The ripples that Dasebre Dwamena’s breakthrough debut caused was to be expected. It shot him into the limelight, resulting in him becoming one of the finest highlife artistes of all time. It also injected a renewed verve into highlife music, which at that point, was waning in popularity- hiplife was entering into a golden era.
“Kokooko”, released in 1999 as a first single (named after his debut album ‘Kokooko), was a blend between highlife and RnB. “Kokooko” sampled American singer Brandy’s hit ‘You Don’t Love Me’. Produced by Zapp Mallet and Okraku Mantey, the song thrusted both Dasebre ‘Ahoufee’ Dwamena and Lord Kenya, who was featured into the front of the music pack. If there was a quality that was evident in Dasebre even at the early stages, it was his songwriting skills- proverb riddled, didactive stories-and his laid back attributes. These qualities were pervasive in his illustrous career.
The accompanying video is where all the sauce laid. The video carried a date-in-the-park theme (surprising video isn’t available on YouTube). It was simplistic in form yet creative: an out of the box creative thinking. An open green park, a bed, a mirror with Dasebre Dwamena crooning soulfully to his lover. Lord Kenya, riding a bike in cirlces dropped a memorable verse to add sheeen to the track. His verse grew not only his stature; rap-wise but is still an iconic delivery.
Dasebre Dwamena’s career didn’t always see an upward swing. It was blighted by his incaceration in the UK following a cocaine bust- which he blamed a friend for setting him up in 2006. He was, however, acquitted after an 11 month jail term. He came back to Ghana and released an album, which didn’t make the rounds. His last album ‘Yenfii Ta’ was released before his untimely death in 2016.
A look back on his career reveal a more than a dozen hits: Ahoufe, Odo, Saa, You Can’t Touch Me, Calling, W’afom, It’s Ok, Still I Love You, Twa So. He’s one of the most prolific writers of his generation and stands tall next to highlife greats like Daddy Lumba, Kojo Antwi, Oheneba Kissi, Ofori Amponsah.
Dasebre Dwamena wasn’t a hit chasing artist. Rather, his compositions found its way into the charts thanks to his melodies, unmistakable R&B influences, great vocal deliveries and his unparalleled songwriting. He didn’t collaborate much. The few he did were with artistes whose pen game were equally stellar.
Death robbed us of a talent who had much to offer the music world. That’s the cruelty of death: picking the greats when in their prime . His music, however, is enough tribute to his memory. And “Kokooko” would always be the beam of light that glowed over Abubakar Siddiq aka Dasebre Dwamena’s career path. RIP Ahoufe!!