The Founder of Hiplife music Reggie Rockstone, in an exclusive phone interview with Shine Publications stated that Hiplife music was among the first initiatives to reignite the musical legacy of the founder of Afrobeats Fela Kuti. He added that therefore, there was a strong relationship between Hiplife and Afrobeats even before Afrobeats gained its recent spot as a globally recognized music genre. He made this statement on Friday 22nd May 2020 from Accra. Reggie Rockstone’s comments come as timely especially now that the word ‘Afrobeats’ seems to be gaining more attention by the media.
Ghanaian music legend and the founder of Hiplife music Reggie Rockstone, debunked the idea that Afrobeats was a threat to the existence of Hiplife music. He explained that there was a strong relationship right from the inception of Hiplife and said the relevance of Hiplife music cannot be downplayed since it was Hiplife that inspired a lot of young people to go back and tap into music of their origins; even before the full development of Afrobeats. “There is a relationship between Afrobeats and Hiplife because Hiplife is what started the next emergence of Afrobeats. Before Hiplife, young people even in Nigeria weren’t doing Afrobeats. One thing people forget is that, Hiplife has strong roots in Afrobeats, because one of the first Hiplife hit songs was actually a sample from an original song by Fela Kuti; the man who is accredited for starting Afrobeats. This song was titled ‘Eye Mo De Ana?’ and sampled from Fela’s song ‘Shakara”. So before anyone moved to reignite Fela’s dream, Hiplife had already done that, because Afrobeats was already incorporated from the very inception of Hiplife music”, he explained.
Finally, Reggie Rockstone concluded saying that despite the worldwide attention and acknowledgement Afrobeats was receiving, Hiplife could never fade due to its Ghanaian roots and heritage. “Afrobeats is a bigger brand and Hiplife is homegrown. But, you can’t say Afrobeats has killed Highlife music, because Highlife is homegrown and so it’s authentic to us just like Hiplife”, he explained.
With a lot of young musicians in Ghana struggling for international recognition, the question of favourable music genres to the international audience has arisen. But, people like Reggie Rockstone believe it’s more of a question of culture and heritage.
By Jerry Wonder