Top Ten Ghanaian Music Acts for 2018 – Kwame Gyan’s Take

It’s been a whirlwind of a year. A year that has seen some of the old hands reinforce their positions as hitmakers. It also saw some of the new breed of stars who emerged last year doing a lot to justify the hype that brought them to the fore.

Some hitmakers from the early 2000s are tried to bounce back and be relevant again: Bright (of Buk Bak), Captain Planet (4×4), Tic (formerly Tic Tac), Praye (reunited), Wutah (reunited) and a few others. The attempt at collaborating with the new breed of hitmakers has proven successful to a number of them. But they will be the first to admit that it will take a lot to peak again.

In no particular order, this is what I think are the Top 10 acts who have impressed me in 2018.

Sarkodie

I feel Sarodie is already a legend despite the fact that I get the sense he feels he has not even hit his peak yet. There are very few artists, if any, who has ensured that each year in the last 10 years, he has hit songs within the calendar year. What he has also started doing is to film various moments that have happened in his career along the way. He is creating content that will outlive him. On the musical level he remains one of the top stage performers on the continent, and also went on to drop a few hits in the year including the joint celebrating his wedding. We saw what he also did with Advice. Made a statement, went quietly away and he gained respect. All attempts at a clapback proved worthless. Hopefully some of the new acts will learn from Sark.

Sark also featured ten relatively unheard of artists in Biibi Ba. That’s one of the key ways he supported the industry. Towards the end of the year when his colleague artists had shows, he ensured he featured in as many as he could, including shows for Manifest (yes, they went beyond the beef), Kofi Kinaata, Amakye Dede, Stonebwoy, King Promise, etc. He also continued with the huge franchise, Rapperholic for the 6th consecutive year. His presence at global music shows simply lifted up his image and that of the country. Sark is the King. Simples.

Kuami Eugene

Has Kuami Eugene been the busiest artist in 2018? He probably was. He has released a lot tunes, some dope, the rest just ok, and crowned it all with his album. But he’s been busy in the studio, at shows but locally and abroad, with a string of collaborations to boot. The little issues I have with him is his penchant to sample music without giving acknowledging same. Nothing wrong with sampling, but everything wrong with denying it.

Kuami needs to up his stage performance I think. I am not too sure churning out so many songs and collaborations within such short span of time is too early for the artist. Yes a lot of reasons may go into it but one too many may also lead to some fatigue for the brand and may not allow enough time to cool the music before release. Nonetheless, Kuami Eugene has broken through to assert himself as a top act now and is clearly a contender for Artist of the Year.

R2Bees

These two lads went about their business quietly in the year but we all saw the output in Boys Kasa, Supa, We dey vibe, Over and a few other hits. In Boys Kasa they managed to create a platform for some dope, somewhat underground acts to be seen and heard. There were a few of the lads I had never heard of until Boys Kasa. The songs have also caught on quite well despite the plethora of songs that hit the country this year. The two of them know their individual strengths and they use them well.

I will not be surprised if they are nominated for Artist of the Year, and join that elite group of very few multiple winners of the accolade.

Kidi

Kidi is that kid who has not attained 25% of his potential but already has the town talking. He is immensely talented and made sure he had songs to shore up his beginnings from last year. Among the new breed of acts, he is the best stage performer though with a long way to go to reach that dizzying heights Samini has set. I saw him play live band at the 1025 Music and Laughs and he was simply sensational. Lyrically he seems diverse as well and has shown that he can work with different talents and deliver well. Listen to him on New African Girl with Fuse ODG and Kuami Eugene and Don’t Keep Me Waiting with Kwesi Arthur and that point will be very clear.

I sure hope Richie has some pretty good developmental plan for this young man and they work together to become the big acts he seems destined to be. I am also looking forward to a steady release of bangers like he has started.

King Promise

King Promise is vocally brilliant and has some exciting song writing ability. He says in Boys Kasa that he is the ‘young Daddy Lumba with a steeze’. That is a huge task to put on one’s self because DL is a huge legend. Ironically though, it appears King Promise has also taken after Lumba”s lousy stage performances. Despite Lumba’s haul of albums and songs, we know he sucks on stage. Sadly, we saw King Promise flunk a huge stage during the AFRIMA Awards event. I get the sense that he may be getting complacent a little too early. Without doubt however he is one of the brightest talents we have now and I hope he works hard to remain in the game a long time.

He has also done a lot of collaborations including that big song, CCTV with Mugeez and Sarkodie earlier last year. Later in the year he teamed up with WizKid to put out Tokyo. He had a number of smaller tours in Europe to reach out to largely Ghanaian fan bases. I maintain that he is one of the acts to put Ghana up there.

Stonebwoy

He had perhaps the most successful concert in 2018. The Bhim Concert has been lauded by fans, journalists and event organisers for living up to the billing. Others have said it saw Stonebwoy give the best performance of his career at the make-shift Fantasy Dome in Accra. Prior to that he had headlined Citi FM’s December2Remember concert.

