When Reginald Osei, popularly called Reggie Rockstone masterminded the Hiplife movement, little did he know he was creating an avenue of limitless possibilities. Decades down the line, the genre (an amalgamation of Hiphop and Highlife) has been sustained through diverse ways, aptly through the creativity and dexterity by its crusaders.
Chicago and Ex-doe arguably raised the bar a bit higher and spurred the youth. Nananom, a group comprising of Barima Sydney, Omahane Pozo and Jotti joined the bandwagon. The boisterous Nima based group called VIP and Lord Kenya took over with their sharp lyrics. Then came in the man often regarded as the best Hiplife artiste of all time; Obrafuo. These artistes churn out hit songs that were highly appreciated and assimilated comprehensively by all.
Pundits and ‘Highlife custodians’ predicted the fall of Hiplife years ago. On the contrary, Hiplife keeps on growing and breaking frontiers. Almost all international awards chalked by Ghanaian musicians are Hiplife musicians or their works influenced by Hiplife.
Over the years, we’ve seen some variations in Hiplife; notable is hip-dia (fusion of hiplife and India rhythms) initiated by Sony Achiba. Also, Ded Buddy, now Quasi, Chemphe and Root I of music-music fame and a couple of musicians tried something new to achieve a global audience with their repertoire.
During my Senior High Education, it became a fierce battle amongst boys of my age to outdo each with a rendition of popular tunes from our favourite rappers. Thus I memorized all of obrafuor and Kontihene’s verses and vigorously spat them out—and then, I become the toast of mates, the envy of my competitors and the darling of the hot girls.
Hiplife has evolved, but its fundamentals and structure are still intact. Unfortunately, many of the early musicians found the terrain too tough and evaporated into thin air, with their music following suit. Others are still blazing the
Currently, Sarkodie and his entourage from Tema have taken over. Their songs are rotated massively on the various radio stations within and beyond the country.
So the question is, which one rocks; the new or old Hiplife and why? Which songs did you relish most and wish they were still relevant today?
What do you think of the quality of Hiplife music today compared to the days when it all started?