Kofi Mole, J. Derobie, Stonebwoy, Medikal: Some of Ghanaian pop’s hitmakers.
In Ghana, the popular music scene of 2019 is still partly occupied by songs released last year.
As you might expect, several of these songs have some of the biggest names in Ghanaian music behind them. Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale turn up, as does the fast-rising Medikal.
The scene is heavily dominated by men and while it is hoped that that changes, here is a list of songs you are likely to hear if Ghana is a radio station you are tuned to.
10 Daavi – Kawuola Biov ft. Patapaa
Guesting on Kawuola Biov’s ‘Daavi’, Patapaa (famed for the ‘One corner ‘ craze) inspires another vocal obsession simply by spewing, well, gibberish.
In the #SkopatumanaChallenge, participants aspire to replicate the rapper’s verses on this song. What lyrics constitute Patapaa’s verses? “Skopatumana” for sure—followed by similarly unintelligible sounds you won’t hear anywhere else on this planet.
The success of Daavi, like many other “stupid songs“, corroborates the fact that there is a place—and market—for songs that don’t make sense.
9 Pilolo – Guilty Beatz, Mr. Eazi & Kwesi Arthur
The new banku music anthem feels like a continuation of Guilty Beatz’s wildly popular dance song, Akwaaba. It consists of the same primary ingredients: a Guilty Beatz production, a Mr Eazi hook founded on a popular Ghanaian term (in this case, a childhood game of hide-and-seek) and an overall gyration intent. That’s all that is needed and you have the potential for virality.
Kwesi Arthur (for Patapaa and Papi Kojo) is the only new ingredient, but in viral dance culture, who cares about originality when the rhythm aims for the feet?
8 Ayekoo – Medikal ft. King Promise
This toothsome King Promise-assisted love song is how Medikal, stylised MEDiKAL, confirmed his relationship with actress Fella Makafui, following his very public breakup with Deborah Vanessa. ‘Ayekoo’ translates as “well-done” and caters specifically to the happy aspects of love.
Not unexpectedly, the song (produced by The Gentleman), leans toward highlife and is riddled with fantastic promises of chivalry and sacrifice. “For your loving I go die” is how King Promise, on hook duty, caps the chorus.
7 African Girl – Kwesi Arthur ft. Shatta Wale
Heralding Kwesi Arthur’s anticipated Live From Nkrumah Krom II LP, ‘African Girl’ melds a multiplicity of influences: melodious hip hop, evocative R& B, dancehall, and bits of Afropop—which constitute Arthur’s identity anyway.
‘African Girl’ celebrates the contours and desirability of women from the land—complete with Nicki Minaj comparisons and wedding promises conveying lustful passions rather than anything long-term.
6 Proud Fvck Boys – Tulenkey ft. Eddie Khae
‘Proud Fvck Boy’ is rapper Tulenkey’s self-deprecating song penned in solidarity with Ghana’s “good-for-nothing” youth who should feel comforted (if not celebrated) by an anthem.
Surprise hit or not, the Fimfim-made joint (spiked with highlife guitar) is a bona fide hit both for the comedic lyrics it supplies and the raw relatable honesty it allows. Proud ‘Fvck Boys’ is one of several highlights of Tulenkey’s1/1 mixtape.
5 Jama – DJ Mic Smith ft. Patoranking & Shaker
Ghana-Naija collaborations involving Patoranking rarely go wrong. DJ Mic Smith’s ‘Jama’, which also features rapper Shaker, is one more example. A homage to the folk music common to the people on Accra’s coastline, ‘Jama’ is fun and funny.
4 Don’t Be Late – Kofi Mole
‘Don’t Be Late’ is off-brand for Kofi Mole—the rebellious young rapper who typically projects a curiously charismatic black-sheep hip hop persona. The song arrives in the classic sentimental weakness of R&B.
Mole is widely considered the “next–rated act”; he even received a 3Music plaque for it months ago. ‘Don’t Be Late’ is published under No Gentlemen Allowed, his independent imprint.
3 Omo Ada – Medikal
For several months, AMG rapper Medikal has been a fixture in Ghanaian tabloids, as much for his relationship scandals as for his consistent supply of viral songs and jargon.
In fact, due to his work ethic all through last year, Medikal is perhaps the strongest contender for the ‘Omo Ada, its video starring his actor girlfriend, Fella Makafui, is party ignition and the theme song for Accra’s streets at night. Like ‘Leg Work’ by Zlatan Ibile, his Nigerian counterpart, ‘Omo Ada’ is primarily background music for some leg work.
2 Kpoo Keke – Stonebwoy ft. Medikal, Kwesi Arthur, Kelvyn Boy & Darkovibes
Stonebwoy is not unfamiliar with the hitmaking process. In over a decade or so, the Ashaiman native has demonstrated his competence, mainly with dancehall, but also across Afropop, reggae and even hip hop. ‘Kpoo Keke’, an up-tempo party-tailored jam, adds to his ever-growing list of hits, ensuring that he maintains an uninterrupted presence within elite playlists.
‘Kpoo Keke’, produced by Mixmasta Garzy, sees him harvest contributions from a thrilling young crop of fellow practitioners: Medikal, Kwesi Arthur, Kelvyn Boy and Darkovibe.
1 Poverty – J Derobie
A shiny aspirational debut, ‘Poverty’ (produced by UglyBeatz) instantly shot J Derobie to international notice. For J Derobie, 24, the joint arrives as a bold first step in his quest to etch his name in reggae/dancehall circles, seeing as he has already earned cosigns from top names like Kranium and Shatta Wale.
Born Derrick Obuobi Jr, the singer is a beneficiary of Mr Eazi’s EMPawa Africa project—an initiative which looks to drive the careers of 100 emerging acts across the continent. On a recently released remix of the song, Derobie is joined by Jamaican star Popcaan.