Music, to the Average Kumasi Musician; A Perspective by Kwame Boss

Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time. The common elements of music are pitch (which governs melody & harmony), rhythm (and its associated concepts tempo, meter, and articulation), dynamics (loudness and softness), and the sonic qualities of which are sometimes termed the “color” of a musical sound.

To the average Kumasi artiste, this may sound too complex or probably, just another grammarian trying to give huge names to simple things. But trust me, this is the same everywhere. Before I talk about the topic in discussion, let me take a paragraph to tell you small about my experience that pushed me to write this post.

I, as many people in Kumasi has known me to be, has been a media personality for over twelve years and still on it. I have been so inquisitive and have been trying to fix the “Kumasi Music” industry, which most think doesn’t exist, but trust me, there is.

My experimentations led me into organizing a campaign “Kumasi Must Rise” which met quite an audience, but due to the “African PHD” power, I had to put a pause to watch it go down the drain. And to this, I say Kumasi can rise but the people.

It takes more than just the writing, recording and distributing of the music we do. If I may be certain at this, as far as I am aware, there are three stages to make music worthy or “successful”. I paraphrased the word successful, because, today, success doesn’t have one meaning. Success is defined by the person expecting it. This is one reason why most people do not see how powerful their products/music could be. These are just a few of my evaluation as an artist manager in Kumasi, met and has given me a broaden knowledge on how the average Kumasi musician sees music.

  • Most of my Kumasi people in this music game thinks this music thing is a family possession. They think since they do their music, if you are his or her family member, or whatsoever to him/her, you should be a fan of his music. They assume that if you know him personally, you owe him or her that automatic fan loyalty. This is a big NO. Music is a religion. Give me a reason to keep on following what you preach and I will find you other fishers of men. Nobody owes anyone in this music industry. If there is one thing I have learnt walking with successful artists who are not Kumasi-based, it is their sense of knowing music is more of a religion.

 

  • My Kumasi brothers think it’s either you get endorsed by a more successful musician that makes you relevant. They mostly think putting a prominent musician on a song would fetch you that fan base loyalty. This idea tickles me anytime I talk about it.

 

  • My Kumasi musicians are all about rap and punchlines. This has always been our doom. Even Kumasi singers want to “punch” in a love song; a love song is to make the listeners remember their love life (either in a good way or a bad way). This punchlines thing has made most of our songs lose that element that could fetch us better attention of investors. And I can say boldly that, most of my Kumasi people know less of what goes into a proper song arrangements.

 

  • Every Kumasi musician wants to be the leader or king or queen of what they are doing. My Kumasi musicians lack the sense of business in this music industry. They think this music thing is a social media, where everyone can be your friend. They see it to be more of a fun relieve than a business. So, an artist can boldly tell you that, he sings what he feels and that is what he/she wants to do. My dear, you cannot go to the law court and tell the house that you are a lawyer, and you feel an accused is guilty or not. You would have to study the case, know what the people want to hear from you and present it well. That is music.

 

  • Until you plan on how to record, release and promote your music, you are just an apprentice trying to outsmart his/her master. My Kumasi people do not even know how and where to promote their music. Most of them think putting the songs on their social media timelines would magically make the song a success. It takes more than that my dear brothers and sisters.

 

  • My last and most important point is that, my Kumasi musicians think that, in the other cities, like Accra, everyone is together helping each other. My brother, my sister, this is a fallacy. It is never done anywhere on this earth. Not even outside Ghana. You can never unite every musician in the expense of meeting a successful music industry. It has always been “each man for himself” from the day Adam ate the forbidden fruit. Wise up and work harder for what you want. Don’t expect anyone to do your hard work for you; build from the ground.

I would put a pause here and come back with another article or better, a video of myself talk about this on a radio or television’s entertainment show. You may hit my DM or contact me on any of my social media pages (@DzeBossOnEm or Dze Boss Tunez) if you need assistance or more breakdown of my posts. Don’t forget that, music is business, religion and entertainment at the same time. Know what you want as a musician and do what it takes to have it.

Ko-Jo Cue Grabs 3 VGMA Nominations, For the First Time

“GMAs I never missed it, watching rappers spit and saying one day e go be me on the stage” – Ko-Jo Cue (Reminisce).

