Ghanaians and music categorization – The Big confusion among artistes. (Response to REX Omar)
Some years ago, Hip-life was a strong music genre in our country. (Now we don’t even know if people still do original Hiplife) The genre grew so fast that people began to open unnecessary branches of it that affected that sustainability of its original sound till date.
Ghanaians confused hip life with Hip hop: No, some Ghanaians wanted hip life to be our hip hop so bad they wished it was just hip hop Ghana had and not hip life.
But we know Reggie Rockstone wanted to do the USA type of music but called it Hip life. Since then every era came with its own hip life. The Hammer time, the Jay Q time, the ex- doe time, the TIC time, the NFL time, the Bukbak time, Lord Kenya, Obrafour, etc these names gave us different hip life sound at a point.
The genre was so mixed up that, a certain Crunk music, a genre Ghanaians had little idea about once upon a time dominated our music scenes as part of Hip life if not a stand alone genre but crunk did not last.
The reason why most of our genres such as hip life and Hi- life keeps getting mixed up is because there is no one story or history and there is hardly an original sound to use as reference, so every one does what they like.
Yesterday I read a post by Uncle REX Omar that said: to all those who claim to be doing Afrobeat, if it does not sound like what Fela Kuti did since he is the originator then it is not Afrobeat. (Not quoting him verbatim)
That post got me thinking, at least Nigerians do have a 80% intact one story about Afrobeat and they even have 90% pass on how Afrobeat should sound like but what about Ghana?
I am not saying that we don’t have hi-life legends, we do but what is the hi-life story and what is the true original sound of Hi life that makes it so unique for young ones to tap into and improve upon it.
Uncle REX, at least those doing the Afrobeat type of music have a referral point they can use to correct their wrong production of the genre like you saying but is ours the same.(No, I don’t think so)
It is easy for artistes to go into Afrobeat than hi-life now because they can re-produce or add up to Fela’s style. There is a certain blue prints available on how the cords, horns and kicks should sound like for it to be called Afrobeat but we don’t have a stable blue prints for our identity (HI-life)
May be instead of asking all those who do Afrobeat to sound like Fela, we can begin to fix our identity well so that it will also have one blue print that all the young people Can use to re- produce or add up.
But Uncle I thought Music is dynamic so why expect an Afrobeat song of 2019 to sound like Fela Kuti’s afrobeats of old.
Our confusion with categorizing music in Ghana is a big problem so much that every year we keep getting issues during award scheme simply because everyone has their own definition of what a certain genre should be.
(Source: Nana Yaw Wiredu, NanaYaw18)
Source: Beenie Words