Rex Omar is being quite generous here in declaring Shatta ‘highlife king’, because if you listen to him carefully, he’s actually the ‘jama king’.
But then, who am we to disagree with Rex Omar?
Highlife great Rex Omar has christened ‘Dancehall King’ Shatta Wale as the new ‘highlife king’.
According to Omar, what Shatta does isn’t actually dancehall but highlife, and that he believes Shatta has taken the dancehall mantle because he wants to associate with something foreign since the Ghanaian genres are dying.
The GHAMRO President, speaking to Joy Business, said that in that sense, Wale should rechristen himself ‘Highlife King’ to lift the genre globally.
“I have listened to three or four Shatta Wale songs, beautiful songs, big hits, every aspect of the song to me, is his own creation of a new brand of highlife but he prefers to call it dancehall. He is using different instruments to play some of the elements of highlife.
“It would have been far much more beautiful. If I had my way, I would have advised Shatta Wale to be the ‘King of Highlife’ around the globe because most of the things he is doing [have] more highlife elements in [them]. Jamaicans will never accept him as a dancehall artiste but he sits in Ghana and he says he is ‘Dancehall King’ meanwhile I see him as a ‘Highlife King’,”
Strong words from Omar, who went on to say Jamaicans have been successful because they believe in what they are offering.
“Jamaica, small country like Kumasi, they believed in themselves, they’ve preserved their culture, marketed it throughout the world and … Ghanaians want to be like them,”
When asked why Shatta and other Ghanaian stars are refusing to associate themselves with Ghanaian genres, he said it was due to the inferiority complex of thinking everything foreign is good, leading to us mixing foreign elements into our music.
“[It] started during our time that is why highlife or our traditional music was diluted and we mixed funk to highlife and started calling it ‘Borga’ highlife that is where the dilution started then it went on.
“Then we see the bands started mimicking the American musicians and it went on and then now we see all the top Ghanaian artistes, even if he is playing highlife, he wants to call it dancehall or hiplife,” Rex Omar concluded.