Ghana and Nigeria are possibly the closest neighbouring country in Africa. Not in terms of geographical location but the relationship. There is this sweet siblings rivalry that goes on between the citizens of the countries.Maybe that was the reason why Afrobeats needed two origins.
Afrobeats in Ghana also started as an evolved form of Afrobeat. Remember that Afrobeats and Afrobeat are not the same?
Now, in Ghana, Afrobeat was making waves in early 1920s.They had the genre without having a name for it. Ghanaian musicians incorporated foreign influences like the Foxtrot and Calypso with Ghanaian sounds and rhythms like osibisaba which is also known as Fante. The musicians also experimented with highlife, and foreign melodies.Bands like the Jazz Kings, Cape Coast Sugar Babies, and Accra Orchestra along the country’s coast were the ones who popularized the genre.
However, it was not until the 1960s that Fela Kuti did the same thing with Nigerian melodies that the genre had a name. It was Fela Kuti who coined the name “Afrobeat”.
Soon, Afrobeat in Ghana became even better as the musicians adopted sub-genres like Hiplife; a combination of hip hop and highlife.Hiplife is also known as Ghana hip hop.
During the 1990s, hiplife was a dominant sub genre of Afrobeats. The journey of hiplife started in 1994 when Reggie Rockstone (Reginald Yaw Asante Ossei), coined, introduced and popularized the sub-genre in Ghana. Reggie is a Ghanaian rapper but he is also known as The Godfather of Hiplife. Reggie started rapping in Akan Twi and English with foreign influence and local melodies. As he hoped, the sub-genre was accepted. In 2004, he won the Kora award for for the best African video and he performed in front of a 50,000 people in Ghana, together with Shaggy.
Soon, younger musicians like Sarkodie, Shatta wale, Stonebwoy, Becca, Wendy Shay and many others followed the path of the legends. They refined Afrobeat and made many other sub-genres out of it. Sub-genres like Afrojazz, Afropop, Dancehall, Afrosoul were added to Hiplife.
Afrobeats in Ghana is like gold. They discovered a rare mineral resources and they made it pass through fire, beat it till the gold was formed and reshaped. It is satisfying to see countries embracing their creations.
Generally Africans are just talented. You may be the next star or the person to discover a new genre, so wear a face mask and stay safe. Covid-19 is real.