We share different opinions about the credibility of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMAs), but whatever be the case, it stands to be the most important and most rated award scheme in the Ghanaian music industry. To land a VGMA nomination is a big deal. It takes a lot of hardwork, dedication and everything in between to get to that stage.

The artiste, Ko-Jo Cue has been doing music since 2010. He has 8 mixtapes and a joint album with Shaker to his credit. Ko-Jo Cue is a name which is synonymous to ‘excellent rapper.’ For years now, he has worked extremely on perfecting his craft, and has built a cult fan base. For two years now, he has sold out his own organized concerts at Alliance Francaise. Yes, people who are stans of him travel and queue to purchase ticket to have a relief of their musical thirst. Signed to BBnZ Live, his song “Lavender” which featured E.L propelled him to a huge audience in Ghana. Although his songs may have not blown up to reach every corner in Ghana, he has listeners all over who pay attention to his music.

For years now, Ko-Jo Cue had not been submitting his songs to the VGMA board for consideration, due to lack of interest and other reasons best known to him. This year, Young Daddy Lumba submitted his projects, and has been able to land 3 solid nominations for the categories “Best Rapper of the Year” with his verses on the ‘Pen & Paper’ single, “Music Video of the Year” with the visuals to the single ‘Pen & Paper’, and “Hip-Hop Song of the Year” with the song ‘Pen & Paper.’

2017 happened to be a good year for the rapper, and I’m sure 2018 will open even more doors. We wish the rapper all the best in his nominations, and hope he gets a slot to perform at the main event.

Dhat Gyal Grabs Nomination for the Unsung Category at VGMA 2018

The Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) 2018 nominations were unveiled on Saturday, 3rd March, 2018. One category that people have paid attention to in recent times is the Unsung category. This is because artistes who get win in this category tend to blow up within that year. Quick examples are MzVee and Kuami Eugene.

Dhat Gyal is a humble, hardworking and talented singer who commenced her music career in 2017 by doing mashups of songs. Due to her dexterity displayed, she broke the internet, gaining tens of thousand instant views on Facebook alone with a lot of positive remarks, when the post wasn’t even sponsored. She followed up with her own written single “Mayweather” which was premiered on GH One TV. Since then she has been interviewed on various radio and television stations across different regions in Ghana. Her sophomore single, “Any Man” continues to make waves.

When Big Shaq hit the internet with his official video for “Man’s Not Hot”, Dhat Gyal was right there at number 2 on the Top Trending Videos on YouTube. There’re two things with becoming a mainstream artiste. Some are forced down our throats, others genuinely build their fan base, and expand their territory. Dhat Gyal is a type of the latter. Video by video, song by song, she gains new fans. With various criticisms being thrown at her, she keeps winning.

The Unsung category was created to introduce nominees and the winner to a larger audience. Nominees get to perform at the Nominees Jam which will be held at Cape Coast. The winner shall also perform at the VGMA main event night.

Stay glued for how to vote for Dhat Gyal to win in this category.

‘The Come Up With Sebor’ to Revolutionize Ghana Music

In Ghana, the music scene is filled with a great deal of mainstream acts. However, there are a triple of that number in the upcoming front who are putting all efforts together to make it to the top. It’s as though they’ve created a virtual world for themselves which seem to be growing and welcoming a new member each day.

In the storm of the struggle to achieve greatness, here comes The Come Up show with Sebor. This programme is meant to give a platform for upcoming artistes to sell their craft or get heard and also for already established acts to tell their come-up story which can go a long way to guide and motivate others.

The Come Up will have a segments where artistes get to have live studio performances.

The presenter for the show, Sebor is the co-host & producer of the Dryve Of Your Lyf & the host of entertainment magazine show Lift Off on Saturdays which airs on Y102.5 FM.

The show will have it’s early releases on YouTube. Stay tuned for more information, and anticipate greatness.

Why Sarkodie Shall Continue to Remain Ghana’s Favourite Rapper

I define RAP as Rhythmic Afro-American Poetry. A rapper is a poet on a beat. Rap is a beautiful form of art. You wouldn’t have to wait for 30 seconds for one to finish a sentence. A lot can be discussed with 3 verses. I love rap! We’ve had rap legends, from Reggie Rockstone, to Obrafour and Okyeame Kwame. Although still not highly mainstream, rap continues to be loved by most music consumers in Ghana. Our biggest acts are mostly rappers. Sarkodie took over the rap scene in 2008, when he dropped that everlasting verse on “Keva.” Thence, a lot of rappers, especially the upcoming ones have mirrored his style. In 2009/2010, almost every rapper sounded like Sarkodie because he was the new rap standard.

