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INTERVIEW: Efya Is Making Afrobeats on Her Own Terms



It’s Efya‘s time.

Efya’s soulful voice and jazz-inflected artistry put her in a lane of her own within the new wave of afro fusion artists from Ghana and Nigeria. Her debut album Genesis was a vibrant introduction to her talent, and with her upcoming album, Until the Dawn, the singer promises more soul and “a lot more funk.”

We got a chance to speak with Efya ahead of her first-ever show in NYC and she spoke to us about her unique sound, her past and future collaborations, and how’s she’s preparing for “Efya time.”

Read our conversation below.


OkayAfrica: What are you up to in New York City?

Efya: I came here to perform at a show. I’m working on some new music, we have some producers here, and DJ Tunez and my PR had me doing stuff with the guys like photo shoots. We shot a video for the last single, “Love,” that I released for Valentine’s Day. You know, preparations. There’s always a next project we’re working on.

OkayAfrica: And the next project for you is a new album?

Efya: Yes, definitely.

OkayAfrica: Is the sound evolving?

Efya: It’ll be a lot more funk. Like, you know, Bruno Mars meets afro-punk.

OkayAfrica: What producers are you working with?

Efya: We’re doing a lot of stuff with Maleek Berry, it’s a very different sound. Also, with Del’Band DJ Tunez, as I said earlier.

OkayAfrica: You just got signed to Starboy last year. How did that come about?

Efya: Wizkid and I have been friendly for a long time so I think it was just about You know, it was a timing thing. We have so much music together and it made sense to be on the same team. It was meant to happen. Work-wise, we work really well together and as you can see on “Daddy Yo” we had a lot of fun.

OkayAfrica: Congrats on “Daddy Yo.” How did that collaboration come about?

Efya: I mean, every time I’m asked that question, I say we were in the studio and we were just vibing and that’s how it was, you know. We had come across a lot of different kind of sounds and I wanted to try something different. That was the first time that I tried anything in that genre and I’m glad we did it.

OkayAfrica: There’s been this explosion of afrobeats recently. How do you feel about the term “afrobeats”?

Efya: I know, right. I always wonder about it and I don’t know who coined it up because the sounds are so different depending on where you’re coming from and the language you’re using, but I think most of it is because of the drums.

OkayAfrica: The drums?

Efya: Yes, because there’s this thing about African sound where you hear it, wherever you hear it you know that’s African. Mostly because of the drums. No matter where you send it to, now they’re even mixing afro-beat with techno and that’s awesome.

OkayAfrica: Would you call yourself an “afrobeats” artist?

Efya: Would I? I mean I do make afrobeats music, but I think, very soulfully. So what does that make me? An afrobeats soulful person? You know the kind of music we’re making depends on the kind of vibe that we’re on also. I would definitely say that I’m a singer but I don’t mind mixing it with the genre because I’ll just be singing, I’ll be scattering on jazz. It’s not something that I can resist. This is who I am.

OkayAfrica: So you’re going to LA soon to record with Wizkid, right? Can you say anything about that, what are you guys recording?

Efya: You know, he’s about to drop a very amazing mixtape which I’ve got some features on, so you know, just brushing things up.

OkayAfrica: So you feature on more than “Daddy Yo”?

Efya: Yes.

OkayAfrica: How many other tracks are you on?

Efya: I can’t say. But you’re going to love it. It’s a very different vibe but you know, music is music. It’s magical, especially as it grows and as it changes, so I believe that that’s a great thing.




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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Events & Places

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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Events & Places

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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Hearts, Mama’s Epistles & Bonyfied Highest Albums of 2017 – #ENEWSGHPicks



Artist: Trigmtic    

Album: Melodies Awakening The Inactive Conscience (M.A.T.I.C)

Label & Release Date: Da Trig EntertainmentJanuary, 2017

Trigmatic enjoyed immense success with his 2010 single My Life, and has received multiple awards since. A genius across genres, he has yet to attain celebrity that is truly fitting of his talent. M.A.T.I.C is Enoch Yaw Oduro-Agyei (as he is privately known)’s first album release in 6 years. In many respects a rebirth for the curiously underrated hiplife act, the 15-track project in a magnificent whisk of influences both old and new, a feature not uncharacteristic of him.     