Stonebwoy learned a lot from his mentor, Samini, and has over time become a total joy to watch on stage as he performed with a live band at his concert in a way that subtly raised the beef he has wth Shatta Wale. I have said before that Stonebwoy is one of the select group of artists that will blow up and take Ghana music thoroughly global. He has also remained relevant since he arrived on the scene and that simply has enhanced his image.

Kwesi Arthur

He raps. He sings. He does both with some ease and a unique sense of style. Kwesi Arthur wants to create a niche for himself and you can tell he is working hard at it. He has worked with R2Bees this year on Boys Kasa, Manifest in Feels, and so on. In all these songs, he brought on a style that made him stand out while at the same time making the song gel in it’s own special way. He is clearly one took at going forward.

Some folks may be disappointed that he is doing a lot of singing lately than rapping but I think that’s the dexterity to his craft and it is a beauty listening to the young man.

Shatta Wale

He has had a good year – just like many of the last 5. He had good hype for his album launch and as always created a stir with his antics, both on beats and elsewhere. Shatta is no doubt one of the biggest artists in Ghana if not the biggest. He has over the year courted needlessly controversy (as always) and made some of his colleagues not to be happy with him leading to a few diss songs. His shenanigans on social media, including that reckless behaviour of exposing either his manhood or that of one of his ‘hommies’ during a sexual action on his Snap Chat. He had a back and forth with fellow dancehall artist Stonebwoy with Shatta literally accusing his colleague of things that got him riled up. Then there was that very popular Advice Sarkodie served him.

Shatta also featured briefly on the Billboard chart with his Reign album and that was a big deal – and rightly so. I am unable to tell how well the album is doing but he sure had been busy with concerts both home and abroad and has kept us entertained, whiles making money for himself. As a friend once said, Shatta is his own man and has been riding on a massive following for a while now. But just may be, it seems that invincibility is gradually wearing off. This is Shatta we are talking about so he may just do something unexpected to continue remaining relevant.

Wendy Shay

On the local scene it appears the most visible female artist we had in 2018 was Wendy Shay. Molded into the Bullet/Ruff Town Records fraternity, she has had a number of songs released in the year, and as expected, they are all sexually suggestive. I uave said previously that i feel Wendy Shay is struggling to fit into the shoes tragically left behind by Ebony almost a year ago. Most people continue to see her as someone struggling to be like the late star. I am not sure it’s working yet.

She had a pretty good year. I didn’t see her concert and didn’t read much about it. She also had a situation where a simple ‘Who is Wendy Shay’ got her upset because she thinks we should all know who she is. She was also on stage at D2R and it appears she did what she could but her stagecraft needs to be worked on as the audience didn’t seem to be too excited with her. She loves what she is doing. A little encouragement and perhaps a shake up in her creative output may be of help

Medikal

Ignore his love shenanigans. Ignore his source of wealth (just for now). May be ignore hiis shoulder bag as well. Medikal is a good rapper and has come out as good artist. I had tipped him for a number of awards two years ago but that didn’t happen but he has continued to do well in his chosen genre. He has also been on a number of hits in the year under review.

Medikal is a young man. It appears he didn’t expect to become famous this quick and he is living the dream. His sensational break up and subsequent hitching of another industry person seems to have excited him a great deal. Those things are his business by the way. We simply will focus on his music and wish him well.

Notable Artists: Wiyaala, Manifest, Le Meme Gang, DarkoVibes, etc

Wiyaala:

She’s sadly better known for her craft and music outside of Ghana than here. We saw her at her best during the AFRIMA. When a number of acts flunked their 10 minutes on continental TV, we were witnesses to what Wiyaala did. Her brand of music is also one that international audiences perhaps appreciate more and associate with us as well.

Manifest:

He’s been on his grind working with new acts and churning out those bars that he is so well noted for. Perhaps a few, bigger hits from him will see him comfortably perched among the top 10 for the new year. He had a good show end of the year. Didn’t hear much about his tours this year though.

Le Meme Gang, DarkoVibes and the New Lads:

I call them new largely because they are just breaking through with some commercial recognition. Knowing how this industry works, these guys may have been working real hard over the years but are now getting the chance to break up through. R2Bees and Sarkodie and Stonebwoy should be commended for getting them on songs that has brought them to the fore.

Conclusion

Ghana Music is growing. The next level conversation deserves a while new piece and we will see how that will pan out this year. Issues of promotions, roles of DJs, roles of radio and TV stations and media in general, appropriateness of ‘beats’ for both the Ghanaian and international markets are some of the key points that may be mentioned. We have made good strides and it’s important to celebrate the little successes.

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We are better than this!

You thought Politics was, or will be what will destroy this country one day? Well, folks, Religion may do worse IF we are not careful. Sane people lose their sanity when it comes to religion – even though they may be the worse culprits in not adhering to the tenets of the very religion that makes them go crazy. We may want to pretend the under currents of religion are not as strong. But they are.

First of, I am not a supporter of these prophesies that have become like telenovelas that get aired once a year on December 31. I am not equipped in the works of the Spirit to identify charlatans and those that pretend to do His work and those who truly do His work. I won’t pretend I know. I often will use my common sense to decipher what I hear and move on with my life. I have had prophesies made about me before. Some I believed. Others I did not. It’s religion. It’s about faith. Beliefs. The individual. If you don’t believe, you don’t.

