These guys created organic impact with visible effects among the public without abundant billboards or exaggerated P.R and marketing campaigns. This is what makes the impact so strong, true and down to the roots of the people. They created a culture and inspired movements. They broke boundaries and set new records.
- Reggie Rockstone
Started the whole youth movement that spun into a generation of rappers. His success was a ‘miracle’ as rap wasn’t really on the main entertainment menu as it was seen as foreign, and Highlife music was very dominant. He was also and remains the only rapper to keep an audience in an open space till he arrived; despite an earth tremor that shook Accra and caused panic. Reggie Rockstone commands what we call a dual respect as he is lyrically lethal in both English and Twi (Ghanaian dialect).
- Akyeame (Duo)
Ghana’s first rap duo to make rhyming in Twi and on indigenous Ghanaian Highlife rhythm attractive to not just the youth, but the elderly as well. It is argued that they were the ones who actually encouraged this after they won the first Hiplife award at the Ghana Music Awards. No wonder, one of the duo Okyeame Kwame, was invited to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology on basis of one of his rap verses to be used in their studies.
This rapper creatively and intelligently fused Akan proverbs and literary devices into rap and brought respect from many, even the elderly, to rap. It is after the release of his debut album ‘Pae Mu Ka’ that people started thinking rap could do more than talk about youthful exuberance and materialism.
He can be described as one of the greatest entertainers in Ghana, and what’s amazing is that he did that with rap. He claimed the number 1 spot as the fastest rapper in Ghana and caused a national debate on whether he was indeed the fastest in the world as he was repeatedly paired with other well known fast rappers such as Busta Rhymes. He also used Twi rap to gain international recognition from Nigeria to international stages such as the BET Awards; the highest any homegrown Ghanaian rapper has ever reached.
- V.I.P (Trio)
They brought pride to many ghetto youth as they were the first to go loud and proud about coming from the slums of Accra (Nima). This sparked one of the most energetic youth revolutions ever seen in Ghana. Their unforgettable single ‘Besin’ ushered in the Hip Hop style of dressing and ghetto love.
- Kwaw Kese
One can never talk about street culture in Ghana without mentioning his name. Kwaw Kese brought the streets alive with fans literally chasing his motorcade anytime and anywhere he went. His image and attitude embodied the true meaning of a street hustler. Hence his nick name ‘Abodam’ meaning ‘madness’. He paraded himself as lawless to conservative mindsets, but loyal to the streets. This won him numerous fans with his hardcore Fante (Ghanaian dialect) rap. He also is one of the very few Artistes to frequently use traditional Hip Hop beats for his songs. No wonder Grammy Award winner Wyclef chose to rhyme with him on a track called ‘War’.
His debut album came with a loud bang. His music videos changed music video production in Ghana and raised the bar. He made Ga rap become appreciated and welcomed by many rap fans and he is the reason many Ga Rappers feel proud to hold the microphone today.
This guy brought a style never seen before till today. He took on the image of a Ghanaian traditional priest known in local terms as ‘Okumfuor’. He fused humor with very practical tales and this made his songs popular and him one of the few artistes to dominate the airwaves during his peak. Also, his rhyme pattern was very different. He didn’t follow the usual rap rhythms, but formed his own which sounded like he was talking off the beat. But, the fans loved it. His rhyme pattern remains unique till this day.
No one thought rhyming in one of the less populated ethnic groups language namely ‘Ewe’, could make it to great stages, but Edem proved them wrong. His ferocious Hip Hop style scared many to challenge him and made him a ‘King Gorilla’ among giants in the rap jungle. His music video ‘Eba’ took Ghanaian television by storm and placed him among the greatest rappers. His maiden appearance drew mass attention to ‘ewe’ rhymes and till this day, no other ewe rapper has been able to surpass his popularity or musical achievements. Nevertheless, he has inspired many, especially the Ewes to feel proud about rapping in Ewe. Every year, he has also organizes the MTN sponsored musical festival in Volta Region which has also brought out many musical talents in the area.
Though one of the new rappers, Medikal has influenced many young rappers from their lyrics to their lifestyle. Almost every terminology you hear from a Medikal song ends up on many young people’s lips. He is arguably the father of the new school rap in Ghana. He rhymes on hip hop or Azonto beats and can make a ridiculous song a hit. He is also not afraid to go head to head on features with greats like Sarkodie. Medikal’s lifestyle has contributed to his massive followers; maybe that’s why people argued that ‘Fancy Gadam’ shouldn’t have won the new Artiste of the Year at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards because he was in the same category with Medikal. Terms like “la Hussle ooo, …” are popular in Ghana due to this rapper. He is lyrical smart and witty and this is his Hallmark.
By Jerry Wonder Sampson