Highlights of the project include the Stonebwoy – assisted Gbedu, and  Motromodwo (featuring A.I). That last song, unapologetic highlife founded on rich percussion and horn sections is without question, one of the finest Ghanaian records published in recent years. Thankfully, Motromodwo enjoyed ample radio play, reintroducing his name in top-tier acts from this town.

The CD, his fourth solo project after Stains on a Cloth (2007), Permanent Stains (2010), and SOUL-u-TIONS (2011) also features Sarkodie, E .L, Stonebwoy, A.I, Orezi, Jupitar, Krissy O and Skales.

Get M.A.T.I.C here.

Artist:  Akan

Album: Onipa Akoma

Label & Release Date: A- Level/ October 2017

A-Level rapper Akan’s Onipa Akoma album took two years to make. It is also his debut. Running over with astoundingly mature language, dexterity with Twi, and creative valour, and compelling storytelling, the CD ranks not only among the most groundbreaking bodies of work by a Ghanaian this year, but also in all of Hiplife history, already being compared with the greatest of all hiplife albums: the 1999 classic Pae Mu Ka.

Formerly trading by the showbiz name Quabena Shy, Akan is among the most relevant of our young voices today, courting both plaudits and comparison with such hiplife elders as Okomfour Kwadee, Obrafour, Sarkodie and veteran producer Da’Hammer.

Producer and friend TwistedWavex handles majority of the productions on the i5-track project which also feature contribution from MikeMillz among others.

Get Onipa Akoma here.

Artist:  Becca

Album: Unveiling

Label & Release Date: ZYLOFON Music/ August 2017

Consisting 13 songs, Becca’s third studio album Unveiling coincides with her 10th anniversary in active music. The beloved Ghanaian songstress is also among Ghana’s biggest female exports, securing collaborations with top names as MI, Mr Eazi,  2Baba, M.I, Ice Prince, Bisa KDei, Uhuru, Hugh Masekela among others.

With Unveiling, Becca (Rebecca Akosua Acheampong) once again stakes a bold claim for the female constituency in a male- dominated terrain. A catalogue primarily consisting palatable love songs compiled over 13 months, the piece ranks among highly commercial albums of 2017, and features guest appearances from Bisa Kdei, Patoranking, Mr Eazi, Kofi Kinaata, Joyce Blessing and Ice Prince. Highlights from the record include Hw3 and Beshiwo (both featuring Bisa KDei), You & I, and Na Wash (featuring Patoranking).

Get Unveiling here.

Artist:  Fancy Gadam

Album: Mujahid

Label & Release Date: 5minutes Music/ July 2017

2017 sees Tamale-based Fancy Gadam (Ahmed Mujahid Bello) finally cement himself in mainstream Ghanaian music. With his Gadam Nation tour, the energetic singer has gone ahead to prove why he deserved to be named VGMA Best new Artist ahead of the likes of Medikal, Eugy, Rudebwoy Ranking, and Article Wan, filling up arenas in major cities across the country, and more than impressing on high-profile shows.

The launch of Mujahid (his third album) at the Tamale Sports Stadium was witnessed by over 18,000 patrons. Total Cheat, off the record and featuring rap icon Sarkodie, is a bona fide 2017 hit, rubbing  shoulders with efforts from Stonebwoy, Shatta Wale, KiDi, Kuami Eugene, Patapaa, and Ebony.

Get Mujahid here.

Artist:  Joe Mettle

Album: God of Miracles

Label & Release Date: Reverb Studios/ November 2017

God of Miracles brings to 4, the number of albums reigning VGMA Artist of the Year Joe Mettle has submitted since launching his solo carer in 2007. Comprising 13 songs, the live recording features guest appearances from Nathaniel Bassey, Akesse Brempong, Ohemaa Mercy, Kingz Kid, and protege Luigi Maclean.