That does not however give anyone any reason to break the laws of the land. Nothing justifies that. If you do not believe in what he has said, why can you not ignore him? News Flash! Not every Christian believes him nor the many others that speak of deaths and things that are more to the negativity than the positive.

Some of my Muslim brothers, some of whom I respected for their intellect, without a care about their religious beliefs, are out fanning indiscipline and endorsing violence because a pastor of a faith they do not believe in has suggested that the leader of their faith will kick the bucket. Again, let me reiterate, you do not have to believe him if you don’t. Many of us do not. We just ignore him and live our lives. To fuel this lawlessness in the name of radicalism and whatever motivations the learned ones among you are leading the not so learned is sad – very sad.

Worse, some of you are mixing religion with politics. It is at this point that I wonder what your true motives are – the mention of your religious leader, or the fact that the pastor in question has made his support for a certain party public? I would be happy if we left the politics out. Every political party in this country is made up of people from different religions, etc. It therefore makes no political sense to even drag this along those lines.

Should we as a people find a way to deal with religion and all its attendant challenges in a more holistic manner? Yes we should. Until then we should not be seen to be encouraging lawlessness and behaviours that simply drag us back and sow seeds of division, fear, hatred, and backwardness in our Lives.

Happily, there are some voices out there that are discerning and rising about the needless radicalism and partisan-infused encouragement of behaviours that are inhumane, non-Ghanaian.

We are better than this. Way better.

PS:
Personally I make friends and see people without any care of their religion, race, sexual preferences, gender and any such descriptors – all I see is a human being. The rest may come later. Whiles at Legon, one of my three closet friends was Muslim. He became a part of my Christian family and all that mattered was our friendship. We will not eat a meal of pork together if Al-Saad was around because of his religion. We will not arrange any activities that required us all together on Friday afternoon because he had to go to the Mosque.

That respect was there and we remained brothers till Allah called him home. I was not in town when he passed. But guess what, my elder sister into whose family he got accepted went to his funeral on the Sunday he was buried – yes, she left Church to go for his funeral.

If we can’t look beyond religion to see the humanity in us then what is the point of praying to a God or Allah everyday? We are human beings first. That should matter in one way or another.

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Life!

I am at that stage of my life where it feels like a borderline of sorts. Borderline to a number of things – both professional and personal, but especially personal. Through it all, I have come to appreciate friendship. I have come to appreciate trust. I have come to understand love in a way I feel I always knew, just this time it is a little different, a little warm, a little intimate.

I am out of town for a couple of weeks ( and here I mean couple as in two), with a brother and confidant and friend. Avi is Indian with Ghanaian blood. A smart, kind, warm human being. Over the two week period we visited Rwanda and Kenya where in both places we were met with friends and made some exciting new ones. John was our guy in Rwanda. I had met John back in 2012 or so when we both managed the football property at Airtel. In Kenya, I met Paul and Tony whom I have known since 2014, again in Rwanda on Airtel duties. The friendships were built via a common WhatsApp group I created in 2013 which still remains active.

Whiles hanging out with Tony – a genius creative mind who is into branding and advertising and entertainment, it dawned on me yet again, but this time stronger, just how life brings people together and how strong the power of friendship heals, mends and develops lives, careers, and life.

Beyond the conversations on how to assist ourselves develop ourselves and network for our professional lives, there was a deeper warmth in knowing that some people can stand up with you and for you and welcome you into their homes and lives and the intimate pieces of sadness they live with, and how they fight to turn them around.

Life’s all about living life and making the best out of yourself and the human beings you have around you; those you call friends and those you know you can count on. The imperfections in my life and the various seemingly delayed timelines that made me feel a bit less sometimes are smothered out and I feel alive.

To:
Wambui, Tony, Shani, Cynta, Paul, John, Avi, Henry, Jake, Winnie, Diane, Pendu, Bosire, Pauline, Eli Kwasi, Cherum, DNA – Thank You.

KG.
Friday September 28, 2018
02:15AM
Riara Road
Nairobi, Kenya.

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GH Comedy Makes Huge Strides as Foster, Lekzy, James Brown, Jacinta hold their own at 1025 Music and Laughs

When Charterhouse started what has become part of Ghana’s entertainment calendar several years ago, GH acts deservingly were not minded at all at the 1000 Laugh series. I say deservingly because the lads were simply not pulling their weight enough and it made sense to side step them especially when organisers had to balance attraction of performers with patronage of the shows.

But not anymore!

On December 26, just as the renaissance began a few years ago, the GH Comedians proved that they had what it takes to make their own country people laugh. Such was their performance that the combined experiences of Seyi Law, Bovi, Akpororo and Kenny Blaq didn’t come across as wow as they really were. Most of these gentlemen and Lady (hi Jacinta) are friends and I tell them in the face of over the phone when they don’t deliver well enough. When they do, I let them know. Guys, you did it!

