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MADINA-ATOMIC EXPLOSION: A Loud Bang, A Run For Survival, A People’s Cry



city’s peace is meddled with while she is wide awake. The intrusion is abrupt and rude. It is unforgiving.

It is Saturday evening and there is heavy activity in and around the Atomic Roundabout located on the Legon-Madina-Adenta stretch in Ghana’s capital, Accra.

A bang occurs. It is potently brash and decisively destructive. At once. An explosion had occurred. The Mansco Gas Filling Station, located some few metres away from the Roundabout, had caught fire.

Soon, the explosion would schlep its way through – rather angrily; devastating anything in sight – a nearby TOTAL Filling Station, another Filling Station Benab, eggs, oranges, jewelry, furniture, cars, billboards, biscuits, fizzy drinks, humans.

It is not a pretty sight. In minutes, the huge eruption that had occurred was as dramatic as the scenes that followed: a residential property’s wall collapses in whole while a man’s entire living room is razed down completely. Everything was gone.

An impact was felt. Ten kilometres south of the scene, a radio station’s Manager is awoken in his sleep by what he says sounded like a bomb. Five miles away from the epicenter, in another direction, a young banker, who sees the skies turn a combination of colours, hurriedly shepherds his family of four out of their residence, heading out to nowhere – for as long as they were safe.

Social media and peer-to-peer platforms came through with enough detail to get a nation’s attention. Local news outlets characteristically switched to operations mode, dispatching teams. The worse had happened. A city’s life had been jolted, a township had been brought to its knees by an explosion which had no mercy, not even for non-living things not interfering with its brutish self.

The explosion announced its intimidating evolution in not so pleasant ways.

“I have just heard a loud bang; I don’t know where it is coming from,” said a Facebook post by a woman who gave her location as Tema Motorway, an appreciable detachment from the precincts of the blast.

Messages of distress poured in. They were ample to paint a perfect picture of pandemonium.

Around the facility, sprints for life were made; humans run over each other, cars and motorcycles (in attempts to escape) hit pedestrians. A different kind of apocalypse was taking place before the very eyes of a city having its standard evening quiet time and preparing to call it a day.

The fire raged on, causing considerable fear and panic. In major schools nearby – the University of Ghana and the University of Professional Studies, as well as the Presbyterian Boys Senior High School – students ran for their lives, clutching on to anything, anywhere, to stay safe. Some were evacuated to nearby facilities. Around the scene of the blast, a lot had been lost in seconds, and wares were deserted in minutes thanks to the ferocious inciter of terrible scale.

For a decent amount of time, little was done to hold back the fire which reared its ugly head so high, so huge that it seared the silence of the night – near and far – just to make a claim about how mighty it was. In its full show of strength, it managed to shape a city’s agenda for the ensuing hours of the night.

New and traditional media went into an overspill. All night. There was enough to feast on – tremble, varied eyewitness’ accounts, tales of misses by a whisker, what is, what should have been, and angst.

Firemen, drawn from within the capital and close to the scene, would later show up to be counted as men of valor and dedication willing to douse a wreck ball that stood to threaten their occupational and structural intelligence, and capacity. For hours into the night, they did what they were called to do, attempting to minimize the magnitude of the rubble.

Sunday, October 9. A fireman at work. PHOTO/OBED BOAFO

Later, the rains would come through with adequate downpour to rip through the shackles. But it did little, too, considering the extent of the blast, and giving the firemen some more work into the next morning.

On Sunday October 8, 2017, an understandable atmosphere of grief and sorrow was the depiction at the scene. The pungent smell from the previous night’s damage was too strong.

Hundreds had come to witness the extent of devastation. For the uninitiated and uniformed, it was good time to catch up. On the edges of the overpass that sits atop the Atomic Roundabout, hundreds stood to feed on the near-apocalypse scenes beneath them. It was an assembly of media, security and political heads, with another gathering of passers-by cordoned off with police barricade tapes.

Vicentia Kporku, a.k.a. Daavi Special, a food vendor who operates some 50 metres from the scene, recounted her experience during the burst. She cuts different looks of okay and trepidation; they are quite mixed for the fairly aged Kporku, who speaks of how she escaped the blast narrowly together with her five workers at the small eatery she maintains along the shoulders of the stretch.

“It could have been worse,” she says, pointing to a tiny scratch she had on her legs, acquired in an attempt to escape the fury of the fire.

“I am yet to hear from my workers. Some went as far as Adenta and others, too, are yet to call,” she says in the local Ghanaian Twi language, spoken by a majority of the people in the national capital.

Kporku’s narration is shared in part by dozens who also fled the scene while the blast continued. Like many others, Gideon Dzreke, a pump attendant at the Benab Filling Station, said all he saw was a bang, followed by shouts of misery and a call to action for survival.

“I had to flee; my colleagues were also nowhere to be found. We were all running for our dear lives. The force behind the fire was so loud. It was like a bomb,” says Dzreke.

“It is by divine grace that I am alive,” continued Kporku, adding to a number of testimonies around divinity on and off site, one being that a larger number of casualties would have been recorded had it happened the night before when some old students of the Presbyterian Boys Senior High School grouped for their annual Bonfire event.

An officer from the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service on duty. PHOTO/OBED BOAFO

At the scene on Sunday morning, protocol officers cued in an important running order. There is an expected visitor –  the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Mahamudu Bawumia, who had to cut short a tour of the Northern Region, to ascertain the extent of damage. A deputy Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah announces to a group of media people that Bawumia should be there in minutes.

Bawumia zoomed in. A convoy of saloon cars slided past a make-shift police entry point. He dismounted and headed straight to the scene, where he was briefed by the Deputy Director General of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), Abu Ramadan, whose men had been at the scene all night, all morning.

The Vice President was joined by other Politicians including Attorney-General Gloria Akufo, who later spoke of her experience with the blast.

Vice President Bawumia arrives at the scene. PHOTO/OBED BOAFO

Clad in a traditional all-black Ghanaian cloth of sorrow, she placed her two hands on her head while Bawumia addressed the media. She was in the quintessential traditional posture of deep mourning and grief.

“I traveled for a funeral and came late only to meet the explosion. I thank God for my life and for that of my old lady who was around at that time in my house. The colour of my house has changed to black; some of my sliding doors and ceiling have also broken,” Akuffo later told journalists.

As the Vice President prepared to leave, a man behind the Police Barricade tape screamed “let’s do the right thing.” He would later explain.

“We have always been experiencing these kinds of disasters but little action has been taken to address the root causes and prevent their reoccurrence. The owner of the Gas Filling Station here has, for years, been complaining about the close proximity of some of the shops to his facility but nobody listens; they said he was full of himself. Today, here we are faced with this.”

Another man wearing a protest cum advocacy-like T-Shirt would also add his voice to the call for sanity.

“This is unacceptable. We can’t always behave like this. I am sad but this could have been avoided.”

Devastation. Scene of the blast. PHOTO/OBED BOAFO

The calls were in perfect tune to that of the Vice President who was emphatic in his address to the media while he visited.

“We are going to move to deal with it, and quickly.”

Bawumia’s boss and President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, later spoke to the issue at hand, calling for “a stop”, a plea embedded in what many say are lapses in the administration of laws that govern the operation of Filling Stations – gas, petrol et al.

“We cannot continue with them,” referring to the obvious disregard for national and community bye-laws by the operators of the stations.“It is one too many. We cannot afford anymore. Everybody involved in the industry to recognize that we all have to make adjustments to be able to guarantee the safety and security of our people, so these things do not happen again. I need your support, and the co-operation of the people of Ghana to make sure that the policies that we will be bringing out succeed, so that such incidents become a thing of the past and not of our future.”A repetitive call some have punched holes into, Conversations about getting things right are visited every now and then when a major blast occurs such as the worst in Ghana’s history – the June 3, 2015 Nkrumah Circle Goil Filling Station accident that claimed over 100 lives, and which led to the establishment of a five-member committee chaired by a retired Justice of the Court of Appeal, Isaac Justice Douse.

The call for stringent measures is high on the agenda for the Ghana Gas Manufacturing Company, whose CEO, Frances Ewurabena Essiam blames past and present regimes for neglecting her outfit. Essiam is hoping action will be expedited on the implementation of the LPG Cylinder Exchange/Recirculation programme (Gas Exchange Programme), mooted by the National Petroleum Authority.

“This must stop,” says ‘Dr Think Twice’. PHOTO/OBED BOAFO

Both organizations and other stakeholders, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ghana Standards Authority, hope the programme, which would see cylinder bottling plants making onward delivery to the stations, will curb the high incident of explosions.

Chief Executive Officer of the NPA, Hassan Tampuli, has argued that the programme is ideal if Ghana is to make any headway in limiting these explosions.

A model experimented in other countries such as Kenya, Tanzania and Brazil, it places the responsibility of filling the cylinders in the hands of the bottling companies, who in turn dispatch them to the retail outlets in exchange for empty ones, meaning domestic or individual users only get to use cylinders that change hands from one person to the other, from time to time.

