAGE/ SADIQ MORE

Once inside, the crowd is much relaxed, but also very alive with debate, legend, and gossip. Tonight, everyone is a GH rap expert…Sarkodie serving as the primary reference. Across the hall, numerous zealots are already drenched in their own sweat. Attired in Sarkodie merchandise, they have significantly been roused by music being spun by DJ K Krack ahead of performances on the night; flaring their hands and chanting along to songs as performers would, as if it is they who penned them in a modest home studio that quiet morning. There’s something to be learned from this sight –the marvelous power of the well-crafted spoken word.

Things escalate quickly –a rapid succession of riveting acts (mainly emerging stars) ensures this. If there lingered anywhere in the venue, any remaining shadow of monotony, the opening round of performers dispels this outright: Article Wan, A.I, Kwesi Arthur, B4bonah, energy machine Epixode, Sariki, Teephlow, and Yaa Pono have proven true revolutionaries in this new chapter of Ghanaian music. Their offerings in recent years have served as party staples as they have facilitated soul-searching. That Rapperholic brings them all together on one stage is commendable.

DJ Mensah, and UK band The Compozers constitute Sarkodie’s corner tonight. It’s not an unfamiliar team, and their aptitude is impossible to question. As has been the situation with the Rapperholic franchise over time, we are on the verge of something momentous.

Rapperholic has always been about a lush atmosphere. Everybody is there with a jollification mindset, and when people are united in this purpose, very little can hold them back. So intense is the vivacity in the realm that it thickens the very oxygen circulating in the room, making it tangible to the naked eye. In Ghana, only a handful of names are potent enough to summon such spirit –the name “Sarkodie” is one of them. Since his 2009 debut Makye, Michael Owusi Addo (as he is privately called) has remained the darling of music lovers in these parts. With superior wit and delivery, ingenuity and simply an innate desire to rap, he has risen to the foremost echelons in the country and beyond. In the past decade or so that he has practiced music professionally, he has been a key contributor of songs which constitute our top picks.

Furthermore, Sarkodie’s magnificent stage charm, fostered over the course his career, has made him a true performance icon. Whether singlehandedly, or in the company of the notable contingent of surprise acts that supports him each year, he has always held his own. That is why Rapperholic sets in particular, are always keenly anticipated.

“The hunter ages, but not his skill”, translates a popular Ga adage. Legends will always remain legends. There is not a dull moment at Rapperholic 2017, and every performance is important for a reason; Jayso, Strongman, and Teephlow reecho the essence of pure rap, Feli Nuna, Freda Rhymes, and Eno boost our confidence in the female rapper’s competence, Kwaw Kese typifies brazen originality, King Promise, Kurl Songx, and Akwaboah are antidote for the ladies, Koorede Bello and Yung L augment the West African feel, and BBNZ boys Shaker and Ko-jo Cue ooze the worth of the pen and paper. But Obrafour’s appearance is undeniably the most significant on the night. The rapturous reception which meets the Rap Sofuo’s triumphant entry unto the stage is the sort of thing that shatters glass ceilings.  As he performs alongside Sarkodie, not even he can hear himself. The crowd takes over, roaring well-received collaborations from the pair: Saa Okodie No, and Life, as well as classics off Obrafour’s unequaled catalogue including Yaanom, Kwame Nkrumah, and Ohene (which Sarkodie impressively recited with perfection).

In many regards, Obrafour is hiplife. The genre may have been originated by Rockstone, and properly established with the input of a hundred other pioneers, yet, Obrafour has embodied that sound more effectively than anybody else. Starting with Pae Mu Ka (1999), his approach has served as both soul and blueprint for hiplife, while operating on the everlasting “Last Two” pulse.

The model apprentice, Sarkodie has, since the beginning of his career, always deemed Obrafour as a godfather. Their performance, and Sarkodie bowing to him in a remarkable act of reverence and gratitude is simply heartwarming to behold. Both rappers are reportedly brewing a joint album following a passionate appeal by veteran producer Da’Hammer some weeks ago (who is producing the work). Judging by the distinction achieved on everyone of their collaborations so far, the project is bound to be emblematic.

Sarkodie bows to Obrafour at 2017 Rapperholic Concert. IMAGE/ PULSE

Maybe it is the December spirit, but recent days have witnessed images of great solidarity and mutual admiration that normally is infrequent in a fiercely competitive terrain as showbiz. At his December 22 concert, Stonebwoy genuflects before guru Samini during their performance. In neighboring Nigeria, archrivals Wizkid and Davido seem to have patched things up, appearing on each other’s concerts. Davido’s recent 30 Billion concert witnessed a Mo’Hits reunion, with D’Banj, Don Jazzy and other original members of the once supreme music label all performing side by side.

At Rapperholic, Sarkodie is Nas, and Fela, and Bob Marley. He’s Marvin Gaye, and Kojo Antwi, Daddy Lumba, and Paa Dogo. The stage is made for him, and affords him opportunity to explore the many extensions to his creativity than he normally would.

