Dancehall as a music genre has become popular in Ghana in recent times. Ghanaians, especially the youth have embraced dancehall so much that the older generation is worried that dancehall will be the death of highlife and hiplife. However, when it comes down to what actually dancehall is, people get kind of conflicted. To some, once you get a dancehall beat and struggle to string one or two words in Patois together then you’re a dancehall artiste. Obviously, dancehall is not originally from Ghana but with the world being such a global village now more so than ever, musical appropriation is very much a thing and any group of people that embrace diversity can not insist on only sticking to what they know.
Dancehall originated from Jamaica in the late 1970s. It was a more sparse version of reggae, with its key elements being the use of Jamaican Patois and a focus on track instrumentals or “riddims”. Dancehall has gone through different stages over the years and acts like Beenie Man, Shabba Ranks, Movado, Vybz Kartel, Mr. Vegas, Elephant Man and the like have played an instrumental part in giving modern dancehall an international appeal. And because Ghanaians love to copy blindly, we now have our own version of dancehall that we’re managing with.
The likes of Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy who claim to be the kings of the genre in Ghana have contributed in boosting its popularity, even though many argue that it is really just highlife but hey, they are speaking Patois so we need to shut up and agree with them. Kaakie also made dancehall appealing to more women with her hit tracks, opening the doors for people like the late Ebony Reigns and the likes of Mzvee.
So let’s be on MzVee’s case for now. Is she really a dancehall artist? She obviously just jumped on the dancehall bandwagon to increase her fanbase because honestly there is nothing dancehall about MzVee. Echoing these very same sentiments is Gloria Fiatow Gyan, better known as Adepa, another up and coming dancehall songstress (sigh). According to this lady who is just arriving on the scene, she doesn’t consider MzVee to be a dancehall artist at all. She made this observation in an interview on SVTV Africa, saying ‘MzVee thinks she is doing dancehall but she’s rather doing burger highlife. Her songs are not dancehall at all’.
She mentioned Kaakie as her favourite dancehall artist but after the “Turn Up” hitmaker fled the music scene she has lost interest in her.