Two cars completely ruined at the scene of the blast. PHOTO/OBED BOAFO








Civil society is in support of the Gas Exchange Programme.

Part of an August, 2017 publication by Think Tank, IMANI, read:

“Even though Ghana has experienced a number of gas explosions in the past, the thing that draws attention and public outcry concerning the recent explosions is the level of fatality. Gas refill stations have increasingly been brought closer to consumers in order to meet needs and this practice invariably has multiplied the fatality rate of explosions. Any move to reduce fatality will require an effective means that will remove gas refill sites from residential communities without undermining access to LPG.

“The common sense deduction then is that the cylinder exchange model has full potential to reduce the fatality of gas explosions because it eliminates the need for consumers to be exposed to direct dispensing of LPG. However, given Ghana’s unique situation as the only country in the world that still relies solely on gas refill stations located in residential communities, it is the only country that has recorded fatal deaths due to LPG explosions and fires at gas refill stations within residential communities. The direct effect of the cylinder exchange model on reducing gas explosions may only be correctly analyzed perhaps after a couple of years of implementing the policy in Ghana.

“Further, gas explosion may be more a function of adherence to safety measures than of the location of gas stations. A study assessing the impact of fuel filling stations on the environment in Ghana found that most gas filling stations under study violated critical safety requirements exposing the community to several levels of risk.”

IMANI argues that even though there may be structural implementation issues to the programme, it would become useful when it fully hits home. They offered some ways the country could work around the programme if it ever gets to take off. Over nine points, they noted that:

*It will be expedient to fast track the recapitalization of the Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing company to facilitate production of smaller size cylinders (3kg and 6kg) or engage the private sector to provide them. This will facilitate rural access to LPG given the relatively cheaper cost of the smaller size cylinders.

*Position the country to eliminate malpractices (such as unauthorized cylinder filling, unlicensed distribution, under or over filling and cylinder theft by standing ready to enforce regulations through innovative means). For example; the Indian Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources in 2012 created an online portal that provided real time information on the supply chain distribution system including distributor ratings. This reduced diversion of LPG commercial sales and facilitated overall transparency in the distribution business.

*There is the need to correctly identify and separate market segments, that is, domestic, commercial and industrial in order to adequately serve each consumer segment.

*The regulator must stand ready to enforce fool proof safety measures that will curb gas explosion at bottling/filling sites. There is also the need to undertake rigorous public education and sensitization on LPG and handling practices especially in view of the potential for increased access to rural areas

*The Cylinder Exchange implementation plan should have a long term view and should be scalable for example through the establishment of more bottling plants which are appropriately distributed geographically per year so that future demand growth is well catered for.

*Gas Tanker businesses as well as gas refill stations should be worked with and supported to redefine their business models in order to take advantage of the potential business opportunities that are expected to emanate from the implementation of the Cylinder Exchange Policy. This will also help to prevent a situation where existing gas refill stations rush to dispel/sell off stored gas to avoid perceived losses caused by an outright ban and by so doing create an artificial shortage of LPG. Tanker operators may merge and form partnerships with bottling companies so that their services may be employed in transporting LPG from production points to bottling plants.

*Explore and acquire highly efficient distribution management software that would facilitate the running of the cylinder exchange model in order to prevent situations where consumers are not able to access services. For instance; Supergasbras, one of the largest LPG retailers in Brazil which supplies 1.5 million tonnes of LPG per year to over 10 million households via the cylinder exchange model employs the SAP Secondary Distribution Management software which provides efficient administration and automation of the entire process chain from order entry to transport planning and invoicing.

Eyewitnesses to the Saturday October 7 disaster have attempted an official account of what might have caused the outbreak, the legend of all being a mysterious Khebab seller – said to be the source.

A food vendor’s facility is not spared. PHOTO/OBED BOAFO

The story goes. A truck carrying Liquified Petroleum Gas pulls up at the Station to offload its stock. In discharging, a slip occurs through one of its points, the gas evaporates and in full in a manner that caused persons around to run for cover. The leaked substance catches fire from what is believed to be a naked flame from the Khebab seller’s set nearby. The destruction occurs. End of story.

The tale’s credibility and sequencing has been questioned by some citizens while officialdom and the security establishment have gently asked for ‘proper investigations’ to be conducted before any conclusions are arrived at.

President Akufo-Addo, who made his way to the scene on the afternoon of Monday, October 9 (in the company of more politicians, including the Chief of Staff Frema Osei Opare) has maintained the need for a concerted national effort at addressing the rampant blasts; once again hinting of a policy to act as backbone for the sector. He later dashed to some hospitals in the capital hosting victims of the blast, an activity his Number 2, Bawumia, had similarly performed a day earlier.

