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African Artists At The Grammys: Angélique Kidjo, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Rocky Dawuni & Jidenna Earn 2016 Nominations

Angélique Kidjo, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Zomba Prison Project, Rocky Dawuni, and Jidenna have all been nominated for 2016 Grammys.

Angélique Kidjo at the 2015 Grammys. (Photo courtesy of Angélique Kidjo)


The 2016 Grammy nominations have been announced and a few of our favorite artists have made the cut.

Renowned Beninese singer and activist, Angélique Kidjo, is once again nominated in the “Best World Music” category for her album Sings. Kidjo took home the award last year–with an exceptionally graceful speech—for her album EVE and also in 2008 for Djin Djin.

South African all-male chorus Ladysmith Black Mambazo are also contenders for the “Best World Music" award for their album Music From Inala. This is the group’s 16th nomination in a career that has spanned over 50 years. Their most recent win was in 2013 when they received the award for their album Live: Singing For Peace Around The World. The Zomba Prison Project, an album conceived of by American writer and producer Ian Brennan (Tinerwan, TV On The Radio) and comprised of recordings by prisoners at the Zomba Central Prison located at the border of Malawi and Mozambique, is also nominated in the category.

Though we’re excited for the nominees, we’re still side-eyeing The Grammys’ continued use of ‘World Music’ as an all-encompassing tag for all non-Western music of blatantly different genres. One in which, this year, Kidjo and Ladysmith Black Mambazo are placed in the same category as Gilberto Gil’s samba album and Indian sitar player Anoushka Shankar.

However, African artists have been nominated in other categories as well. Rocky Dawuni becomes the first Ghanaian to be nominated for “Best Reggae Album” for his latest project Branches of the Same Tree. The “African Thriller” singer expressed his elation about the monumental nomination to Accra’s Starr 103.5FM radio station, “it’s a good day for Ghana and Ghanaian music” exclaimed the musician.

Nigerian-American singer Jidenna, earned his first-ever nomination for his hit single “Classic Man.” The song is up against records by Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, Common and others for the title of “Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.”

Check out some of the nominated songs and albums below and tune in on February 15 to see which of Africa’s star musicians take home golden gramophones at the 2016 Grammys.

Update, 12/8/15:  South African artist Wouter Kellerman's Love Language is also nominated, he's in the running for "Best Contemporary Instrumental Album." Also, as Loyiso mentions on our Facebook, South African gospel artist Neville Diedericks is nominated for "Best Gospel Performance/Song" for his part in Israel & New Breed's "How Awesome Is Our God (Live)."

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9 Must-Hear Songs From Ghana's Buzzing Drill Scene

We give you the rundown on Ghana's drill movement, Asakaa, and the most popular songs birthed by it.

Red bandanas, streetwear, security dogs, and gang signs. If you've been paying any attention to the music scene in Ghana over the past few months, then by now you would have noticed the rise of a special hip-hop movement. The movement is called Asakaa, and it's the Ghanaian take on the Chicago-born subgenre of hip-hop called drill music. It's fresh, it's hot, it's invigorating and it's nothing like anything you've seen before from this part of the world.

The pioneers of Asakaa are fondly referred to by the genre's patrons as the Kumerica boys, a set of budding young rappers based in the city of Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. They came into the limelight towards the end of 2020, and have been dropping banger after banger since then, topping several charts and racking up millions of views collectively. The rap is charismatic, the visuals are captivating, and their swag is urban. Characterized by Twi lyrics, infectious hooks, and sinister beats, the allure and appeal of both their art and their culture is overflowing.

"Sore," one of the benchmark songs of the movement, is a monster hit that exploded into the limelight, earning Kumerican rapper Yaw Tog a feature on Billboard Italy and a recent remix that featured Stormzy. "Ekorso" by Kofi Jamar is the song that took over Ghana's December 2020, with the video currently sitting at 1.3 million views on YouTube. "Off White Flow" is the song that earned rapper Kwaku DMC and his peers a feature on Virgil Abloh's Apple Music show Televised Radio. These are just a few examples of the numerous accolades that the songs birthed from the Asakaa movement have earned. Ghana's drill scene is the new cool, but it isn't just a trend. It's an entire movement, and it's here to stay.

Want to get familiar? Here we highlight the most prominent songs of the Asakaa movement that you need to know. Here's our rundown of Ghana's drill songs that are making waves right now. Check them out below.

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