Why Sarkodie May Never Win a Grammy

Undoubtedly Ghana’s most decorated musician, BET and MTV award winner, and one of the most influential personalities of our time, Sarkodie has hinted several times about his desire to win a Grammy— on “Original” and other songs. Upon being the African rapper with the most awards, Sarkodie believes the highest he can go is to kiss a Grammy trophy. But I always wonder if that’s possible.

I thought Michael Owusu-Addo (real name) had given up on those dreams till quite recently, in a freestyle with Strongman, he made that statement again. Has Sarkodie really taken time to think about the possibility of him walking up that stage to grab the award?

Angelique Kidjo

It’s quite sad to face the fact that there are only 7 Africans who have won Grammys since the awards show started in 1959. GRAMMYs happens to be the most enviable and topmost awards scheme in the world presented by The Recording Academy. That’s to say if a musician wins a Grammy he/she is considered to have reached the peak of his/her career. It’s noticeable that the only categories that African performers are able to occupy and win are Best World Music Album and Best Contemporary World Music Album categories. The history-making musicians who have won Grammys as Africans are: Ali Farka Toure (Mali), Lady Smith Black Mambazo (South Africa), Tinariwen (Mali), Youssou N’Dour (Senegal), Wouter Kellerman (South Africa), Soweto Gospel Choir (South Africa), and Angelique Kidjo (Benin).

In 2016, Stonebwoy’s “Livingstone EP” was considered by The Recording Academy but couldn’t make the final nominations cut. Same happened to Blakk Rasta this year. This year, the closest Stonebwoy can get to a Grammy win is if Morgan Heritage wins the Reggae Album of the Year. Rocky Dawuni happens to be the first Ghanaian to be have a full nomination, in 2016, but he lost out. And Killbeatz? His alleged Grammy nomination is debatable.

Considering Sarkodie, a rapper (and once-in-a-while singer) who does the genres Hiplife and Hip-Hop, he stands almost no chance of winning a Grammy. Looking at the list mentioned above, they do mostly traditional and folk music filled with indigenous cultural sounds and rhythm. The closest Sarkodie has been to that is his 3rd studio album, “Mary.” In my review of “Mary”, I made mention that I thought Sarkodie would use the live recorded Highlife/Hiplife album to reach the Grammy heights he has always been talking about. But the body of work didn’t make a huge impact even in Ghana.

Hip-Hop is an untouchable genre as the United States rappers themselves compete very keenly even to gain nominations. I mean, a legendary rapper like Nas, and the current generation’s favourite, J. Cole have no Grammys to their names. So who is Sarkodie to go near that spot? To hit the nail right on its head, Sarkodie’s music does not suit any category in the Grammys as it stands. The only way he can get close to winning a Grammy is if he does pure cultural music which makes an impact in the whole of Africa (which I doubt is going to happen), or if The Recording Academy creates another category that will favour him. Another chance is to get featured on an album nominated (and won) in a category which is awarded to all featured artistes. Till then, Sarkodie’s Grammy dream may forever remain a dream.

Words by Joseph Aqweci Ofori

Pool Cyphaz to Deliver the Best Urban & Hip-Hop Entertainment

The Hip-Hop culture in Ghana has always been here, and a lot of guys including me are heavily influenced by it. Hip-Hop is the way we live, and it’s not negative as many portray it. As the Hip-Hop community continues to grow in Kumasi, it has become necessary for the organization of street cyphers to bring enthusiasts together. Hood Cyphaz was a success, hence Pool Cyphaz is envisioned to be even better. A cypher is basically a group of people assembling in one place to participate in freestyle rap sessions.

The event is slated to happen on Dec 30 at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) poolside. A lot of dope emcees are lined up to give you full satisfaction of the art. We’re talking about emcees like BKC Music acts i.e. Kofi Jamar, Obey and Sketchy, Blurr, Ice Box, and a host of others.

The event will be hosted by YFM presenter, Koo Sebor, and it’s been put up together by the All Black crew. Other side attractions involve swimming competition and twerk sessions. The rates for the event are as follows: Advance: 10 cedis, Single: 15 cedis, Double: 25 cedis.