Later in the afternoon, Akufo-Addo welcomed, to the Presidency, the family of Mohammed Ashiley Yakubu, a reporter of local television station NET 2 and a member of the Presidential Press Corps, who lost his life while he was on duty at the scene on Saturday. Akufo-Addo promised to personally foot the bill of his funeral and burial rites.

Ashiley’s mum in tears when she was hosted by the President. PHOTO/Flagstaff House








While losses are still being counted, discussions continue to hold in high and low places on just one thing – a lot of damage has been done already but sanity can at least prevail within the downstream sector, to offer, as President Akufo-Addo believes, security to the Ghanaian people.

Saturday’s blast was the eighth in four years according to the Ghana Standards Authority. Official number of deaths recorded as of Monday October 9, 2017, stood at 7 while over a hundred are reportedly injured from wounds of varying degree, mostly burns.

Official investigations are ongoing.

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Throughout the YEARS: A Sarkcessful rap King still Living a Dream



Sarkodie belongs to an elite group from the continent who have proven doyens across multiple genres. Thus, while he is considered a hip-hop god, he is perceived in a similar light within Afrobeats circles. Seamlessly, he moves from rap, to pop, and back; dance-ready music with Runtown, followed by a hard-hitting partnership with Jayso and Big Narstie.

The SarkCess man’s adaptability to rhythm, coupled with the fact that he ranks among the most decorated performers from these parts, have secured him constant presence in debates pertaining to true greats of his generation. In a terrain dominated by Nigeria, and South Africa to an extent, the rapper (born Michael Owusu Addo), has on numerous occasions, defiantly and single-handedly, kept the Ghana flag high, and made an important case for art from the West African nation.

Over five albums and with smooth charm, Sarkodie has cemented his place as Ghana’s most influential rapper in this new millennium, but does this reputation extend to the rest of the continent?

Is Sark the greatest African rapper now working?

While there may not be a straightforward answer to this question (because of the likes of MI, Nasty C, Nyovest, Olamide, AKA, Kaligraph Jones et al), it is hardly erroneous to include Sarkodie in any “Top 5” list worthy of the name.

Choosing to rap in his native Twi (periodically augmenting it with English and/or Pidgin), Sarkodie has constantly fashioned memorable auditory experiences employing a brisk, engaging flow. When he first began, it was feared, despite numerous precedents, and the overall perception of music as a “universal language”, that Twi would prove a disadvantage for him. But staunch support from the diaspora, and the world’s inquisitive palette toward Afrobeats (via Ghanaian sub-genre Azonto, which Sarkodie is pioneer of), ensured that he became a bona fide superstar.  Really, no other rapper has affected modern African rhythm quite like Sarkodie has –Wizkid, Tekno, Mr Eazi, and Davido’s contributions have arrived through singing; Juls, Masterkraft, and Legendury Beatz achieved it playing beats. This is a key component that sets the “U Go Kill Me” man apart from his contemporaries.

KINGS! Sarkodie poses with MI ABAGA backstage a recent award ceremony. Credit: Instagram/ SARKODIE

In his polemic 2017 offering, “You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Lives”, MI courted flak for suggesting that African hip-hop was now –being dictated by South Africa. Music debates around here tend to be very political, and assertions like MI’s quickly fester rivalry like you would find among siblings, and so, whether it is deeply-founded in fact or not, it is not something everybody would readily accept.

Not long after filling up the FNB stadium (Soweto) in a historic hip-hop concert, South African colleague and fellow contender for the accolade of “greatest African rapper today”, divulged observations that corroborate the MI’s argument on “You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Lives”. Within those statements which ultimately saw him discuss the state of hip-hop on the continent, he also acknowledged Sarkodie’s excellence.

“South African Hip-hop is in the forefront of African Hip-hop in general. It might not be as popular as it is in South Africa in Nigeria. But I know for a fact that rappers from Nigeria are kinda unknown in SA, he told in an interview. “If we talk about crossing over, I know that a lot of people in Nigeria know about my music. I know that in Kenya and Ghana, it’s the same thing.

“I’m not just talking about me; I’m talking about a movement. Sarkodie is big in Ghana, but are there other rappers who are as big as Sarkodie from Ghana? The South African hip-hop movement is big across, also in London, New York…we are out there performing in different countries”.

Sarkodie and Cassper Nyovest. Image: Instagram/ SARKODIE

Now, when an act who has drawn crowds of nearly 70, 000 in a hip-hop show –not Afropop –makes such a pronouncement, it must be taken seriously. And his point is valid to a point. As a collective, South African acts generally do hold the fort today, followed by Nigeria.

