Hiphop music is actually an African tradition, an ancient African tradition of freestyling, which is spontaneous poetry to a rhythmic pattern. It’s an African tradition which is thousands of years old. You can say American Hiphop is an evolution of an African tradition.
However, whether we like it or not, Hiphop is now known as a music form or genre of people in the West. The question however is, will the Ghanaian (or African) Hiphop musician ever become an international music icon? This question might have pricked your mind before or not.
No one becomes internationally known or acclaimed without the spotlight of the Western media or publicity and promotion on most Western media and or platforms – take it or leave it. So the point is, will the CNN, BBC, DWTV, BET, GRAMMY, etc. publicize or promote a Ghanaian Hiphop artiste so the fellow becomes an international music icon?
The Ghanaian Hiphop artiste wears costumes and presents his or herself as or like a Western Hiphop artiste. Ghaiaian Hiphop artistes use the same software used by Western Hiphop artistes to edit their music videos! Ghanaian Hiphop artistes wear huge necklaces on their necks just like most Western Hiphop artistes!
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Ghanaian Hiphop artistes use the same or similar beat/rhythm/instrumentation of Western Hiphop! Ghanaian Hiphop artistes rap the same or similar way as or like Western Hiphop artistes! Ghnaaian Hiphop artistes speak English like the Western Hiphop artistes! The point therefore is: can the image ever be bigger than the object? Or, the object and the image, which is stronger?
Hardly will a Ghanaian be nominated or awarded in any Hiphop awards scheme in the West. I will not be surprised if Westerners mock us for awarding Hiphop artistes and songs in Ghana Music Awards; because they may ask themselves, ‘whose touchstone are they using to award themselves – us or theirs?’ (Laughs).
We sit in Ghana and create Best Hiphop Artistes and Songs categories in a whole Ghana Music Awards. Sarkodie is a Hiphop artiste. Which category was he nominated for in BET Award? They always box the Africans into one wispy category, Best International Act – Africa. They deliberately, intentionally, and knowingly did so because they know the ‘commercial value’ that comes with music genre nomination.
Hardly will a Western record label come to Ghana (or Africa) to scout for music talents for their label and pick Ghanaian Hiphop artistes or hopefuls. At best, they may pick Highlife artistes. For Hiphop talents, hmmmm, it will be difficult. Very difficult!
To us – Ghanaians, D-Black, Kwaku T and others are Hiphop artistes, but to Western Hiphop artistes, the former are totally aliens to Hiphop music. In fact, Western Hiphop musicians don’t see Ghanaian or African Hiphop artistes as same-genre music compeers or competitors.
Again, hardly will Western Hiphop artistes willingly come down here purposely to collaborate with Ghanaian (or African) Hiphop artistes. Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Buster Rhythms and Kerry Hilson, have all graced Ghana before; none of them did or had any collaboration with any Ghanaian Hiphop artiste. I learnt Nigeria’s P-Square had to pay Rick Ross before he granted them a collaboration ears for their ‘Beautiful Onyinye’ track.
As for our black brothers who were relocated to the West and are now called African-Americans and are doing well in the Hiphop music world, I can hazard that majority of them don’t see themselves as Africans. I describe them as ‘whites trapped in black bodies.’ Some don’t even want to admit their lineage is from Africa.
As the saying goes, with God, all things are possible. So once again, will the Ghanaian (or African) Hiphop artistes like D-Black, Kwaku T, C-Real, Manifest, OJ. Blaque, Trigmatic, Kwaw Kesse, Guru, etc. ever become international music icons like Jay-Z, Chingy, Buster Rhythms, 50 Cent, etc? Let the discussion roll…..Until then…MOTWUM!!
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