The impact of the album, via the leading single Bo Noo Ni, cannot be questioned. The single has been viewed over 1.2 million times on YouTube alone. It is important for Mettle to have released God Of Miracles –an album of such significant quality –in the year that he won the most coveted music award in the land, albeit not without controversy. If not for nothing at all, to silence critics, prove that he’s not one to rest on his laurels, and most of all, keep Ghanaian Gospel in conversations that matter.

Get God of Miracles here.

Artist:  Sarkodie

Album: Highest

Label & Release Date: SarkCess/ September 2017

Highest is Sarkodie’s fifth album after Makye (2009), Rapperholic (2012), Sarkology (2014), and Mary (2015). It sees the rapper proclaim himself as the foremost name in Ghanaian music, a sentiment he has held for as long as he has professionally engaged in music, and gone on to back with endless records and awards.

Much a rap album as it is melodic (something made possible by the layered approach of a typical Jayso production), Highest sees Sarkodie engage with deeply personal themes, and explore new creative terrain by recruiting unlikely collaborators as Victoria Kimani, Moelogo, Praiz, Korede Bello, Jesse Jagz, Bobii Lewis among others.

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

 There may not be a “massive hit” on the album, at least judging by the rapper’s own standard, again, referring to such songs as You Go Kill Me, Pon The Ting, Adonai, RNS, Fa Sor Hor, and Gboza. All songs on there require repeated play to fully engage with and properly appreciate –which is how albums should be consumed anyway.
Get Highest here.

Artist:  Ebony Reigns


Label & Release Date: RUFFTOWN/ December 2017

Just 20, sultry Dancehall/Afropop singer Ebony Reigns has had a tremendous 2017, submitting a significant percentage of hits the year has seen, as well as mounting nearly all major platforms over the period.

Ebony’s debut album BONYFIED consists 16 songs, and bears the main hits of 2017: Poison, Sponsor, Date Your Fada, Hustle, and Maame Hwɛ, as well as old gold like Dancefloor, Kupe, and Turn on the Light.

Because of what an outstanding year she has had, Ebony is widely tipped to win Artist of the Year at next year’s Vodafone-sponsored Ghana Music Awards.

Artist:  Stonebwoy

Album: Epistles of Mama (EOM)

Label & Release Date: ZYLOFON Music/ BMG, December 2017

BET winner Stonebwoy looks to reach new frontiers with Epistles of Mama, his recently-released 4th project. It is evident in the collaborations he secures on the album: Sean Paul, Chronixx, Sarkodie, Pressure, I Octane, Efya, Vanessa Bling, Joey B, Kabaka Pyramid, etc.

Released in honour of his late mother Catherine Satekla, the double-album bears a flavoursome selection of reggae/dancehall songs on one CD, and Afrobeats on the other. But for two songs referencing his mum, EOM is hardly related to anything about motherhood. Otherwise, it is specifically a strategy to establish himself properly as an international brand.

Stonebwoy bears great talent, and so the album is unsurprisingly great, dripping with infectious choruses and even melody. It was highly- anticipated throughout the year, and was well worth the wait.

Get Epistles of Mama here.

Artist:  Kwabena Kwabena

Album: Ahyese

Label & Release Date: KBKB MUSIK/ November 2017

Sonically, ace highlife musician and trusted love doctor Kwabena Kwabena still reigns in Ghana. Even if his own love story has been characterised by successive failure, his songs have served as nectar to many. Ahyese sees him double back to the very beginning, which is what the album translates as from Twi.

Comprising a tidy 9 songs, the project brings to 5, his solo projects so far, and adds to high-profile projects published in Ghana this year. The album was led with 3 well-received singles: Tuamudaa, Siwagedem, and Adansie (ft. rapper M.anifest).

Artist:  Blakk Rasta

Album: Kuchoko Revolution

Label & Release Date: Blakk & Tuff / VPAL Music, May 2017

Blakk Rasta’s Kuchoko Revolution was part of the  longlist for the 60th Grammy Awards. That’s how important the firebrand reggae musician/ radio man’s project is.