Cassper’s also right when he suggests that Sarkodie lead’s Ghanaian hip-hop by a decent stretch. With over 60 local and international awards in his cabinet, the Tema native also stands as among Africa’s most decorated hip-hop performer. Indeed, in an October 2017 tweet reacting to Sarkodie’s list of laurels (consisting honours from the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards, BET Awards, MOBO Awards, EMYs, MAMAs, AFRIMMAs among others), Cassper deems Sarkodie’s feats “inspiring”. Similar messages have come from English Grime act, Stormzy, for instance. “Legend in this ting”, he acknowledges. Despite clear dominance by South Africa and Nigeria as premium hip-hop nations, Sarkodie’s efforts have raised Ghana as an impressive third force.

For the school that holds that Sark is the greatest African to do it yet, it is rooted in something more than mere fanatic exuberance. In Ghana, the distance he gives other hip-hop acts is so glaring, it makes little sense to contest it. Most rap acts in this town pale against his brand in terms of catalogue, consistency, and overall craft. Of course, all this has culminated in the fact that he has remained default nominee for the coveted Artist of the Year category at the Ghana Music Awards for the greater part of a decade.

An impartial comparison of Sarkodie and say, Olamide, would prove that the former has made more pronounced inroads with an indigenous language. “Rendezvous’, MI Abaga’s latest project, could be the most influential hip-hop work published by a Nigerian this year, without doubt. But really, that’s it. Much of the glory MI Abaga enjoys currently is as a result of previous work. And so truthfully, Sarkodie occupies today, the level that MI used to be at. Of course, that is not to take anything away from Mr. Abaga’s place as African legend. Cassper’s milestones are as a result of the efficient infrastructure that South Africa boasts of, still, he’s not as popular, frankly.  There’s no question about Khaligraph’s mettle as lyricist, only, he’s too obscure.

This very moment, Sarkodie does stand tall among his peers on the continent. It may not be by such a stretch as is being witnessed in relation to his Ghanaian colleagues, but he is the highest. Consistency and an unflinching dedication to game plan that actually works, have proven this. Posterity will too.







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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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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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Quarps & EUNICE – A #EuNiiQ love story!



February 7, 2017 –One Airport Square Building (8th Floor)

For a conversation between men to be truly thorough, it must involve prattle about girls. Specifically, in this regard, brother Quarps and I had a gratifying time that evening in my office.

He had heard that I had gone and gotten myself a lover, and I harboured a single question about Eunice, his girlfriend. As we waited for her to join us from work, those issues occupied us.

Now, Quarps Hansen is an astute man, and it is in his nature to offload profundity in passing. Unsurprisingly, the discussion became dense almost immediately. How do you know if someone is specifically “the one”? How soon can you tell if they are? At what point is it permissible to give up on someone?

Soft-spoken and always beaming, the beloved Y FM disc jockey (born Nii Quarcoopome Hansen- Sackey, but also trading by the showbiz alias ‘DJ Portable”) navigated these delicate matters with the depth of one who has been married for 3 decades. On this 20-something’s shoulders rests an old man’s head.

I have always admired Quarps and Eunice for their natural kindness and the overall stability they exude. But no relationship is ever entirely rosy. At some point, that union, and the character of its components will be tested greatly. For instance: how would you take it if your partner were involved in a harrowing accident that leaves her with multiple broken bones at least, and a good chance of her being wheelchair bound for the rest of her life?

The above is hardly a hypothetical situation for Mr. Hansen, for that was his reality several months before our February meeting.

“What if she hadn’t gotten up from that wheelchair?”, the question finally trickled from my lips cautiously –the mere thought of watching a loved one go through such a time causing me to shudder greatly.

“Oh like I go find am romantic pushing am around and tins”, he responded coolly in Pidgin, and then moved on to some other topic as though what he had just said wasn’t a deeply instructive statement which required a moment to properly process.

That answer stopped me dead in my tracks, and for the rest of the evening, I could think of little else. Where does one muster such spirit, for no one really teaches that? I stared at this man, of similar build as me, as though this was our first ever meeting…as though I had not known him for over a decade. Quarps has frequently inspired me for as long as we have known each other, and perpetually insisted that I never give up on my dreams…doing so with so much fervour, you would think they were his own dreams.

But those words hit me hard, and will rest in my heart forever.

Shortly after, Eunice called. She had arrived and was waiting downstairs. We went there to receive her. It was the first time I had seen her since the accident. Attired in a white shirt and a black skirt, she looked nothing like someone who, just a few months earlier, was fighting for her very life. As she smiled, my own cheeks widened too, as did Quarps’.