Foster Romanus

Foster is a multi-talented entertainer. He proved that once again. Coming off his first organised stand up, Romanus Incomplete, and hosting the much publicised MTN Carol Festival, Foster was at his singing best as he sang a few gospel melodies right after Joe Mettle’s performance and doing a Samini tune in a way Samini may have envied. I had heard some of his jokes at his show but they still worked for me, and the audience loved his delivery as well.

I think Foster is thinking of getting into music. He may not know it yet or admit it just yet, but he is so good and performs so well it will be a surprise if by same time next year he does not have a single out. Samini is obviously his mentor so let’s see.

Lekzy the Comic

Lekzy had the biggest applause of the night I think. He started a bit wobbly but picked up quickly enough to serve some good material. His initial jokes were old jokes but he moved on to new materials that caught on incredibly well with the audience. You could tell that as his time wore on, his confidence was enhanced. I felt truly proud hearing all the laughter and seeing the smiles across the faces of the audience.

Lekzy and the rest of the guys have been busy doing shows across the country and that has contributed to their growth I think. Having that big stage is clearly a booster and I am sure we haven’t seen their best yet.

Jacinta

It is a hard job to be a comedian in Ghana. It is a harder job to be a comedienne in Ghana. She had a tough job coming after the experienced and insanely funny Seyi LawLaw. Jacinta nonetheless gave a commendable performance picking her punches carefully and blending the Nigerian in her with Ghanaian side. She is still perfecting that style of using a child-like, feeble voice to convey her lines – the way Helen Paul used to do. I found those moments very hilarious as well.

With some more work and research and improved material, Jacinta will be absolutely enthralling to listen to going forward.

ID James Brown

Sadly I missed James Brown’s performance. From what I gathered, he did remarkably well. I had seen at Romanus Incomplete and he was not bad at all. His slow pace of talking and keeping a straight face in itself is hilarious.

Kidi and Joe Mettle

Kidi performed a number of his hits – all via live band. He did it so well and with such awesome stagecraft and audience engagement that you’d think he’s been doing music at this level for anything but two years.

Brilliant display.

Brilliant control of the band.

Brilliant voice control.

Brilliant audience engagement.

Joe Mettle is a favourite gospel musician of mine. He is a natural at what he does and he takes the audience to church and back whether or not they wanted to.

Our Brothers from Nigeria

It was fun seeing Bovi, Seyi Law, Kenny Blaq and Akpororo. Yes, I had heard some of their jokes before but you know how a good joke can make you laugh no matter how often you’ve heard it. Plus, perhaps the biggest weapon these guys have is not necessarily their material, but their deliveries. They do that very well, and with the occasional refreshing of content, they give a good show. That’s what has made them relevant and will continue to see them travel across Africa and the World to make people laugh.

Rounding Up: New materials needed ASAP

I know it’s a very difficult process in getting material for comedy. As one of them said some time back, musicians do not have to get a new song each time they mount the stage, but comedians are expected to get new material each time. Getting that new content is what a number of our folks have been struggling with.

We know how often we have heard almost the same joke from a number of them for so long. Some of them have been unable to get new material and have simply dropped the mic to focus on o that things aside stand up. That’s simply how hard it is. But it is not an impossible task. I have heard some jokes from folks like Trevor Noah and Kevin Heart for so long you’d think that’s all they have. But when they realise they have overused a joke, they bounce back and with new material, stay afloat again.

Good comedians are good observers. They read. They research. They are creative people, or ought to be creative people. I was speaking to one of the GH Acts and the idea of using Ghost Writers came up. Not everyone can be funny with a mic in their hands. But there are people who can develop the material for the comedians to use. Perhaps it’s time that sector is also explored. Nothing wrong with comedians opening themselves up for suggestions in that regard.

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Praye shows oldie still goodie as they steal show at Citi FM’s December2Remember (D2R2018)

It’s been christened the official Christmas party and that’s just how it turned out on Christmas Eve as Citi 97.3 FM continued with its traditional D2R concert at the now beat-down Accra International Conference Centre.

The line up was very enchanting and creative as the team made sure it had a fair blend of the stars from 10 to 15 years and even 20 years ago to the new kids on the block.

Tic (he removed the Tac from his name)
Praye (back after their break up)
Tinny (made a cameo on a Praye joint)
Wutah (made a cameo on same joint)
Coded of 4×4 (made a cameo on a Praye joint)
Stonebwoy
Yaa Pono
Kidi
Kuami Eugene
Adina
Wendy Shaw
Article Wan
Eddie Kay
Sister Debbie

Sold out concert

Congratulations to the team at Citi FM. They pulled off a spectacular show. Tickets got sold out 3 days before the show. As usually folks decided to chase tickets when they knew they wouldn’t get some. May be Citi FM should consider using a bigger auditorium for 2019. Fantasy Dome, may be? Just so a lot more people could have the chance to party.

Praye stole the show

The trio had made the near-fatal mistake of breaking up years ago after they had thrilled Ghananians for a number of years. Whoever told them they’d succeed as solo artists lied to them. Even Praye Honeho who seemed to be the creative genius and the glue of the team didn’t quite have what it takes to succeed as a solo artist.

