Hiplife has come full circle.
The above was the unanimous position by the throngs of music fans who besieged the Accra International Conference Centre last Saturday, for the climax of a year-long celebration of Pae Mu Ka, Obrafour’s seminal 1999 debut.
Virtually every great practitioner of contemporary street music showed up in an unprecedented gesture of solidarity with one of the most impactful voices across the Ghanaian music spectrum: Samini, EL, DJ Black, Bisa K Dei, Cy Lover, Edem, Kwaw Kese, Article Wan, XLNC, Kofi B, Joyce Blessing, Sarkodie, Dogo, Shatta Wale, Reggie Rockstone, Stonebwoy, Akan and a host of others.
Other prominent guests at the function were Yvonne Nelson, EIB boss, Bola Ray, popular politicians Sammy Awuku, Sam George and Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, as well as a delegation from the Kwahu Traditional Council.
Programmed by Da’ Hammer, the record swiftly went on to define and shape the trade of hiplife as we have come to know it, and is deemed by many as easily the greatest moment in the genre that Reggie Rockstone named.
Hosted by radio deejay, KOD of Accra-based Starr FM, the night supplied a wistful journey to hiplife’s golden age, which was effectively curated by Obrafour and his longtime producer partner, Hammer, for submissions as Asem Sebe, TOFA, The Execution Diaries, Sounds of Our Time and suchlike.
Though Pae Mu Ka was a personal journey of self-discovery for a young Obrafour (born Michael Eliot Kwabena Okyere Darko), it has come to be embraced by everybody even remotely associated with the hiplife movement. Thus, unsurprisingly, the night also saw a deluge of glowing tributes from various artists about how Pae Mu Ka has influenced their current trajectories as musicians.
On his part, Obrafour, on multiple occasions, broke from his performance to acknowledge the vision of people who served as pillars for him during his comeuppance, notably Dan masoul Adjei, who served as executive producer on Pae Mu Ka. The rap legend also led a minute’s silence in memory of Popstars who have recently passed on, unbuttoning his suit to expose a t-shirt bearing the images of a number of diseased showbiz icons.
A night of nostalgic highlights, the show closed with a performance from Akan, who considers Obrafour as technical model, but not before an impromptu all-star jam session featuring Sarkodie, Edem, Kwaw Kesse, and Obrafuor himself via hiplife classics they have worked on either jointly or severally.
Proceeds from the Pae Mu Ka @ 20 celebrations will go into Obrafour’s Obrafoforo Foundation, which seeks to improve the nation’s lot in the area of rural education.
Below are key images from the event courtesy photographer Paul Addo: