Ghanaian hip hop artist E.L has crowned himself as the best rapper on the continent with the release of The B.A.R. Mixtape two days ago. That’s a ballsy proclamation. But it’s also the kind of confidence African music needs at this moment. A time where music makers across the continent are trending more and more on global, and particularly western, radars.
by Sionne Neely | photos courtesy of DJ Juls
DJ JULS has been on the grind in 2013. It’s only April and the UK-based Ghanaian producer has dropped three mixtapes so far – the V-Day lovers joint, The Cupid Shot Mix [Feb. 14th], the dancehall fever anthems on Di Bubble Mix [March 11th] and the redhot follow-up to last summer’s Afrobeat fix, DJ Jul’s AfroBeat Mix Volume 2 [released this Monday, April 8th]. Over the last several years, Juls has worked with all the Ghana greats from FOKN BOIS [Wanlov the Kubolor x M3NSA] to E.L., Yaa Pono, Sarkodie, Efya, M.anifest and more.
by Katharine M. Ortiz + Sionne Neely
Nowadays, Ghanaian music is a mixed bag. That’s actually a great thing. The diversity and complexity of this music – which is not new and has always been here – is bubbling more and more on the surface. As testament, here are 6 NEW VIDEOS by fresh artists we dig. In these audiovisual experimentations [in no particular order], you’ll experience different realities reflecting what it means to be Ghanaian.
These are some of the voices of our pop culture. Hear and see them now.
FUNKY COLD MADINA is not only the name of Tone-Lōc‘s 1989 hip hop classic but a fitting reference to two of Ghana’s most ice cold emcees (*however, Lōc’s version is spelled Medina).
M.anifest and Lyrical Wanzam – who both grew up in the Accra suburb of Madina – team up and trick out this track about having fun with life, “Sheygey Reasons” (pidgin for “for foolish reasons” or “for the sake of it”). Producer Kwam1 flips highlife upside down with Vis-a-Vis + K. Frimpong’s 1977 muse “Obi Agye Me Dofo” (Someone Has Taken My Lover).
The MCs have had a succulent mango kind of year. M.anifest created new music for the Rocket Juice + The Moon album (released in March 2012) performing with Damon Albarn (of the Gorillaz), Tony Allen, Flea, Erykah Badu, M3NSA (of FOKN Bois), and Fatoumata Diawara. In June M.anifest performed live on Big Brother Africa 7: Stargame! for millions of television viewers continent-wide and just last month he jam-packed a show at Africa Express in London.
Word on the street is that Wanzam is beginning work on his first EP project. His AfroPolyTank mixtape received 10,000 downloads in the first week of its release in February 2012 causing cats to sit up right and take notice. The lyricist is signed to the management label Fullish Art and record label, Cryme Records.
BUMP this joint in your speakers. For sheygey reasons.