With the definition of rap, and listening to Sark’s verses, I’d like to pose in the question, does Sarkodie really rap? Why is he loved so much by Ghana? Is he the best Ghanaian rapper?

One of the reasons why I love rap so much is that there are standards which one can use to determine whether one is a good rapper or not. The elements of rap are lyricism, poetry, concept, substance, punchlines, delivery and rhyming. Just as poetry is deep, rap is supposed to be deep. The beauty of listening to a rap project is having to discover something new every time you listen to it, and deciphering encrypted lines with multiple listens. Sarkodie is not that type of rapper. But the thing is, the average Ghanaian is not that type of listener.

The days that proverbs were much hailed are over. The youth of today don’t even want to race their minds with riddles. They prefer issues presented in the raw form, uncovered. That’s what Sarkodie brings to the table. He talks of relevant issues and current happenings with a touch of humour so well that you would love to hear more. His delivery ability is second to none, actually one of the best I’ve heard in the whole world. His rhyme scheme is of good standard. He’s not a punchline rapper who drops metaphors and a lot of literary devices in his verses. Due to that, some rap heads never enlist him as a topmost emcee, but that’s a negligible percentage of the audience.

No matter one’s age, you can relate to Sarkodie’s rap. He doesn’t disturb you with heavy vocabulary. He’s a representative for rap lovers in the ghetto, streets, ‘dadabee’ girls circles, and even staunch Hip-Hop heads. In the end, he’s a musician. The best music is necessarily relatable. The receiving end has to get an emotional connection to what is said in the song. Sarkodie weaves his verses so well in the Ghanaian setting, making it well picturesque.

Other rappers have tried to connect with the Ghanaian audience, but they never reach the level of Sarkodie, because he touches the heart of Ghanaians, and tells their stories. He publicly speaks their solemn and wild thoughts alike. Your punchlines ‘dey borst brains’ but Sarkodie’s verses are our words spoken by someone who understands us. 

Tribute to Ebony

This is not a news report to tell you Ebony has kicked the bucket. I’m sure by now you’ve heard it and even seen pictures of her lifeless body. Upon hearing the news, I was so sad and couldn’t bring myself together to write a blog post. But when the adrenaline settles, writing is my only therapy.

To wake up on a Friday morning to this sad news is totally heartbreaking. She had really got to her peak, and was ready to take Africa by storm. It had been a very long while since we had a female artiste reign above the equals. Last time we saw it was Mzbel. Ebony was more promising. Amidst all her sexually-appealing performances, we loved her. You’re actually reading this article because you care about her.

All humans are bound to die but we didn’t know this is how Ebony would go — through a fatal accident on the popular Accra-Sunyani motorway, specifically at Mankranso as reports reach us. And oh! she didn’t die alone… a popular Twitter influencer I follow Franky Kuri has also passed away. She happened to be her good friend and personal assistant. Also, a soldier who happened to be her bodyguard with the name Atsu Vondee died in the collision.

I don’t want to hear any pastor use her death as an example to solidify their point of living a quiet life, and not rushing in life, and whatnots, though I’ll hear it. Some may even say she lost her life because of her sins. Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death, but we can’t be so judgmental. If we all understood God’s ways then at least someone could prove to me why all these porn actresses are walking around with healthy lives.

For the first time we were going to have a solo secular female artiste win VGMA Artiste of the year. It saddens me she’ll not be present on that stage to take her own trophy, and enjoy the glorious moment. Oh somebody play me Methodist Hymnal 672 “Till We Meet.” Even though Ebony was a success at being the leader of “bad b*tches” and so-called “slay queens” she had a positive side to her. And I’m not even going to refer to her songs “Maame Hwɛ” and “Aseda.” If you look beyond the smoke of fame surrounding her, you could see a truly positive side of her.

No person deserves to die at such a young age! With her talent, no one could accurately foretell the future. She was just starting. Who knew what the future held? But for now, it’s just a lof of R.I.P’s and “May her soul rest in peace” statements. This thing called life… One day you’re the greatest, the next day you’re just a gathering of dust. We pray for all her relatives and very close friends. You feel the pain more than any of us! Your words would’ve been more emotionally felt if you wrote this article.