Oseikrom people, come witness heavily talented rappers do endless freestyles full of bars, metaphors, literary devices and  punchlines. Follow @SteezeHub on our various social media platforms for updates on Pool Cyphaz. Track updates using the hashtag #PoolCyphaz17.

Audio+Video: Kwesi Arthur – Grind Day (Remix) (Ft. Sarkodie & Medikal)

In the life of any artiste, one of the riskiest thing one can do is to make a remix of a song that put him/her in the limelight. Kwesi Arthur gathers confidence to feature the highest, Sarkodie and AMG Business’ very own Medikal on “Grind Day (Remix).” With a new verse from Kwesi Arthur, and one of the best verses I’ve heard all year from Sarkodie, we can’t ask for more. Although Medikal’s verse wasn’t the best, I believe we’d still enjoy the remix of our favourite jam, produced by Kayso.. Enjoy!

Video: Amerado – At My Back (Dir. by Quophi Asiamah)

The Kumasi-based rapper, Amerado surfaces with visuals to his song “At My Back.” After filling Bar Naas (an open-air pub in Ahodwo) for his Rapmare EP launch, the emcee has delivered a video for the eyes of his fans before the year ends. The Quophi Asamoah directed video is very hood. This is not a usual type of video you’ll see girls twerk unnecessarily. Amerado talks about his brand and the fact that all gossips whatsoever are put behind him, as about dozens of guys support him at well chosen locations. Enjoy watching.

Flowking Stone Pulls A Mammoth Crowd to KCM With Oseikrom Shutdown Concert

Kumasi happens to be a city full of music lovers. However, for years now a mainstream artiste native of the Garden City hasn’t headlined a full concert. The rapper, singer and songwriter Flowking Stone gathered confidence to stage a concert dubbed “Oseikrom Shutdown Concert.” Before the event people doubted he could fill up the venue – Kumasi City Mall (KCM). But the “Go Low” hitmaker was able to prove doubters wrong. In a usual fashion, we review the event.

Performances: Upcoming artistes opened the stage up with short performances. Almost every serious upcoming musician was given the opportunity to climb the stage to display his/her talent. The Bantama Kings Club (BKC) guys and Steez Realm acts really moved the crowd with their energy-filled performances.

The “Problem” hitmaker, Guru brought the heat to the stage, further bringing out his NKZ signee Kin Paluta, who was introduced as the future of Kumasi music industry. Epixode busted some freestyles off the top when he quizzed the crowd to spell Flowking, and he’d use each alphabet to form lines live on stage. I had my mouth wide open when Strongman came on stage and the crowd couldn’t keep calm for a second, completing his famous lines, and singing along to all songs he performed.

The main action came up when the man of the event climbed up stage with a boxing costume, and introduced himself as the MC from thence. He called the “Gbee Naabu” hitmaker up on stage. Yaa Pono made the audience love him so much they didn’t want him to leave. Then came Stone’s brothers, Okyeame Kwame and Kunta Kinte. From ‘old skuul’ to ‘new skuul’, the artistes excited the crowd so wonderfully, and yeah, it was my first time watching them perform “Ksi Boys” live. Okyeame did an awesome thing by rapping to the audience’s handclap. Teephlow performed his hit songs, and brilliantly taught the audience to sing along a song which features Stone off the “Phlowducation EP.”

In all, I’d say performances witnessed would give a typical music lover satisfaction, but leave him/her a desire for more.

Stage, Lights and Sound: The stage was well mounted, and was fairly wide. It was clearly strong, as some dancers stomped their feet hard on the stage but didn’t give any sign of breakage. The lights were bright, well enough to see the crowd, and whoever was on stage. Good execution for the lighting! Spending most of my time backstage, I almost thought the sound was trash till I struggled to enter the crowd session and realized the sound was actually okay. There were technical hitches that wouldn’t let the event flow smoothly. It was the major down of the event, as it kept the background organizers very busy.

Although they’ve worked throughout the Christmas festivities, the MCs saw to it that the audience coming out to show support was not wasted. El Presidente and a host of others were on fire last Saturday. As usual, the DJs were unstoppable from doing what they do best.