At D2R, they were on fire to dish their hits from 10, 12 years ago and the songs simply lit up the 34° furnace of an auditorium. It may have been the feeling of nostalgia the songs brought but the audience simply loved it and I am sure the lads felt motivated and told themselves ‘guys, this is us!’. The climax for me was when they had Tinny and Wutah come on stage to do the remix to none of those hits. The crowd still loves those two to bits and it was evident.

Praye simply stole the night. If they get back to working hard again, they will reclaim their spot in the industry. The goodwill is there and their old hits is there to prop them up. May be they can start by doing remixes of the old. What we say on the night was simply amazing and we missed them a lot.

Kidi and Kuami Eugene show growth

I have said at some point that Kidi and Kuami Eugene (in addition to King Promise) are the future of GH music and they proved that last night. Clearly their stagecraft have improved over the past few months. They have been on a lot of shows over the past year and thisbwas evident yesterday. They controlled their performances and engaged with the audience beautifully. Having a lot of hit songs over time has also boosted their confidence on stage and it was great seeing the crowd react to them.

If they keep up like this and learn a thing or two on stage performances from say Samini, they will be right up there.

Tic and Kojo Akoto Boateng

Tic was not so huge 20 years ago. But he was up there and played in the league of Obrafour and Lord Kenya. He wants those days back. Clearly. He has done a remix of Kwani Kwani with Kuami Eugene and it seems to be doing well. I could at D2R though that quite a number of people in the audience didn’t even know the song is a remix. It was cool seeing Kuami come in to do the hit and lead up to his on own act.

What was also exciting was seeing Citi FM’s Kojo Akoto Boateng do the Obuor rap on one of Tic’s songs. Kojo has a thing for music and it was cool seeing him on stage with his big head flowing away almost effortlessly.

Stonebwoy

Samini trained Stonebwoy. Samini is by far the best stage performer in Ghana. His prodigy learned well. Stonebwoy never disappoints and he brought his A-game on as the headline artist for the 2018 D2R. What Stonebwoy does so well is not to mime but truly sing. He has a DJ that plays to his style and you can be assured of a true performance once the Bhim President takes the stage.

Adina had a bad night

Adina usually has a rich, unique voice. But she seems to struggle at D2R. Seemed she had a sore throat and was struggling to sing. Whatever it was, I have seen her better. I think an artist should treat every performance or show as a stand alone and seek to do his or her best. If for some reason you can’t perform well because of ill-health or whatever it is, better to pull out than give your audience a performance that truly is below par per your own standards.

Wendy Shay! Wendy Shay!!

Where do i start from! Well, it is hard not to think of the matter that she is trying to, or looking like, an Ebony-Wannabe. May be its a Bullet/RuffTown thingy where the music must be gospel melody-turned secular tunes, sex-laced with the performer clad as sexually as possible. So may be she must fit that profile whiles signed to the label. At D2R, the fans didn’t seem so enthused. She performed well. Danced well. Didn’t sing much. Talked much. She did enough to have had the audience mind her. But that didn’t seem to happen.

May be we are yet to accept her for who she really is. May be people are tired of Bullet? I don’t know. Wendy has been the most outstanding female artist this year however.

Shall we discuss the Conference Centre….again?

The central AC has not worked there for months – sorry, years. The mobile air conditioners do not simply make sense because for an auditorium like that, the only AC system that makes sense is a central AC.

I used to think the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was in charge of the Conference Centre. But I am told the Conference Center is part of the facilities under the Controller of Presidential Household, Jubilee House (together with Peduase, State House and Independence Square).

Event organisers are charged something in the region of 25K per night to use the venue. Yet, aside the malfunctioning AC, the toilets are also almost always dirty and as seen from December 24, a number of broken sinks and urinals as well, and until recently, torn and worn out seats.

With all the money they make, it’s annoying and depressing how we can’t maintain that building. Seems the curse of ‘it’s for government’ has caught up with it as well.

Shame.

Let’s end on a good note, shall we?

It was fun, to put it simply. Good crowd. Venue not outrageously over filled, very exciting performances from all including Yaa Pono and Eddie Kay. DJ Armani who has been the event DJ for D2R for a number of years now was in scintillating form as well. Bash, the comedian was around to do his thing and it all added up nicely. AJ and OK did a decent job in hosting the night. All in all, D2R2018 lived up to its billing.

©Kwame Gyan

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Rapperholic2018 was a Disaster: This is Why!

I was absolutely disgusted by Sarkodie’s December 25th concert – Rapperholic. Since 2012 when the annual event started, the 2018 version is the worse in its history. I have been to all but one of the previous editions. Let me try and break down.

Ticketing

Flawed ticketing is at the crux of the mess at this year’s show. Clearly organisers sold more tickets than they knew the Conference Centre could take. I had a VIP ticket but could not go beyond the gate of the auditorium. That was how packed the venue was at 9pm. I am told that there was commotion earlier which led to fans breaking down the door to enter the auditorium. What that meant was that regardless of the ticket type that people had, they simply sat wherever they pleased.

The folks at the gate also didn’t destroy tickets after handing bracelets to people. My suspicion is that they sold them back through the black market.

