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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.