No limitations exist. Rapping or singing, backed by a band or DJ set (or both), Sarkodie simply reigns. Over highlife, hiplife, hiphop, Afrobeats, or reggae, he shines brilliantly.In an era where rappers particularly are constantly berated for their obsession to mime onstage and nothing else, Sarkodie proves that an all-round performance can be achieved by a rapper too.

His image as a performer is highly boosted by the Rapperholic concert, and serves as necessary springboard for the subsequent year. So, even in spite of RuffTown’s Ebony, Sarkodie will make a more than decent showing at the 2018 VGMAs.

The mere mention of this name causes deafening cheers, and when he finally surfaces onstage, dressed in black, and performing Light It Up amidst fearsome fire breathers, he does render a performance worthy of the applause and long standing ovation that characterises his sets. Other songs follow, off Highest as well as previous offerings, and the cheers remain constant. Beloved colleagues join him: Samini, Joey B, Magnom, Captain Planet, Efya, Becca, Kwaw Kese, Adina, R2Bees, Big Shaq…This party just goes on and on.

By the time he performs Glory, his inspirational new single featuring Nigeria’s Yung L, it is unanimously agreed that he has tucked yet another successful edition neatly in the annals of history. His swan song for the night, and indeed, a great 2017, the number causes him to shed a joyful tear. His story is a deeply moving one, and for anyone who has followed his journey over the past 10 years, it has been one big blessing.

A ‘Sark’ FULL OF Glory… Sarkodie – THE ‘Highest’ ALBUM REVIEW

Glory, the Jayso-produced joint, sums up Sarkodie’s new album and life too: no matter where you are, dreams do manifest if you keep at them, and are patient and resilient enough to see them come to pass.

“King Sark till I die/ nobody can ever pull me down”, goes a line in the song. He can afford to say that now because he has come from far, and remained alive. And when accounts of an artist now frequently takes the form of  a tribute, maybe they have really become legends.

Thoroughly thrilled and content, the crowd files out of the conference centre leisurely now. Pockets gather here and there, conducting their postmortem. For hours, they have truly jammed to some of the biggest songs of 2017  –the fatigue in their bones, and their sore feet are testament to that. The reviews are generally positive, and nobody seems to even remember the poor crowd control by organisers at the beginning of the show, or its late start. Rapperholic 2017 has ended well.

A multiple-award-winner, Sarkodie is author of five albums in all: Makye (2009), Rapperholic (2012), Sarkology (2014), Mary (2015), and Highest (2017). Compered by Dancehall singer Shatta Wale, this year’s Rapperholic concert is a joint collaboration between the rapper’s SarkCess Music, and A Team Productions.

More images from the concert courtesy Sadiq More:

Sarkodie at Rapperholic 2017. IMAGE/ SADIQ MORE

Sarkodie bows to Obrafour at 2017 Rapperholic Concert. IMAGE/ PULSE

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MIGHTY LORDS! A Stone God’s Homage to a Rain Godfather – THE 2017 BHIM Concert



December 22 –Accra International Conference Centre

Like the crowd tonight, pyrotechnics are ecstatic at the very presence of melody masters Samini and Stonebwoy sharing a stage. In the middle of performing Climax (their well-liked 2012 collaboration), a portion of the stage literally catches fire. The flame is swiftly subdued by security, but something else has already been ignited within both acts. What follows the accident effectively précises BHIM Concert 2017.

“Hol on! Hol on!”, Stonebwoy halts the band, and then sets out: “You no see say Samini come, wey the fire start burn/ Stonebwoy dey here, the fire start burn/ Samini come, wey the fire start burn …”. Samini laughs a majestic laugh, and then turns to Stonebwoy: “So if I come, why the fire no for burn/you don’t know say Dada come, fire burn/ if I come why fire no for burn/ anytime I come, you know say fire ago burn…

Mentor and protégé lunge into an iconic near-20-minute freestyle chronicling modest beginnings and big dreams: the long lonely trek to Dansoman just to record, persuading Stonebwoy’s family about music as a real career, Samini’s prediction 9 years ago of major feats for the Ashaiman native, as well as current accomplishments.

Music is prophetic. Take another listen to that JMJ-programmed anthem, off Stonebwoy’s debut album Grade 1, and tonight falls into perspective with shocking profundity –the awe-inspiring support from fans and fellow musicians culminating in several awards, the powerful sense of achievement and pride obvious in the eyes of the Enku Lenu man, as it is in the heart of his guru who simply rejoices while beholding the product of his tutelage. A classic at this point, Climax sees both Samini and Stonebwoy impose themselves as indispensable pieces to the modern Ghanaian music puzzle, unwavering in the awareness of their creative endowments, confident in the charisma of their craft.

This is phenomenal, and impossible to properly appreciate sitting down. Expectedly, everyone is on their feet –jumping, waving, cheering, applauding. The session segués into a unique rendition of Samini’s recent reggae hit My Own, on-the-spot hooks crafted to complement the anecdotes being related (which the crowd swiftly memorizes and sings along to), and even a birthday song for the High Grade Family boss.