Priscilla Opoku-Kwarteng, damirifa due

May your soul rest in peace.

Till we meet…

Words by Joseph ‘Aqweci’ Ofori

Bryan The Mensah Emerges As the Come-Up of the Week On Y FM’s “Lift Off” Maiden Show

Bryan The Mensah

The “Lift Off” show is a radio show hosted by Koo Sebor every Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m on Y 102.5 FM, Kumasi. The show has 4 segments which include “Come-Up of the Week”, “30 Minutes of Fame” and “The Score.” The Come-Up of the Week segment has been designated to celebrate and appreciate the good works and hustle of an upcoming artiste who is doing his best to put him/herself in the limelight with the little resources available to them. On the maiden show of the Lift Off, the creator of “Friends With the Sun” EP, Bryan The Mensah happened to be given the spot. Bryan The Mensah is a young artiste and producer who through his hard work and determination elevated within a short while to become Apple Music’s Favourite New artiste of the Month in September last year.

Producer, iPappi

The show also saw an interview with ace music producer, iPappi who’s collaboration with Stonebwoy for the song “Loyalty” is making huge waves. iPappi is a Kumasi-based producer who has worked with a tall list of great artistes, and upcoming as well. Of this list includes, Jesse Jagz, Edem, E.L, Stonebwoy, Ko-Jo Cue, Kuami Eugene and KiDi, just to mention a few. He shared his experience in the music industry, and what he has to offer the world.

Rapper, Bra Clem also came on the show to spit some bars off the top as he always does it. The Source segment had 3 learned young men as far as entertainment is concerned in the seat. Sedem Hayford Benjamin, Mensah Jnr AKA El Presidente (An MC & radio personality) and Aqweci Steeze (founder and administrator of SteezeHub.com) discussed record labels, and commercial music. A lot of knowledge was dropped in this segment.

Make it a point to tune in this and every Saturday to have a good radio experience with Koo Sebor.

Darkovibes, Kwesi Arthur & How the Internet Blows Up Artistes

In 1990 public internet didn’t exist. The only means of reaching fans were through television, radio and shows/tours. Fast forward to the 2000s the internet has become a global network for connecting people around the world. People spend time on the internet more than having conversations offline. The world’s richest were able to achieve that height because they created a dot com business. The internet has come to change music, its consumption and artiste-fan relation. Getting intimate with fans is just a Facebook Live video away, and making news is just by a 280-character tweet. People don’t queue for albums no more, it’s streamed or purchased online. Streaming platform managers and curators are the real illuminati of music. Apple Music, Spotify and the like are the new record labels.

In Ghana, people have taken time to study how the internet could be used to market their craft, and have made it work for them. I won’t take you so many years back. Let’s have a look at last year, we saw many acts rise up on the internet circles of music, and gradually turn it to a solid fan base and some good cash. Amongst those acts are La Meme Gang members, Darkovibes, RJZ and Spacely. Also, Ground Up’s Kwesi Arthur. I’m sure it was a difficult task for them, because social media is a world where people who can’t even speak in public become loud mouths. Digital gangsters and keyboard mobsters are quick to come at artistes online and rain insults on them because of very small issues.

These guys were shown love, and bit by bit, day by day, their fan base grew till traditional radio started accepting them and giving them some airplay. When they were struggling to get heard these guys never sent any email to bloggers at all (I stand to be corrected), neither would they share links to their songs from blogs (well, unless it’s DCLeakers). They’d just upload their songs on SoundCloud, and push it via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and they were quite okay with it.

With the repetitive sound that Ghanaian music had been experiencing lately, the creatives used the opportunity to take over with pure talent and a wavy style appreciated by the youth. They gave a new definition to Afro-Trap, Hip-Hop, Trap and Afrobeats. The youthful music consumers of Ghana today have an ear for adventure. They get fed up listening to monotonous sounds on the mainstream media, hence pay much attention to what SoundCloud and YouTube rappers and singers have to offer.

Darkovibe’s “Tomorrow” wasn’t an overnight success. Neither was “Mercy.” I saw him perform to a crowd in Legon in 2017 who looked at him like he a noise-maker and jumping grasshopper. In that same year, every corridor had echoes of “Tomorrow” and the people wouldn’t stop chanting when Darkovibes stepped on stage with the song.