Timing: Knowing well that the event wouldn’t be able to hold till daybreak, the event which performances started at 9:30 pm didn’t start early enough. There was a tall list of performers, so it’d have been better if it started earlier. The show had to end abruptly when there were a number of artistes backstage who had not performed.

Flowking Stone received the love he wanted, and was successfully able to hold a concert of his own, with the help of Bie Gya Bitters, Special Ice Mineral Water, RentAir, Zoomlion, Indomie, Icy Cup, etc. We only look up to the next great thing Flowking has for the garden city.

 

Photo credit: @twinsdntbeg @swagofafricanews  

Photos: Strongman, Okyeame Kwame, Guru & More Excite Fans At Flowking Stone’s “Oseikrom Shutdown” Concert

Photos: Strongman, Okyeame Kwame, Guru & More Excite Fans At Flowking Stone’s “Oseikrom Shutdown” Concert

On the night of Saturday, Dec 23, 2017, a significant percentage of the youth of Oseikrom were at the Kumasi City Mall to witness Flowking Stone’s Oseikrom Shutdown concert. The venue was so full that people were seen all around Asokwa like it was daytime. A great deal of performers were present, from the uprising acts; Amerado, BKC boys, Steez Realm acts, Nana B, Braa Benk, Ratty, just to mention a few. Guru, Okyeame Kwame, Teephlow, Strongman, Cabum, Epixode, and a lot more were also present to make the programme lively. Check out photos from the event below:

Photo credit: @swagofafricanews @twinsdntbeg

The True Christmas Spirit

Christmas is a time of merry making and its closeness to the New Year celebration has made it not only a season for Christians to celebrate the birth of their Saviour but a time to show love by and to all. The spirit of the yuletide is giving without the thought of receiving back. It is a time of happiness because we see joy in people.

In addition to the season being a time of reflections and appreciation to God for the graces and blessings received in the year, we also use the time to reflect on the coming year.

Certainly, Christmas is a time of giving and sharing with those around us, but that sharing is not limited to those that we know, we love and care for. It is also for that person you have never met, that poor family who lives in your community.

From its very essence, we can see this giving nature of the yuletide in the birth of Christ himself. God freely gave out his Son to be born a man who will save us from sin and bring us back to God. So what is Christmas without giving? It is the giving act of God that we celebrate on Christmas thus we must reflect this very act.

More significantly, we share the moment with our families and friends which to us makes it joyous to some of us. Buying new clothes and giving presents to our children are the Christmas traditions that we have always chosen to observe and we always look forward to this treasured tradition every Christmas.

Although we all know of this spirit of giving in the Christmas season, our focus for much of the times has been on our families and friends. With a few celebrities, NGOs like my very own Love Foundation Club and other individual philanthropists always carrying the sharing of this seasonal love outside the family and friend zone, we must all emulate them. The true nature of Christmas is to give to the poor and the needy.

One of the other main reasons we have to carry out this custom of giving at Christmas is to remind us of the presents given to Jesus the baby king who was born in a manger (a symbol of him being born in poverty) by the Wise Men: Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh. Christmas is a time of forgetting ourselves and finding time for others as the Wise Men did.

Let us extend the Christmas spirit of giving to the poor, the needy, the street kids, the sick and aged in our communities. This is the true spirit of Christmas; God giving his begotten Son not to a world of saints, a world of the rich but a world of those who have been cut off from him by sin.

Show love to someone who is poor outside your family and friend zone and with this, you are imitating Christmas in its true nature. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Words by Elikem Akakpo

Video: Strongman On Tim Westwood’s Crib Session

UK’s famous Tim Westwood has hosted a long list of celebrities around the world in his “Crib Session”. Think about all the top artistes and almost all of them have featured on the Crib Session. Only few Ghanaian artistes have been on there, and Strongman joins the list now. The young rapper as usual, proved he’s Ghana’s favourite “Wordsmith!”

Strongman delivered flawless and non-stop flows, tactically fusing in some English verses into the all Twi rap. He’s always confident behind the mic and knows how to switch styles without even pausing for a second.

This is a good look for Strongman and marks the beginning of many great things happening in his career under his label Sarkcess Music.