The 13-track album follows Rasta Shrine (2000), More Fyah (2002), Ganja Minister (2004), Natty Bongo (2006), Naked Wire (2008), Voice of the Afrikan Rebel (2009) and Born Dread (2011). It is crafted over indigenous instruments as the Kologo, xylophone, talking drums (dondo), jimbe, Africa Foot percussion, jinbe, cow horns etc, and rendered over 6 different languages: English, Dagbani, Hausa, Arabic, Ndebele and Jamaican Patois.

Kuchoko Revolution navigates religion, history, love, and his special brand of reggae: Kuchoko.

Get Kuchoko Revolution here.

Artist: MzVee

Album: DaaVee

Label & Release Date: Lynx EntertainmentMay 2017

The third album from two-time BET honouree MzVee (Vera Hamenoo-Kpeda), DaaVee makes the beloved chanteuse, 25, one of Ghana’s most consistent modern performers. A class act across genres,  the singer serves a a potpourri of  Afropop, Hiplife, R& B, and dancehall on the record, which sees her embrace her womanhood like never before.
 DaaVee  consists 12 songs, and features collaboration from Black Prophet, Article Wan, Kuami Eugene, Ko-jo Cue, and Lyrical. Aside being a decent commercial effort, it also proved a mighty springboard for Kuami Eugene, who has since his appearance on Rewind, grown into his own man, dispatching hits at will. MzVee’s other albums are Re-Vee-Lation (2014), and Verified (2015).
Get DaaVee here.
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#ENEWSGHPlaylist: Total cheats, Born ONE virgins and a ‘One Corner’ madness – Top songs of 2017



2017 belongs to Swedru native and One Corner man Patapaa Amisty as much as it belongs to Stonebwoy, or Ebony, or  Bronya duo Wutah. Richie Mensah’s Lynx Entertainment may have enjoyed their biggest year in a while, and Shatta Wale maintains his grip atop the pile in many respects.

Here’s our list of top songs for the year.

  1. One Corner – Patapaa (ft. Loyalty and Ras Cann)

One morning in September, the country woke up to a viral video of Swedru-based Patapaa Amisty (known privately as Justice Amoah) performing One Corner at this year’s Akwambo Festival. The profound insanity exhibited in the footage startled and charmed the nation all at once. Beneath the stage, in the presence of the elderly, on the streets, in gutters, and practically everywhere else, bewitched fans partook of the craze mainly by thrusting their groins at whatever was in front of them (animate or not)  as you would during coitus.

And with that, One Corner became a phenomenon, sweeping across West Africa and beyond at the rate of wildfires during harmattan. Celebrities and regular folk alike were not left out of the frenzy, and posted online their versions to both admiration and aversion.  Wherever you stand on the relevance of the song, it is a momentous point for culture. It is the biggest song this year has offered, prominent among internet trends for 2017, and announced Patapaa in grand style. Patapaa may never release another song of this magnitude, but no one can take way his place this year.


  1. Taking Over – Shatta Wale (ft. Captan, Addi Self & Joint 77)

“We dey drop hit song each and every year”, sings dancehall star Shatta Wale in Don’t Try (2016). That statement is hardly an exaggeration. This year too, Shatta Wale has reigned supreme, publishing over 100 songs and headlining the biggest shows.

Produced by Willis Beats Taking Over features SM militants Captan, Addi Self, and Joint 77, and ranks highest among submissions from his camp, and the biggest songs of 2017. Accompanying visuals to the song, published on YouTube back in March, have been viewed over 5.5 million times.


  1. Forgetti – Shatta Wale ft. SM Millitants, Pope Skinny, & Natty Lee

Typically, the controversial act’s 2017 success story is also proven with more than a single hit. Forgetti, also featuring his militants Captan, Addi Self, and Joint 77,  as well as SM associates Pope Skinny and Natty Lee, is another song with which the singer has held his place as “dancehall landlord”.

