Azonto is nearly dead and gone but the battle over who originated it as a mainstream genre is far from over.
The names usually bandied about include Sarkodie and E.L, who popularised it back in 2011, and also Fuse ODG, who sold the genre to the world.
But Ga artiste Odartei Milla Lamptey, more commonly known as Gasmilla, says he’s without a doubt the originator of the genre. He told KMJ on Daybreak Hitz that Ghanaians were in a hurry to attribute its origins to already established acts in order to popularise it, although he was doing much more to keep the genre alive at the time.
“I was pushing the whole brand of Azonto, I did a lot of documentaries.” Gasmilla said, noting that he faced a lot of challenges.
“Between people saying I wasn’t the originator and Sarkodie was, and then giving props to Fuse ODG because he was from ‘outside Ghana” he said, it made it impossible for him to be recognised because he “was just a young guy, [with] no money, no proper structure.”
He said people took the originator title from him to Sark because “they wanted to give it to the biggest artiste in the country at the time who was Sark[ordie] because they thought that he could actually push the movement,”
Gasmilla also said that Ghanaians have practically killed Azonto by renaming it.
“I have never given up on Azonto, you can still go and check. ‘Telemo’ is Azonto. I’m saying why did Ghanaians kill what we call Azonto and name it Afropop or Afrobeat? For me it’s not intelligent,” he added.