I observed the lovers hug a casual hug, but because Quarps’ words still played in my mind, it all looked especially meaningful.

More conversation ensued among us. Ample laughter too, and a stroll to the Marina Mall to grab a bite would crown a memorable evening. Over ice cream and a bucket of chicken, Eunice divulged her peculiar perspective of Quarps as soul mate, emphasizing thoughtfulness, principles, and the essence of being spiritually adequate. She also joked about how, in the end, God does send you a man after your own heart and quirky desires (in her case, an Adisadel College alumnus, and someone who had worked at the Kakum National Park). Like Quarps, she submitted a powerful phrase which would cause me to nod the slow nod which accompanies learning something deeply insightful. Consisting just three words, that phrase completed a moving anecdote she recorded while she was still on admission. Everybody who had come to see her had worn a specific look of panic and grief in their eyes due to what they saw…well, except Quarps, who simply stood before him unruffled.  “But Quarps though…”. No other words followed, but the import was clearly gotten. As she spoke these words, she turned to look at this man, whom God had made for her precisely. She was smiling, but there was an intensity about her eyes, and veins became pronounced on her forehead and temple –like one who was fighting back the urge to shed tears.

No matter what situation you find yourself in, the fairy tale is what you decide it is.

On December 30, in a blissful ceremony in Tema, they pair said “I do” to each other, in the presence of hundreds who have witnessed their inspiring love bloom. Shimmering in white, bride and groom danced and danced and danced, into the very darkness of the happy evening –the crook of their arms serving as preferred shelter for each other. It had taken over a decade for this moment to materialise, but it was finally here, and was simply magnificent to behold.


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



Ebony’s talent is pure. It rests peacefully in a young lady whose patterns of stitched bravado and decisive artistic flexibility is causing so much pain to hostile souls, who are yet to come to terms with the fact that she is what they failed to achieve in their 20s.

Maame Hwɛ, a new effort off the 2017 Bonyfied debut, is her way of bringing back discussions about her ‘uprightness’ into focus – Intimidation, abuse et al – that have been kept rootless in the loins and sorry palms of a society at war with itself over what stand to take against women.

Away from repeated, boring lines of gender-driven advocacy, Maame Hwɛ is also not the everyday Kofi ne Ama muddled social media lines of who is best at catcalling; it is a reminder and call to action that readily exposes the schism that exists thereof, and for all to join the fight against any form of abuse.

Maame Hwɛ is a theme so distant from Hustle, her muffled booty call hit song of one-month old. Here, there are urgent matters of the heart that are addressed while complications that thread along oppression and freedom are also visibly exorcised. But it is her flawless handling that sets the tone for a song that is so infectious and enthralling. In all its beauty.

Takoradi-based Willis Beatz threw his might on Maame hwɛ. There are no surprises here – he continues to prove the fine talent he has become; Ayesem’s Koti of recent radio and YouTube memory, full proof. Maame Hwɛ is a long road of multiple contraction but has the beautifully-worn Willis Beatz percussion – loitering all over the song – to aid its flow. All through, she sustains listener-inquest and gets the needed attention – same feature she’s been used to all year.

Drummy, the lull-beats for Maame Hwɛ are virgin and soulful, they track their way back to an ever willing breakneck audible controller, who sings her way through a difficult topic with ease. The vocal delivery is amped-up within, and at the extreme margins, too, so well that even the constant regretful, mournful notes of Maame Hwɛ find resting place on the edges of a composition so rough and inconvenient in subject matter but charming in total body of work.

Consistently, the winning module for Ebony is the song writing that serves a fitting guide to her compositions. It has been the most visible part of her 2017 releases, and readily shows how much of an investment (time) has gone into ensuring that she stays relevant. A stronger testament of what two worlds of song writing does to a young soul’s delivery, there are traces of Bullet, label head at Ruff Town, who is doing an impressive work co-penning/penning some of the priceless songs they have both gone to market with. Bullet (Ricky Nana Agyemang) is an old cat with an astonishing sense of how to make hit songs. His glorious days with the duo Ruff & Smooth churned a lot of anthems that went on the same path Ebony is enjoying now. His song writing credentials are broad and all over the local music scene. It is a unique talent he shares with former Ruff & Smooth other-half Akhan, who penned Nana Yaa’s ‘My Hunny’. Ebony has the complete song writing effort at Ruff Town/Midas Touch Inc. to thank but it is how she also renders the songs in-studio and in front of thousands such as at her recent solo concert in the national capital, Accra, that brings out the stunning artistic beast in her. They are new every morning.