Low Tempo, Freedom, Ayoo, Umbrella,Dem Confuse, Bumper, Hosanna also constitute in-demand offerings from his camp.

Forgetti is also produced by Willis Beats.


  1. My Name – Stonebwoy

An uplifting dancehall tune, ZYLOFON act Stonebwoy’s My Name places him in the first-tier of musicians from the country. Riding over Armz House Records’ Forever Riddim, the singer sermonises with gripping charm, the eagerness of people to share in a one’s achievements though they are usually absent at the beginning of his journey.

A BET laureate and recipient of several other awards, Stonebwoy (Livingstone Satekla) just released Epistles of Mama, his fourth studio project after Grade 1, Necessary Evil, and Livingstone.


  1. Bronya – Wutah

With Bronya, the second single after reuniting as a group, the Ghanaian duo comprising Frank Osei (Wutah Afriyie) and Daniel Morris (Wutah Kobby) swiftly reclaimed their spot in the first rank. Conveyed via nostalgic highlife, the song set the tone for Christmas hysteria several months before it finally arrived.

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

Again, with the KinDee -produced joint, Wutah distinguish themselves as perhaps, the one group capable of staging a real comeback.


  1. My Own – Samini

The DJ Frass-made reggae classic is reminiscent of typical Samini, and lends credence to his longevity as an artist. Afrobeats pretty much dictated the sounds from these parts. The Wa native however, proves that he can challenge the trend and still triumph. He did it with “Music Man”, “My Kind of Girl”, “Odo”, “Where My Baby Dey” among others. So ultimately, it is not necessarily surprising.

My Own is a beautiful narrative of a love that has fully blossomed in the face of great challenges. For his effort on this number, the MOBO winner is in a comfortable lead for “Reggae Song of the Year”, many hold.


  1. Total Cheat – Fancy Gadam

If we entertained any misgivings that the Tamale titan truly deserved the crown of VGMA Best New Artist this year, Fancy Gadam has served us with conclusive evidence. His Gadam Nation tour across principal towns in the country has  attracted droves, and Total Cheat, his brilliant partnership with Sarkodie, has held its own against even more “established” acts.

Off his Mujahid album, the record (produced by Killbeatz) has been truly embraced on radio and on the streets, and helped him truly impress his name in our minds as a “Nation Champion”.


  1. Jennifer Lomotey – Kurl Songx

1st runner-up of Vodafone Icons – Street Edition (2013) and 2016 winner of MTN Hitmaker, Kurl Songx (now signed to Kaywa’s Highly Spiritual Music) reintroduced himself with incendiary pizzazz. Jennifer Lomotey is one of three offerings from him this year, also the most memorable.

The song courted nationwide controversy for a line in featured act Sarkodie’s verse suggesting that women from the Ada tribe are promiscuous, but as is a feature of many Ghanaian scandals, that too has evaporated into thin air.

A highly spiritual WAIST BEAD & a jam for days – ‘Jennifer Lomotey’ – A REVIEW

The song is a masterly highlife jam, and is designed to abide –thanks to production genius displayed by Kaywa. A determined vocal technician, Songx belongs to the Class of 2017, and Jennifer Lomotey, together with his recent Feeling, should serve as sufficient fuel for him come 2018.


  1. Boys Boys – Nacee ft. Guru

Boys Boys is a product of sheer musical command and artistic versatility. Since his entry into the industry  man-years ago, Nacee has perpetually refused to be boxed, participating in music of various bends, but remaining with his core message of inspiration.

REVIEW: ‘Boys Boys’ – Nacee Feat. GURU

The chorus of the song is a double-edged sword –it’s technically suitable for the church premises, and at the same time, meets the requirements of anthems which permeate the lungus and streets of our inner cities.  It ensured him a place among top songs of 2017.


  1. Angela – 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.

Produced by Killbeatz, Angela is a bona fide 2017 hit. It is a staple at weddings, parties and across various media.  It has earned him a spot on some of the biggest stages (most recently, Starr FM’s S Concert which recorded attendance in excess of 40, 000).  The accompanying video to the song has been seen nearly 2 million times on YouTube alone.


