Some refer to it as Rhythmic African Poetry (RAP) and others see it as a culture. For me it’s an art which involves wordplay and the ability to make sense with either complicated or simple rhyming schemes. Elements that contribute to make a good rap include; the style used in delivery, craftiness of punchlines and to some extent the content (a good punchline can make up for a senseless verse though)
Obrafour has set the bar in Ghana so high that, up to date no one can match up to him. Manifest, M3nsa, Sarkodie, EL and a couple of other rappers have paid their dues and can be referred to as frontrunners in their own rights.
This article highlights five of Ghana’s very own great rappers who seem not be getting the due attention and are usually tagged as underground. One might argue that some artiste stated here do not merit the underground tag but hey EL had been around for a while but, it was not until 2012 that he was nominated for New Artiste of the Year in the Ghana Music Awards (GMAs).
The GMA may not be a good point of reference or standard to buttress my point. That notwithstanding, this piece highlights rapper who deserve to receive all the fame and accompanying goodies per their talents exhibited so far.
GREY (Mobile Boy)
Life has not been fair to this brother. Gray stepped into the limelight under the wings of the founder of the hiplife, Reggie Rockstone, when the latter formed the music group Mobile Boys. The group was made up of Kochoko, Nkonya and Grey. The Madina boy Grey, together with the other group members were based at Labone.
Truth be told few songs were heard from the group. Notable amongst them was one which featured Reggie titled ‘Mobile Phone’. The tongue twister Kochoko took all the spotlight and was perceived as the leader until his departure from the group. Grey got the nod of rap lovers with an excellently delivered verse and voice overs on the classic Mobile Boys hiphop tune “Wuni Wan” released in 2010. He has not looked back ever since. His rap sounds really matured.
Grey is now a solo artiste, pursuing personal projects and experimenting with new ideas like rapping in his native Efutu tongue. He claims his is tired of writing verses and now does off the head freestyles anytime he enters the booth to record a song. His song might not be out but anytime you hear a verse from Grey you would be quick to acknowledge the sense of maturity in his delivery.
The self-acclaimed Oseikrom President aka Young Daddy Lumba is well known within the underground cycles. Cue who represents hiphop, made a name for himself in Kumasi where he began his musical career. Kojo-Cue is arguably, one of the leading figures who led the second hip hop revolution in Kumasi after Lord Kenya in the 2000s.
Anyone who doubts Cue’s ability is to take rap to a different level should listen to “Lie Ben” released in 2013 which featured ASEM. His listenership broadened after that collaboration and has since not taken his foot off the pedal. The rapper cum journalist is currently signed to the BBNZ record label. Not your regular aggressive hard hitting rapper, Cue has a soft and subtle way of delivery which is remarkable. Cue has release a couple of singles and a mixtape under the label including Brading, Tsioo Ben Ke Me, Wole among other incredible pieces of work.
Not much was known of this emcee until he released a ten track EP titled “Akan EP” back in 2015. It can safely be said that he fits the definition of hip hop made in Twi. His rap style can be described as a lighter version of Obrafour and a better version of Okomfou Kwaadie (my opinion though). It is rumoured that he has been around for long and was in the camp of the Last Two Music Group.
People who appreciate rap music would at any time doff off their hats for his song “The Way I Feel” on his EP. Akan in this song eulogized rap in a remarkable way never heard of. The rapper seems to have a strong affiliation with the Skillions Records with most of his production done by the CEO of the label Jayso. He is set to release his major album, Onipa Akoma on 14th October, 2017. Get familiar with his singles ‘Helebaba, aBusuapanyini, Manhole as you await his debut in a few weeks.
In an era which saw Fante rap songs dominate the GH hiphop, the rap lines of this talented Cape Coast guy stood tall. Teephlow started making waves during his student days at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). He caught the attention of most people when he contested in GHOne’s reality rap show “Next Big Thing in GH HipHop” in 2012. It always difficult to forget his ‘Boko Haram’ song performance during the competition. He eventually became a runner up to Strongman.
The rapper took a break from the music scene after his tertiary education to undertake his National Service. Phlow re-announced himself on the music scene under the tutelage of Hammer of the Last Two Music Group. He had the opportunity to collaborate with arguably, the two generational heads of rap in the country; Obrafour and Sarkodie. The two allowed Phlow to express himself by only singing the hooks of some hardcore trade mark Hammer instrumentals. Songs like ‘Wave’, ‘Dues’, ‘Hosanna’ and ‘Asheeda’ earned Teephlow the due recognition and attention under Hammer.
Now signed to Spider Lee Entertainment, more is expected from the Fante rapper whose crafty punchlines makes you wonder how he makes creativity seem so easy.
He reps the Ill Deadly Ministers click, IDM for short. Everything I know from Obibini is from his song. According to him, his interest in the rap game became more intense as a member of the IDMs during his school days at Adisco. Although he has been around for a while, his inroads within the Ghana music circles began with his affiliations with Dj Black and the Tomtom music label.
In 2014 he re-announced his presence in the Ghana music industry with “Ma Story” which featured Bisa Kdei. He describes himself as a hardcore rapper. The fast rapping Obibini displays dexterity on any beat thrown at him. You never get bore with his delivery and quality rhymes. In his own words, listening to him and his likes can make you do an 8 miles walk to Okponglo. Worthwhile to listen to his mixtape and singles. Now signed to Zylofon Media, the rapper wears the shoes most underground rappers dream to wear.
Don’t really know much about this Burma Camp boy but I know he can rap. My first exposure to Don Itchi was during a TV3 Sprite Basketball Awards show. He did not perform any song of his, but rapped to a P Square instrumental. He was phenomenal to say the least. Seemly glued to Appiatus, Itchi has released a couple of singles and has done a lot of features. Listening to him, you realize why Okyeame Kwame’s endorsed him as the next big thing on the scene.
Rappers like Strongman, 99Kay, Selorm 3LA, Baby Scratch, Eno, Cabum, Kula, Anyemi Bone, M3dal, Bebelino, Yung Pabi and of course myself need to be given our due recognition within the Ghana rap cycle.
It is somehow surprising that Sway Kidd would ask me to write about other rappers and not myself. So in the spirit of hate I will only share a link to one of my songs which the hater (Sway) claims I was inconsistent with the beat. Hey it’s the content that counts.
written by: Safo Wiafe (@foksafo)