While Stonebwoy (Livingstone Satekla) and Samini (Emmanuel Andrew Samini) have performed together several times in the past, the 2017 BHIM Concert will go down as one of the most epic. Often, students are a reflection of their instructors, and so, one notices straightaway, both a telepathy and semblance in their methods: their artistic permanence, stage competence, vast vocal range, and the exclusive grating cadence of their high notes.  The image of the pair jumping and kicking their feet together uniformly will be remembered by all for a long time.

But tonight is about Stonebwoy specifically, let us not digress too much. Author of three other critical bodies of work, Stonebwoy models the second annual BHIM Concert on his new album Epistles of Mama. Like the 24- tracker, the singer dispatches two unforgettable rounds: a reggae session and an Afrobeats one. The reggae part, with which he commences his performance, sees him trundle between dense emotions. On Praises, he looks earnestly to the roof of the auditorium (but really at the heavens above), chanting passionately, a psalm he penned in awe of the supreme being’s many favours towards him. On Mama, one of his many tributes to late mother Catherine Satekla, whom the entire album is dedicated to, he fights back unsuccessfully, tears as he recounts her words to him while still alive: “Mama did-a tell me times like this will come”. The singer’s bond to his mum has always been tight, and even now, he claims to hear her daily. He will never fully come to terms with her passing, and singing about her will always result in a catch in his throat.

Stonebwoy performing Mama at BHIM Concert 2017. IMAGE/ ZYLOFON

The Afrobeats session sees the singer rain down an extensive playlist of dance-ready jams both from the new album and his previous offerings –songs thus have constituted a key aspect of his catalogue over the years. For as long as he has been active in music, Stonebwoy has had hits at the ready. Dripping with contagious choruses and an overall happy vibe, his sound has now become a staple in Afro-dancehall/ Afrobeats. He has distinguished himself as immensely nifty, giftedly merging multiple genres with the ease of a seasoned practitioner.

29, Stonebwoy has come full circle.  In Verse 2 of Hero, a fiercely triumphant joint released months ago, he declares: “I -man a di biggest artist from Ashaiman that ever burst to di world”. The song was published immediately after 50, 000 fans thronged to the Sakaka Park in Accra for his Ashaiman to The World concert, September 30. Dreams do come true. Consider: barely a decade prior, this humble youth was roaming the very streets he’s now messiah of, pursuing with a hunger, patience and faith, the ambition of becoming a megastar.

Today, he is among the most revered of his generation, earning plaudits from far and near, and becoming a role model to masses who find inspiration in both the man and his music. He can boldly proclaim: “If I die today, I’m a hero”.

His evolution as a consummate artist and stage master is also witnessed in his way with the band backing him tonight. Like an army commander over his contingent, he steers them in various directions, utilizing the microphone as wand, and falling on a peculiar set of vocabulary as his spells. So he barks “off- timing”, and a different variation of the rhythm being played is heard, “one track”, and a new craze is invoked. If, as many hold, the live band performance is the truest test of a performer’s competence, Stonebwoy stakes a bold claim –perhaps the boldest among his contemporaries.

For as long as he has been active in music, Stonebwoy has had hits at the ready. Dripping with contagious choruses and an overall happy vibe, his sound has now become a constant in Afro-dancehall/ Afrobeats. IMAGE/ ZYLOFON

Winner of several awards including VGMA Artist of the Year, BET Best International Act: Africa (both in 2015), and an African Entertainment Legends Award on the night, Stonebwoy’s sights are obviously set on global frontiers. It is clear in his moves over the past couple of years. This is further illustrated with Epistles of Mama, a flavorsome, melody-filled project featuring universal names as Sean Paul, Chronixx, Sarkodie, Pressure, I Octane, Efya, Vanessa Bling, Kabaka Pyramid and a host of others. The Grammy Award has never been closer. And why not? His Livingstone EP was considered for nomination at the 2017 edition. He also features on Morgan Heritage’s “Avrakadabra” (which has been nominated for  ‘Best Reggae Album’ in the 2018 Grammy Awards, alongside ‘Chronology’ by Chronixx, ‘Lost In Paradise’ by Common Kings, ‘Wash House Ting’ by J Boog, and ‘Stony Hill’ by Damian Marley).

Put together by creative arts giant ZYLOFON Media in partnership with Stonebwoy’s BMG imprint, the 2017 BHIM Concert, compered by funny man DKB and Elikem “The Tailor”, also witnessed supporting performances from 2016 Grammy nominee Rocky Dawuni, vivacious Gospel singer Joyce Blessing, Kumi Guitar, Ara B, Obibini, Becca, Edem, Kelvinboy, Medikal, Kojo Funds, Damaris, King Promise, and Luther.  


More images courtesy ENEWSGH, Zylofon, & ROB Photograph:

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