Ebony opens Maame Hwɛ by registering her dislike for a bully and goes on a line about shame and not listening to a mother’s advice hence the subsequent viciousness she suffers. Maame Hwɛ is renewed remembrance of bad pain. The underlining logs are not just frank and bold, but also straightforward in their summation.

On Maame Hwɛ, all arguments about versatility are overwhelmed. If Kupe, Poison, Sponsor, Date Ur Fada, and Turn on the Light were pearls, this is Ebony to a whole new echelon. She came good in the Prince Dovlo-directed video for the song, too, opting for a look that is very adult and serious – staying in character.

For a song whose context is made known right from the beginning – about how abusers dwell on oppression to their gain – It digs into a plot about how cold it is not to conquer any form of abuse, domestic or not.

Maame Hwɛ is a dream song. It is yet, the musician’s most poignant statement in two years while it is also a celebration of the works of ailing Ghanaian musician Jewel Ackah. Ebony references Ackah’s decades-old classic Bɔdambɔ Bɔdambɔ in an uplifting way. Ebony is queen of modern day referencing, which is also doing the trick for KiDi, Kuami Eugene and Stonebwoy hype man and up-and-comer Kelvyn Boy (Oheneba Kissi on the latest Na You). On Maame Hwɛ, Ebony merges a well-ordered carousel of magical, old and new school Bɔdambɔ Bɔdambɔ inspiration that oozes goose bumps – the kind made in Axim, where Ackah was born.

Maame Hwɛ is a significant push for her young career and a huge vote of confidence in what she calls a trade. By the first quarter of 2018, she will dominate conversations around major award shows. Bullet says she has been a blessing to him. He is right. She has been a blessing to a growing music industry. She has been a blessing to the many young females, looking for that single opportunity to show what they can do. It is always okay to skip school to pursue that desire. Ebony has shown the way.

Maame Hwɛ ends the same way it begins. Aren’t how all stories of abuse end?

Tracklist for Bonyfied (Released under Ruff Town Records/Midas Touch Inc.)


*Dance floor


*Poison feat Gatdoe


*Date Ur Fada

*Maame Hw3

*Hustle feat Brella

*Haters Anthem

*Turn on the Light







Video screenshots supplied by MiPROMO, managers of Ebony’s YouTube Channel.

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Oh What a ‘Mighty Jesus’ … Edem serves bold Hiphop dish



“You think you walking on this path alone? You think everything you do is by yourself? Oh no! You best give all glory to God…Jesus Christ, our lord and savior. He walks with us all now. Talk to me now” blurts an animated preacher to all within the sound of his voice.

 Directed by Pascal AKA, the accompanying video for Mighty Jesus, Edem’s latest joint, is characterized by astonishing quality. It is set in a large church with beaming choristers in long robes, practiced hands guiding bows up and down violin strings, a hundred lit candles outlining a crucifix-shaped white isle on the floor, as well as other striking artistic and cultural placements depicting the victory of God over evil.

Four seconds shy of four minutes, the video, off his forthcoming fourth album The African Answer, is rendered entirely in black and white, and adds to a radiant collection of visuals with which the rapper (born Denning Edem Hotor and previously trading by the stage name “Ayigbe Edem”) continually distinguishes himself as a worthy name to be associated with poetry and melody. Since his breakout single Bougez (You Dey Craze), the Dzodze native has methodically cemented himself in hiplife/hip-hop circles – and Ghanaian music in general – as a true revolutionary. The 2009 video opens with a powerful pronouncement: “Hiplife is back…”. That statement was indisputable then as it is now, for Edem was anointed by the one outfit possessing the audacity to make a pronouncement thus: the Last Two Music Group. Headed by veteran producer Da’ Hammer (whose work on Obrafour’s Pae Mu Ka album a decade prior has yet to be matched), the imprint is responsible for the careers of majority of reputable hiplife acts the country has seen. And over the years, Edem has lived up to the billing, serving as easily the Volta’s most influential name in music.

Mighty Jesus, like The One, or Heyba, is superb in how it embodies Edem’s identity and creative outlook. Though influenced by elements from without (including Caribbean tempos and code-switching lingua) the VRMG front man has remained genuine to his ancestry – always ensuring that he leaves traces of his heritage in his craft. Be it in language, rhythm, or via visual representation, Edem has permanently exhibited a commitment to his uniqueness. 