      11. Odo -KiDi

Singer KiDi is further evidence of Lynx Entertainment’s enormous contribution to Ghana music this year.  It is not alien of the label as it has churned out hits via Asem, OJ Blaq, Ziggy, Eazzy, Irene Logan, label boss Richie Mensah, and MzVee. But this year’s success is truly of a whole new scale.


    12. Leg Over – Mr Eazi

Innovator of the Banku Music sub-genre of Afrobeats, Mr. Eazi has remained stealth in his dealings. We never see him coming, until he is right in our faces. Leg Over, off his Accra to Lagos mixtape, is one of Africa’s biggest songs.

Produced by Nigerian producer E -Kelly, it is a glowing addition to a playlist of songs via which Oluwatosin Oluwole Ajibade ( as he is privately know) has proven himself master of soft sentiments. On YouTube, the video to the tune has recorded over 26 million views.


     13. Bo Noo Ni – Joe Mettle ft. Luigi Maclean

Joe Mettle’s Bo Noo Ni (No one Else), off his 2017 live album God of Miracles made strong case for him as reigning VGMA Artist of the Year, and the Gospel fraternity in general.

Released on September 12, the compelling worship number features talented emerging singer and protégé Luigi Maclean.


    14. Ladder – Lil Win ft. Odehyie Ba

Kwadwo Nkansah Lil Win is a household name as a comic actor, but is also fast-cementing himself as a respected musician. With a growing number of certified hits under his belt (and for his June 2017 song Ladder), Lil Win’s name cannot be ignored in a list thus.

Inspired by Agnes Iro’s “Follow The Ladder”, Lil Win’s Ladder, professes a message parallel to Agnes’, cautioning against carnal behaviour, and charging all to remain focused on the Lord.


      15.  Poison – Ebony ft. Gatdoe

What a year 2017 has proven for the “90s bad girl ” Ebony (Priscilla Opoku-Kwarteng). Like Shatta Wale, the RuffTown act has been pivotal in GH music this year. And though her approach has usually been met with reproach, there’s no debate that she has remained a hit machine.

Poison set things off for the sultry singer (who is widely-tipped to unseat Joe Mettle as VGMA Artist of the Year in 2018). Produced by B2, the song –of highlife build, spread quickly due to her clever use of the Twi language, and her overall vocal grace.


    16.  Sponsor – Ebony

Poison was followed-up by Sponsor –an impish narrative of a young girl navigating modern–day love. What is the place of money in the equation? What is the place of love? What is the place of sex?


     17. Date Your Fada – Ebony

Programmed by Danny Beatz, Date Your Fada is undisguised warning at the boy who dares cause her heartbreak. “If you break my heart I go date your father. You gonna be my son; you go call me your mother.”), she threatens, very much aware of her ammunition.

The song may be the most couragious any Ghanaian act has been in years, and the flair with which she has managed to heap up traction in her favour specifically with this message will confound connoisseurs for years to come.


18.  Hustle – Ebony ft. Brella

Released a month ago, Ebony’s Hustle themed on the daily struggle for survival, but again,  due to her  craftiness with the wording which constitutes the chorus, it suggests something rather lewd.

A zestful jam also produced by Danny Beats, it features label mate Brella, and sits comfortably among greatest hits of 2017.

Her year was crowned with the release of her debut CD BONYFIED, outdoored to thousands at the West Hills Mall days ago, and the release of Maame Hwɛ, an iconic revival of the domestic violence debate, which has swiftly shot up all valid trends online. What a run!


    19. Obi Agyi Obi Girl – Captain Planet ft. Kofi Kinaata

4×4 member Captain Planet (Sylvanus Dodji Jeoffrey) finally secures a nationwide hit as a solo act after several tries. Enlisting Fante rapper Kofi Kinaata on the witty Mix Masta Garzy joint, Captain Planet explores the woes of losing one’s boyfriend/ girlfriend to another.

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