#VGMANostalgia: 2016 – Of EL’s Crowning

Let’s admit, the EL announcement caught us all by surprise. EL too! Did you see his face when he was announced as overall winner? In many ways, he saved...

Let’s admit, the EL announcement caught us all by surprise. EL too! Did you see his face when he was announced as overall winner?

In many ways, he saved the night..not necessarily as a laudable opening set, but for winning Artist of the Year.

Else, what would we have to speak about? The show was crisp and short, the performances were safe. Even Bisa apologised for the “pioneer” remarks. So, no scandal. And a VGMAs without scandal is nothing. Particularly in that sense, Charter House failed. The show was so precise that it was even a bit boring, and there were points in the programme when I just wished Shatta Wale would descend from the ceiling and cause trouble…you know, save the night.

Everything we asked for, we were given; the red carpet started and ended early enough, the performances were live, it was produced (actually produced) for tv, the awards were fairly distributed, the MCs did their part; looking pretty and smiling widely, award presenters wasted no time in announcing who won. Most importantly, the Artist of the Year, when he went up to pick his award, was not accompanied by an entourage of fifty; and so we saw his face when he spoke, and heard his heart when he sighed in disbelief…not that he didn’t believe he had done enough to deserve it, but that nothing prepared you for that moment, that same moment he might refer to as “ogboo feelings”. Nothing.

And what’s with all that murmuring? Bisa KDei should have won, he’s a better crossover artist, his songs had the most longevity to them, this wasn’t even a contest to start with…dah dah dah dah…You had folded your arms in complacency, expecting the votes to appear by themselves, when we both know Bisa isn’t an Ayigbe Boy. And then, when an actual Ayigbe boy won it, you feigned shock. Massa keep calm kraa.

Meanwhile, it was you noor who said that Bisa wasn’t that powerful a performer enough, and that Artist of the Year should go to a well-rounded person as only the well-rounded person should be allowed to be our ambassador in that respect. It was fun, a real sport –to inflame the  argument in that way. Now what are you saying?

Of course, deep down , you wanted Bisa to win, because he had the biggest songs and it was no mean feat for a highlife artist. But you’re the controversial one, and you had to play that role. You could have voted. You could have campaigned too on Twitter. But did you do that? No. Did you vote?

No no no, answer the question. Did you vote? There it is…

And don’t you dare suggest (not mildly, not accidentally), that the Ayigbe boy hasn’t worked hard enough. We both know that his ethic can be rivaled by perhaps only one or two others. And many have wondered for how long he would continue to be underrated in that respect. Thank God.

Indeed, EL deserves to be Artist of the year…anyone who observed closely would have got it.

“EL, borle, Young Lomi/ Lord, how you put so much in one body/”

These are a few observations I made about EL’s work culture back in December:

“EL is a hard worker. He too, has done so much for music this year that it can’t (shouldn’t) be overlooked. He juggles between the array of genres in this town, and leaves an impact everywhere. When we observe how easy it all comes to him, we are inclined to overlook, like it’s nothing…but if it were, everyone else would be doing it too. There’s a highlife song with Afro Harmony here, impressive stuff with the rock band Dark Suburb there, and several azonto–tempo songs and collaborations lying all around us. No matter what kind of music you lean to, there’s a good chance there’s an EL on your playlist. This month, his latest album comes out –I for one am confident about the quality on ELOM, and it’s not just because of the witty song titles on the album.

The genius he’s delivering to the above genres, he’s giving to hip hop too, which he might be trying to pacify with his B.A.R mixtapes, in parallel proportion too. With his mixtape, The B.A.R II, for instance, he has managed to fuel the conversation that he might be the Best African Rapper, which is what B.A.R stands for, to him. With The B.A.R mixtapes, he might actually have raised the bar in hip hop in Ghana several notches up (pun intended…or not). And while many other rappers here are having to “dumb down” their lyrics, he is one of the few who are representing lyricism and consciousness with their version of hip hop.

With this new mixtape too, he’s had to defend his affection fo hip hop, as well as rationalise why he had to “sell out” the genre before he started “selling”.

Like I said, I have high hopes for EL, who’s known in real life as Elom Adablah, and his ELOM album, because, well, Everybody Loves Original Music…but there’s also so much he’s already done with The B.A.R II…and his mixtapes cannot be taken for granted. Indeed, for his performance on American Passport, a song off his previous installment, he won Rapper of The Year at the VGMAs, so yes, EL’s mixtapes are not to be played with.

Finally on B.AR II, I would very much like for you to listen to the mixtape. There are 19 songs on there,and it’s for your own good. But if you can’t get all 19 songs, kindly listen to at least the following : We No Dey Hear, State of the Nation, and 10 Rap Commandments. These are specifically songs for everyone with ambition and challenges, which refers to all of us anyway. After that, let’s discuss depth, vision, observation, honesty in music, and the art of social commentary.

Did I mention he produces songs too? And don’t even get me started with stuff that his Koko is doing already.”

Indeed, if there’s one thing to learn from EL’s win, it should be that hard work will be rewarded, even if eventually. Someone is watching, and in his own words, “you never know de plans wet God get”

He’s called himself “The Best African Rapper”, he’s called himself the “best artistic product from the motherland”. Now he gets to call himself the man of the year.

More vim, Elom. More vim.

 

*Note: This piece was first published by enewsgh.com on May 9, 2016. We have reproduced it as a note from our archives as part of our build-up to this year’s event.

 

 

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Entertainment writer from Accra. Editor, enewsgh.com. Pounding music makes me dance -in my mind.

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