Even perhaps more scandalous was the tweet from Sarkodie himself earlier that they had printed more tickets for those who had not gotten tickets. First of, that showed that they didn’t care about matching tickets to auditorium capacity and I find that very irresponsible.

Respect for Audience

Organisers of Rapperholic, Big Ideas and Event Factory, had no regard, respect and consideration for patrons and fans. By selling many more tickets than the Conference Centre could take, it meant audience safety and comfort was thrown to the dogs. People who had purchased so-called VIP tickets for 200 cedis were confined to standing in the aisle or to go fetch plastic chairs with the hope that they will find a place to put them and sit – most didn’t find the chairs and those that did, they had no space to place them to sit on.

Event organisers took audience respect back to the Stone Age and they didn’t give a hoot about the consequence. How do you charge patrons for a service and not offer that service?

That Lousy apology from Nana Aba Anamoah

“Concert de3, enoa ne Rapperholic (The only concert there is, is Rapperholic) and everyone wants to be here”.

That was how Nana Aba attempted an apology. I pitied her because she was torn being a journalist who takes authorities on for what they do or fail to do, and being a Sark fan and introducer of the rapper. But that clearly was a lousy statement and the apology that followed was just as lame. I expect Sarkodie to apologise for the shambolic organisation, and as well, demand an immediate review of what caused all that – including his own involvement with that tweet that announced the printing of more tickets.

Show should have been shut down over safety consideration

See, we take a lot of things for granted in this country. We are waiting until a tragedy occurs as a result of overcrowding before we pretend to care and take action. I know that permits are often sort from the Fire Service and Police for events of this calibre. The Fire Service should have ordered for the closure of the event over safety consideration. A venue meant to take say 2000 people had twice that number and yet we made it go on.

If an accident had occurred and lives lost or people injured, we would have now come forth speaking English and pretending we had no idea it was that bad. One day we will not get that lucky and the blood of our people will be on the hands and conscience of people.

Authorities must be up and doing with their job. When event organisers learn that they stand a chance of getting shows shut down over safety concerns, they will be sensible in their planning, ticket sales and all that. As it stands now, we have rich event organisers and tired patrons who had a horrid experience at a show they should have had mad fun.

A bigger venue a must, or re-define concert

Sarkodie is a rapper. Rap largely goes with standing and bouncing and nodding the head and all that. But when you just an event at a place like the Conference Centre, you are combining seating with standing. But even the Stadium has a limit on how many people it can accommodate. When you decide to pack many people than the venue can take, then you are in trouble.

I am reliably informed organisers had considered the Fantasy Dome. But for some reason opted out of it. If Sarkodie wants a concert where as many of his fans can attend, then he should not host it at the Conference Centre going forward.

Sark’s fans are loyal enough to follow him to any venue he decides, including the Stadium. It’s not rocket science. If for some reason it’s the Conference Centre he wants, then he should abide by common sense and sell tickets that do not outnumber the capacity of the venue.

Event not fit for TV

A friend of mine with expertise in TV production and the various aesthetics involved tells me that the show lighting was not considered for television. Dark spots all over the stage and its a ‘crime’ in television language to have black on screen.

LED screen graphics were also generic. They were almost what the presets that come with the system being used over and over again. Nothing was designed to suit any artiste performance or their songs. So obviously no coordination with the song, lights and graphics. No story being told.

It was as if the show was an afterthought and the team just dressed up on the evening of December 25 and just walked into the Conference Centre. You didn’t need to be an expert to realise this. I was personally looking forward to how

Yes, these may not be Sarkodie’s fault but it was his show so ultimately the pluses and minuses will be laid at his door step. For the TV part we must blame the folks at Fiesta TV who shot this for dstv. It sucked on TV and this was a chance for them to prove what they are worth buy they flunked it. They succeeded in carrying the mess at the venue straight on to TV when ideally a TV produced show out to be better for the consumer than those in the auditorium.

Sarkodie’s Performance was below par

I have Sarkodie perform a lot of times. I have seen him at Rapperholic a lot of times. This was no where near an A-class performance. Not even a B-class. Perhaps a good C-class. He could have done better. He does better all the time. Sarkodie seemed to forget his lyrics, mis-timed his breathing, mimed too much and was simply out of sorts.

Additionally I expected a lot more verve and creativity in his delivery. I looked forward to how Sarkodie and the ten newbies were going to perform Biibi Ba. See how dope the video is and how tight the punchlines in that song is? Did that performance come anything close to it? Nope.

Then we had a choir of 12 or so who had 4 microphones that were in the hands of four people. Clearly they were not singing but made to look as though they were.

We also had the issue of poor performance arrangements which had other acts in between his performances without necessarily linking up to his act.

Disgrace to the Sarkodie Brand and Ghana

I feel the Sarkodie Brand suffered an image damage yesterday. I feel Ghana suffered an image damage yesterday. Sarkodie is our biggest rapper. He is our biggest musical export to the world. This show did not give credence to the big boy Sarkodie is. People watched it on TV and left with an impression that Ghana TV production sucks and Ghanaian artist suck at performances. I expected a lot more from this show.