Acydik Ft. Mayoka – Ohemaa (Prod. by Qholabeatz & Mixed by AB)

“Ohemaa” is a local word for “queen”. It’s a song in which Acydik expresses his feelings to someone dear to his heart. He employs a lot of puns in his well laid flows on a groovy beat composed by Qhola.

 

Who Will Win 2018 VGMA Best New Artiste?

Over the last few years, the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) Artiste of the Year spot has been a clear cut that you don’t need Baba Fakunle to foretell you who the winner would be. Let’s cast our minds back over the past 5 years. In 2012, Stay Jay was the winner, 2013 – Kaakie, 2014 – Joey B, 2015 – MzVee, and 2016 – Kofi Kinaata. It was only last year that Fancy Gadam took us by surprise when everyone thought Medikal had worked enough to earn the crown. Apparently, home support for the “Total Cheat” hitmaker was off the roof.

However, this year we have a different case. This year has been a year that saw new artistes spring up across the globe. And it’s no different in Ghana, as most major hits we’ve had this year were made by rookies. I can mention 5 potent contenders for the spot of VGMA 2018 Best New Artiste, all of whom are deserving winners – KiDi, Kuami Eugene, Kurl Songx, King Promise and B4Bonah. These acts worked very hard, paying their dues to the game, and in turn gaining nationwide hits and deserved attention. Usually, artistes nominated for the Best New act category have only one breakthrough song. This time, these young people have packed at least 2 hits in their bags.

KiDi

KiDi, the Lynx Entertainment signed artiste has “Say You Love Me” and “Odo” (both the original and remix version with Davido and Mayorkun) to his name. Kuami Eugene struggled to break through the nationwide market with “Boom Boom Bang Bang”, “Hiribaba”, “Show Dem”, “Ebeyeyie” and “Fadama Boy”, till he finally had the people’s favourite, “Angela”. Kurl Songx had his breakthrough when Sarkodie spat a line which made the Krobo tribe furious. Whilst people shared different opinions on the tribalistic-driven line, the song “Jennifer Lomotey” became popular. He had another follow-up titled as “Whistle” with the same rapper, Sarkodie. Like this wasn’t enough, he delivered another banger with the most buzzing artiste this year, Ebony, entitled “Feeling.”

King Promise after a glut of features, slaying hooks, finally had us dancing to his self-owned song “Oh Yeah”. “Hey Sexy” with Stonebwoy was a miss. He then bounced back with “Selfish”, which is gradually gaining grounds. B4Bonah had everyone singing along to “Dear God”. He then collaborated with King Promise, giving us “My Girl.”

There are a couple of acts which you’d question me as to why they didn’t make the list, including favourites Kwesi Arthur and Darkovibes. The two didn’t garner much success compared to the artistes mentioned previously, coming out with only one hit song each which didn’t do well across the country. We saw Darkovibes perform to a stadium crowd who didn’t know his song. I bet you have a lot of relatives who’d legit ask you “who’s Kwesi Arthur?”

The big question now is who will be the best new artiste? From the VGMA board, The New Artiste of the Year is the Artiste(s) adjudged by the Academy, Board and the General Public as the most promising and talented emerging artiste (s). The award goes to a relatively new artiste(s) who released a SINGLE/ALBUM that FIRST shot the artiste(s) into the limelight during the year under review.

Lynx Entertainment artistes have been pushing for their acts to win some awards and recognition which sometimes they don’t even deserve. In 2014, MzVee was the Unsung Artiste. The following year she was the best new act (deservedly). Kuami Eugene announced his presence by winning the Unsung Artiste in 2017 when I couldn’t even mention one of his songs. So this drives me to the question, will Richie and his crew use their influence to overcome the others?

Some say KiDi leads the pack because he’s the only one who has been able to break through a non-Ghanaian market i.e. Nigeria collaborating with Africa’s favourites, Mayorkun and Davido. Kaywa, who happens to be part of the management of Kurl Songx also has a great influence in the game. Will that have any effect on his chances of winning? Would B4Bonah’s inspirational song see him through to kiss the trophy? This is a question that would be on our lips till the fateful night of the 19th Edition of VGMAs.