New Year, Tuned Ears


2014 just waved us goodbye and boy did she serve us some memories. Last year was a great year for Ghanaian music and African music as a whole, showing an increased maturity in lyricism and production, particularly production. Of course the mediocre still exists but that thankfully seems to be taking a downhill turn.

Or maybe it’s just what I’m listening to?

Moving forward, there are a bunch of projects to look forward to this year, 2015.

Hell, Kanye just released a song dedicated to his daughter and it’s a great, heartfelt song, laced with what I hope is the aspiration of every father out there for their kids.

Top on the list for me, Sarkodie’s Mary. Considering how tightly wrapped the project was from the public, a staggering two years, I dare say Sarkodie could be a good CIA agent. I’m not excited because it’s Sarkodie, (his Rapperholic disappointed me a little too much), but because according to him, the album was recorded live. I mean, any musician who can slay a song with live instruments is epic and I think Obidi has it in him and boy I can’t wait to see that. I do hope he brings back some of that inspiring, witty and dope lyricism which catapulted him to mass appeal as I’m sure he would; he wouldn’t want to disappoint his grandma Mary now would he? Overall production credits go to Akwaboah whose work I’m unfamiliar with but look forward to exploring.

Taking a cue from live instrumentation, boy was I impressed with the Realer No hitmaker when he mounted Sabolai Radio’s stage. I expected him to go full PA but naw, he went freaking live and I loved it! I dunno what he’s got planned for the year but hey, he’s a smart lad, something great would come from the Fante rapper. Oh I’m referring to Pappy Kojo (if you didn’t already know that).

Then there’s the goddess of soul music in Ghana, Efya. She released a collection of her songs last year and I do hope she releases an album this year; it’s been too long.

Speaking of albums long overdue, last year saw Jayso release two singles, all in anticipation for his self-titled freshman album. It’s been way over due and Jayso is no rookie to Ghana’s music universe, heck, he’s a very important piece of it. His album has been a long time coming and a non-release for me will be akin to missing a chance in Nirvana for a pair of shoes, unbelievable!

2014 was an amazing year for arguably the baddest female DJ in town, DJ Keyzzz; or at least, I had an amazing experience, experiencing her amazingness (I’m confused right now). Not to stereotype but any girl that can hold her own in a male dominated circle is pretty awesome. Keyzzz isn’t all about shattering prevailing norms but rather, a true embodiment of talent. Ok maybe I’m going a little far, I’ve only seen her strut her stuff three times last year, Chale Wote, Phreak Out Live and Sabolai Radio; I’m still undecided as to my favorite Keyzzz session, Sabolai Radio or Phreak Out Live.

Ghana undoubtedly has better producers than rappers and singers put together and last year was pretty great for our ears. From electro to Hip-Hop to Hiplife infusions, Ghana’s producers sure challenged sonically, churning out tunes that beautifully complemented the artistes recording or got us busting moves. Four producers really stuck out for me and I imagine their craft is only going to get better this year and that excites me. In no particular order;

Drumroll

Yung Fly

Mike Millz

DJ Juls (Hopefully he drops Jungle Beattape IV this year)

Kobby Spiky Nkrumah (our very own Brian Tyler)

Slimbo (gotta love his bass)

Magnom

Kuvie. I think Kuvie has had such an amazing year, working with various acts like Lady Jay, E.L. and Kojo Cue. I especially look forward to what he has in store this year.

E.L., oh E.L., must I even say anything? From his mixtape release, down to his concert and all his (mostly) amazing singles, I don’t see him applying the brakes for miles to come. It was very nice of him to drop “Agbadza” on us, another Kuvie produced track with dope visuals which is a nice way to say “happy holidays, happy New Year, expect more from me”.

BBNZ label mate, Kojo Cue dropped a fire mixtape last year too, couple of months apart from E.L.’s B. A. R. tape. Honest opinion, it’s a good thing they did, because Kojo’s mixtape is too damn good for a tape and that intrigues me. I am looking forward to visuals to accompany the songs especially “Ghetto Story” and “Airmail”. An album from him would be one helluva sweet present too.

Klu is set to release a project this month. Am I excited? Nope, not really. But as yoyotinz general Selorm points out, Klu puts in a whole lot of work and I have to give it up to him; all he does is work no joke! On that note I will listen to his project and who knows, I just might curse myself for being so indifferent.

M.anifest’s “Never Feel” off his Apae album introduced me to Blackway, this impressive rapper spitting lyrics that make you ponder on being human and everything in between. With a smooth, almost addictive, psychedelic voice, complemented by interestingly mature lyrics, Blackway makes you listen, knowing how to take your mind off the beat completely and just listen. Yup, I’m definitely psyched about this guy and can’t wait to see what he records this year.

I dunno what A.I. has planned for this year but if his repertoire is any yard stick to go by, I daresay we’re gonna see a lot of him this year and hopefully a lot of videos, dope videos.

Saving the best for last (corny, I know) and diving into my bias, the most exciting project I look forward to is from Worlasi, the AfroPop, AfroBeat, HipHop artiste. I’m not sure he actually fits any of those genres but vibe with me. I’ve been familiar with his work since he started and last year really saw some growth in him and also ushered him into the performance space. He released a video for a rather comical song on Christmas (which I detest by the way), and is set to release a couple more this year. I especially look forward to his debut mixtape, scheduled to drop sometime in the middle of the year. The Ay3 Adz3 crooner who is still discovering himself and his sound would I believe, get on the country’s radar in a big way!

A really cool New Year’s gift for me came from Hobo Truffles’ Ode to Ghana playlist, pretty amazing retrospective stuff.

I just realized this whole write up is horribly skewered towards the men so please do help me out with that in the comments section. Who did I miss, who’re you looking forward to hearing (or seeing), what genres are you most excited about, which artistes rocked last year for you, who were the best performers? Leave your comments below and let’s see what everyone thinks.

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