The Two Mad Beings Podcast, hosted by Nana Antwi Bosiako sat down with Swaye Kidd, Editor of Culartblog to discuss the impact and legacy of Obrafour’s debut album “Pae Mu Ka”, 20 years after its release. The classic album is marking its 20th Anniversary this year.
Released in 1999, the album is regarded by many as the definition of then nascent genre that was hiplife. The christening of the genre is credited to Reggie Rockstone, the grandpapa of hiplife. Reggie Rockstone had arrived in Ghana from his base in the US (he was based in the UK for a long time) in 1994 as part of diasporans who came down to Ghana to witness the maiden edition of PANAFEST (Pan-African Festival) in Cape Coast. PANAFEST was a bridge to connecting Africans in the diaspora with their ancestors who were shipped from Africa to Europe, the Caribbean and America during the slave trade era.
Reggie Rockstone and DJ Rab, whom he met during a night club freestyle session put out the first Twi rap, which combined American hip hop elements with Twi raps. That project, “Maaka Maka” heralded the birth of hiplife in 1997.
Obrafour was introduced to music producers, Hammer and Yaw Anoff, who decided to record his debut album. Obrafour was then 20 years old, while Hammer (Last 2) was 21 years. The outcome of their handiwork was the seminal classic “Pae Mu Kae” in 1999.
The album’s minimal yet sonically alluring qualities aside, it was Obrafour’s proficiency in the Twi language, the wisdom that he exuded and the comprehensive body of work that transversed the themes of life (Aden, Ma Mendwen Me Ho, Konkonsa); Patriotism (Kwame Nkrumah); social observation (Yaanom, Agoro N’aso) that became a blueprint for hiplife.
On the podcast, Swaye Kidd, a music blogger described “Pae Mu Ka” as “the most relevant album in the last 20 years”. The discussion touched on the impact of the album, how it bridged the gap between the elderly who thought rap was a passing fad and the youth who were identifying with the genre, whether Obrafour and Hammer’s work was intentionally crafted or was an experimentation gone right.
Click to listen.