Kwesi Arthur was seen bare-chested spitting bars in freestyle videos all year. You could feel the pain in his verses, and sense the struggle in his voice. He kept on doing that till much attention was given to his hit single “Grind Day.” Today, Kwesi Arthur has been endorsed and featured by Ghana’s ace rapper Omar Sterling. BET award winner, Sarkodie has delivered a free 16 to the remix version of “Grind Day”. And only Lord knows the songs he’s sitting on as I type this.

I love Spacely’s “Digits.” Serallio (a hangout in Osu, Accra) wouldn’t keep it off rotation. RJZ is easy to point out because of his model figure — six packs, dyed hair and melanin-rich skin. Song by song, they’re taking over the music scene and serve as threats to those on top. If with the internet they’re able to host their own sold out shows, and be placed on bills, then I can only wonder where they’d reach if much capital is invested into their art.

Internet has worked for some artistes, and still works for new acts as time rolls by. You can also be a success off the internet.

Words by Joseph Aqweci Ofori 

BossBae Set To Release “Disease” EP, Featuring Epixode, Rudebwoy Ranking & Others

Stoner Record’s frontline act BossBae is ready to take over the scene with ‘Disease EP’.

The album which features dancehall giants like Epixode, Rudebwoy Ranking, Tsoobi and Nigerian act Toff Pandis promises to be one of a kind with BossBae’s ingenuity and one of a kind talent.

Affectionately called ‘International Bad Gyal’ by her fans, the ‘Disease EP’ is made up of 7 tracks which shows different sides to the Dancehall queenmother.

BossBae rose to limelight in 2016 with her cover of the famous ‘City’, originally performed by Alkaline and followed up with singles like ‘Bag A Hole’, ‘Ask Di Police’,’Tell Nuhin’ which featured Alvan Brown and a couple of awesome videos.

Although the release date is yet to be announced, BossBae promises that this year is certainly going to be fireworks as she has lots of works in stock for fans.

VGMA 2018: Reasons Why Dhat Gyal Should Win Unsung Artist Category

For the past few months, there has been a new revolution in Ghanaian Afrobeat/Hiplife and Dancehall as well. And I wouldn’t say that this young female artiste invented “MashUp” sessions, but I can boldly say that, Dhat Gyal brought life into MashUp in Ghana. Ever since she showed up with her first mashup in the latter part of 2017, Dhat Gyal has stayed relevant and consistent till date. Below are reasons why Dhat Gyal should be nominated and win the unsung category in this year’s edition of Vodafone Ghana Music Awards:

Dhat Gyal is the first female artiste whose mashup has never been sponsored on Facebook and YouTube, but gets over ten thousand views in a day. With less than 48hrs of anticipation on her mashup, Dhat Gyal commands a lot of views. This shows how people appreciates her talent and signifies the number of people who stays waiting on the mashups.

Dhat Gyal is, so far, the youngest Afro pop / dancehall artiste in Ghana with most likes on her Facebook page and I repeat, no sponsored posts, but gets thousands of new followers anytime she makes a post.

Dhat Gyal is the only youngest Ghanaian artist whose first official single was randomly taken by Opera Entertainment news and was the most liked post.

Dhat Gyal is the first artiste to trend on YouTube as number 2 with Big Shaq’s “Man’s Not Hot” at number one. It has become a promotional tactic that, artistes do not release songs when there is a bigger meat on the plate. On the day that Big Shaq released his most awaited video for his hit song, the management of Dhat Gyal took the risk and dropped her mashup, just to test the waters and lo and behold, Dhat Gyal did not only surprise us with her unimagined Facebook views, but this time, came number 2 to an international artiste on YouTube.

 

You can follow her on the various social media platforms to verify to the above and testify that, Ernestina Afari; Dhat Gyal, as you may know her, deserves to be nominated for this years edition of Unsung in Vodafone Ghana Music Awards and we promise you victory. Let’s start the hashtag #DhatGyalVGMAsUnsung.

Ps.: Facebook – Dhat Gyal  (www.facebook.com/dhatgyalmuzik)

Twitter – @DhatGyalMusic (www.twitter.com/dhatgyalmusic)

Instagram – @dhatgyal_africa (www.instagram.com/dhatgyal_africa)

YouTube – Dhat Gyal Africa