Conclusion

I remain a huge fan of Sarkodie and I am looking forward to Rapperholic2019. Hopefully the team looks beyond the loads of pretentious praises and focus on the few, hardened criticism to improve on it for next year.

©Kwame Gyan

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People in our Lives

(Inspired by NYS)

Some folks pass through our lives for a season
Some folks pass through our lives seasonally
Some folks pass through our lives all seasons

The challenge is:

Knowing which ones have passed through for that one season;

Knowing which ones have passed through now and may make a return;

Knowing those that are with us and will continue to be with us….regardless.

Once we figure out where each person belongs we will then:

Better manage the disappointment of people seemingly haven used us;

Better manage the reality of those who will walk in and out whenever they please;

Better manage and appreciate those who are in our lives for the long haul.

Step back, look, and you’d place each person where they fit.

Kwame Gyan
22-12-18
2331GMT

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Borgers Akwaaba; Herewith is your guide to Bronya in Ghana

Shouts to all of you from Obimanso. Ya fe mo paaa. We miss you more than you miss the boys and girls you left us with last year. Whiles here, we have politely pieced these guidelines to make your stay as effortless as catching a bus in Obimanso instead of the hustle of catching a trotro.

1. We know you are here. We know it when we see you. Please spare us the huge signboards directing us to you – the accent, the long boots, the overly short clothes, and the needless ‘innit’ and ‘ya know wha I mean’.

2. The guys, when you come and start to deal with your Ghana girls, have common sense and don’t spoil the market for the rest of us. Don’t mess our sex lives up with your two-week misbehavior. You are here for two weeks; we are here for 52 weeks and change.

3. The girls, please let me tell you – there are very very very nice girls here paaaa walahi. So if you think you will come and flex us saaaa be steady wai. After all you are here for 2 or 3 weeks so what’s the point in stretching us for 2 weeks giving us just 2 or 3 days to enjoy the fruits of our perseverance. Gogo yourselves and let us show you GH loving papa paaaaa.

4. The boys, again, be careful you hear? We won’t tolerate those your things where you come and use our girls and leave without saying good bye. The least you can do is to leave them all your Cedi notes and add some five £1 notes.

5. Don’t come and tell us you miss green soup, or akple or tuo zaafi. No one asked you to travel. If food was important to you, you would have stayed.

6. Stop acting like the sales attendants at Primark and dem shops do not know you by face and name. Stop that habit of comparing the prices of everything you want to buy and disturbing us about costs. Massa, it’s not as if prices of things are low everywhere you in your Obimanso. Do you always enter a designer shop? Fior.

7. Every year we talk about that your irritating Yankee or British accent that you bring into this town. See, lose that accent before you enter the Ghana airspace. No, in fact, lose it at the immigration of the country you are coming from before you get onto the tarmac. See, we know you ooo. We know you can speak to us pepeeepe so don’t come trying to do that rubbish. What! For the last time, once again, before you come here to speak English in a way that will have us asking you “pardon, pardon, pardon”. See, Kofi Annan stayed in New York longer than you but he spoke normal English. In fact, if you start that your nonsense accent, we will insult you.

8. If by now you don’t know, let me remind you: the temperature from where you came from is anything between -2° and 9° and tins. Here, you will be lucky to get 24° at night. Yes, same as when you were born here and the last time you came to town. So stop it already.

9. I beg ooo, some of our ladies will still ask you to pay the taxi fare or Uber or Taxify when they visit. You will also pay for the return trip. Does not matter if she came to pick up the things you bought her from Obimanso or she had multiple orgasms while you probably had none. Oh and if you want to get ‘some’ again, don’t you dare tell them that the girls in Obimanso don’t do that.

10. Please Ebony passed sadly. Her manager recruited her replacement even when her body was still warm. The New Ebony is doing all she can to be relevant. Please support her. She has some naughty songs out there, and she does not like wearing bra and has one of those pointed nipples that push out of blouses so check her out.

11. Don’t make up your mind that you are coming to use anyone here. We have already taken that position. Be the one to be used. Or we can agree to use each other, no wahala.

12. Please stop ordering us to wait for you at Kotoka International Airport (KIA) a whole two hours before the projected touch down of your flight. You know you have been doing this almost every year or once every two years and we don’t like it. Even if we don’t meet you, have you forgotten the way to your homes? Hoh!

13. Still about Airport, be careful what you say about our brand new, state of the art Airport. We like it a lot paaa, even if Schipol and Heathrow and JFK make it look like some small ordinary airport.

14. Please when you get into town, leave your jacket and winter boots in your house until you are dressing up to head back to KIA and away to wherever you are doing your ‘any work’. We know the weather back in your abrokyire is cold but don’t be a villager to wear fur coats in our 32° weather. Eye nkurasesem paaa. And yes, it is hot here.

15. We know you are making money in Obimanso. We also know that you pay plenty tax. And some of you still owe the visa contractor who did your connection for you so your cash level no shada dey up. Don’t come and spend all the money you have saved buying champagne in clubs and spreading people like your father is Mugabe or Dangote. If you do the too known and go back, we won’t send you kapreba. Yoooo!