 Church, did you know the Lord is undefeated? One million and o, one billion and o, infinity and o. Can’t nobody stop Him, so don’t you dare try. You better testify…

 With the not so mainstream medium that is the Ewe language, the Koene man has remained resolute in his goals, dispatching  the Ghanaian mission blamelessly, and now setting his sights on proving himself as “the African answer”. Hip-hop across the continent is currently at a dicey phase in history: on one hand, it remains popular despite the global annexation of Afrobeats/Afropop. Sarkodie, Olamide, AKA, Kaligraph Jones, Nasty C, M.anifest,  (fundamentally hip-hop brands), rank among highly sought-after acts from the continent. South African rapper Cassper Nyovest has, since 2015, filled up stadiums across the country – the latest being his monumental concert at the FNB Stadium in Soweto. Drawing close to 70,000 hip-hop disciples to the arena, it becomes the biggest ever witnessed in the nation, even beating numbers recorded by American superstars Rihanna and Justin Bieber during their dates in SA.

Drawing close to 70,000 hip-hop disciples to the arena, Nyovest’s show becomes the biggest ever witnessed in the nation, even beating numbers recorded by American superstars Rihanna and Justin Bieber during their dates in SA.

On the other hand, elders in the game (most prominently, Nigerian rapper Jude “MI” Abaga) have registered their displeasure at the ethic of many a contemporary Nigerian rapper. In You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Lives, MI laments that he, in the twilight of his career, must return periodically to sanitize the terrain as the younger generation is doing a poor job at upholding hip-hop’s true essence. Nigeria is an essential contributor to music on the continent. That, coupled with MI’s influence over the genre in Africa, makes his sentiments on You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Lives impossible to gloss over.

There requires someone who will restore in the likes of MI, faith that African hip-hop is safe. That is why Mighty Jesus, and indeed The African Answer, are so timely. Produced by American hip-hop doyen Coptic, the song is a blistering way to kick this new phase of his career off. Mighty Jesus sees Edem (as usual) display finesse and balance expected only of masters in navigating their environment. Founded on church organs, violins, a militant drum pattern, and passionate melody of an electric guitar toward the end, the arrangement is speckled intermittently with arresting cries of “Mighty Jesus”.

Hip-hop is defined by nerve. At the same time, it is guided by sincerity. Nerve to stake your claim as the very best, and sincerity to admit that you depend on a higher force. Hip-hop requires that you show yourself as a titan, but also to admit to your vulnerabilities. Pascal AKA conveys this compellingly in the scene in which a mother clutches desperately to her baby, afraid of fiends waiting to strike, but who are obstructed by the protective screen that shields her.

I feel the electricity right now, cause the electricity is coming from the only power source that I know…the only battery in my back – Jesus Christ.

 Since Bougez, and though he gets little credit for it, Edem has portrayed superior tact, and proven a true visionary regarding whom he assembles for his songs. Having chalked massive underground success via witty fast-paced freestyles, Sarkodie needed a joint to properly introduce him to the mainstream. Bougez is practically the song that opened the doors for the SarkCess CEO.  Another record, Oleey, is a principal reference in arguing that Gemini ranks among prized lyricists of his generation. Also featuring Sarkodie, the song portrays GH rap at its finest. The trio stun the listener not only by the dizzying pace of their rap, but by the content of their verses too. Both Oleey and Bougez rest comfortably among hip-hop classics of the 21st Century. He does something similar in Mighty Jesus, recruiting Ghanaian rap vertebrae Jayso and EL.

 Mighty Jesus is iconic for hip-hop in the country both sonically and visually. Again, like The One and Heyba, it serves both as a testament to authentic rap from these parts, and blueprint to young ones looking for a proven path.

 “See, what I’m trying to tell you is, in the end of days, in that final game, in that final super bowl of life and death, you better make sure you’re on the right team –and that team is with the lord and savior Jesus Christ. You ain’t get no do –overs…”

 The verification that Edem has come full circle is displayed in how videos for Heyba and Mighty Jesus end. In the final frame of Heyba (directed by Phamous Philms) Edem, after stomping gallantly through the ghostly milieu designed through adept camera maneuvers and miraculous graphic sleights, hoists a microphone symbolically high above his head …high above the earth. King.

 In Mighty Jesus, he joins his hands prayerfully before his bowed head. “I’m still the revelation, but I dey my Genesis.”

A new era!  

 A multiple-award-winner, Edem is author of critically received albums as Volta Regime, Mass Production, and Books and Rhymes, as well as numerous singles including Ghetto Arise, Bra Fremi Fremi, Nyedzilo,Kpordawoe, Wicked and Bad, Gogaga among others.

“The African Answer” is due for release in 2018.

Watch “Mighty Jesus” below: 

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