16. If you bought something for someone last year and you come and you see him or her still wearing it, you don’t need to shout and say “eei you are still wearing these jeans I bought from Next? Efata wo paaa ooo”. Please, we know you still have jeans you bought 5 years ago. We know before you left you wore clothes saaa until they were tired of alterations so stop that nonsense. You like that!

17. As we told you last year, and the year before, we are not villagers like that oo. You can’t buy as £2 and $5 shirts and tops and expect us to roll on the floor in excitement. We know it when what you give us is cheap. Oh we will say thank you. But don’t expect us to behave as if you just gave us a Saville Row suit or an Armage cologne.

18. Please we know what the exchange rate is. We know. We don’t need the needless reminder. We also know that you know the exchange rate. Stop the too known and come and melt your euros and pounds and dollars in peace. Stop that!

19. News flash: Takoradi too has a Mall. Yaaaaaayi! And yes, yen bredas and sistren rushed into the mall as though there were expensive freebies to be given away. We thank God there was no stampede.

20. While you are here, remember that in Ghana, whatever the government says, the opposition must oppose, and they must not necessarily oppose with suggestions.

21. Every year we tell you this but some of you have made your ears as hard as Francis Doku’s forehead so you don’t listen. We will keep saying it. Please don’t forget your malaria prophylaxis else your gluteus muscle will have to bear the pain of artemether in a G25 needle without an analgesic; your only consolation will be” sorry 3y3 wo ya? Kafra.. Kafra.. 3b3 k) wa.

©Kwame Gyan

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Say No to Ethnocentric Mongering Bigots 

​Like play like play we are allowing tribalism to rear its ugly head in our lives? You think it’s only in politics and in the run up to the elections eh? 
Wait until your boss at work starts to harass you because you are that tribe and not this one. 
Wait until you walk into a club, pub, restaurant and because you are that tribe and not this tribe you are treated worse than a used diaper from a baby with diarrhoea. 
Wait until the next girl or guy you ask out rub it in your face over how she simply can’t be with you because you are that tribe and not this tribe.
Wait until at the very last stage of a job interview some other tribalistic bigot denies you a role you are best fit for because you are this tribe and not that tribe.
Wait until your 7 year old returns from school and asks you, “Daddy, Mummy why did Ms. Bouquet tell me that my tribe people are useless”; simply because you are this tribe and not that tribe.
Wait until the market woman refuses to sell you her wares because you are this tribe and not thst tribe.
Just wait.
These politicians need you to retain them in power or to vote them into power. That’s all they care about and they will stop at nothing in getting that Vote. So what they are doing is to hit our heads together. 
When you pause and think about what they say and the examples they give you will realise it makes absolutely no sense. But we have allowed them to toy with our brains such that we fail to use them. We have ceded our rights to think to them and they are toying with them as they please.
Look around you….
How many of your friends or the people you know are not from that tribe they tell you hates you, or they tell you to hate? How many times haven’t you shared a laughter, a drink, a seat, a suggestion, a meal or a tear with that person whose tribe you have been told is second class, arrogant, worthless? 
You didn’t have an Ewe teacher ever? 

What about an Akan one? 

A Ga one?

A Northern one?
They even make us call some people NORTHERNERS! Is that a tribe? Do we have a tribe called Northerners in Ghana? Oh or we have SOUTHERNERS as a tribe too?
You have read this epistle. You understood it. Meaning you have some good level of education. Imagine you the one with education who has read and understood this falling for this nonsense….
Now what should those without education and a fair mix of social interactions through primary school, junior high school, senior high school, university/tertiary do? You lived with people of all tribes through school and know that tribes mean or should mean little, but you fan ethnocentric behaviour. What will those without school do.
Think of your life after December 7th and say no to Ethnocentric Mongering Bigots.

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Woodin’s ready-to-wear ‘Fusion’ collection and my ‘love affair’ with Berla Mundi 

I like Berla Mundi. In fact, I like her enough to have proposed to her once. And guess what? She said yes.

Snap out of it now. I am already married and I am not Muslim and the proposal was one of the fun things that happened at the wedding of my kid brother and friend Giovani Caleb a few months back – it’s amazing the sort of things we do at weddings these days. Anyways.

So back to Berla Mundi. Woodin got my attention when they announced that she was going to be the Ghanaian ambassador for their new range of funky, ready-to-wear apparel appropriately christened ‘Fusion’. It says in the tags of the Fusions that it ‘is created in limited edition for you, in the best workshops in Africa; Patterns from our heritage are redrawn in a harmonious mix of African colours’.
I have become a bit of a mixed personality towing both the #godMC style of Manifest and the #KingSark movement of Sarkodie. Well if you are not onto Ghana’s urban culture, all I am saying is that I have come to like the Western suit and tire in much the same way that I have come to like wearing African prints in the shirt, kaftan or fugu forms. Having to buy an off the shelf shirt designed neatly with indigenous African prints from down here in Ghana or anywhere across the continent does it for me especially as I am not a fan of visiting the unreliable Ghanaian tailor to sew a shirt.

I got me a few Fusion shirts and the plaudits from those who are already into wearing apparel like that and people who hitherto wouldn’t think of putting on anything with prints like that tell me that I am in good company thus far.

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