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The 10 Best Ghanaian Songs of the Month

Featuring Shatta Wale, Strongman, Kiddblack, Bryan The Mensah and more.

It's a brand new year, and you know what that means – brand new music!

As we began the year, several Ghanaian recording artists issued new releases, some attempting to re-up on the magic of last year, and some attempting to stake a new claim on the airwaves and charts in 2020.

We give you a list of the best songs to come out of Ghana in January. Check it out below.

The list is in no particular order.


​​Kuami Eugene "Turn Up"​​

Lynx Entertainment singer Kuami Eugene launches the year with this upbeat afrobeats tune, hoping to get the party started early. On the self-produced joint he sings "forgetii everybody eee" as he urges you to drop everything else and just like the title says, turn up!

MzVee "Sheriff"

Ghanaian dancehall A-lister MzVee returns from a lengthy hiatus with this reggae tune right here. She declares herself the new sheriff in town, as she performs amidst an action movie themed music video.

Bosom P-Yung "Atta Adwoa"

January gave birth to a brand new viral sensation, as rapper Bosom P-Yung strode into the limelight with his uber catchy tune "Atta Adwoa". Bosom spills rap-sung melodies all over the trap beat, delivering an animated performance of the heartbreak anthem.

Medikal ft. KiDi "Come Back"

After Medikal's very public break up with his ex-girlfriend, Ghanaian actress and entrepreneur Fella Makafui, the rapper makes an open attempt at reconciliation on record. Assisted by star singer KiDi, he issues this MOGBeatz produced afrobeats joint in an effort to win his lover back.

Shatta Wale "Akwele Take"

Ghana's most popular dancehall act Shatta Wale dropped this brand new afrobeats tune titled "Akwele Take", trending on Twitter instantly after its release. Gearing up for his North American tour which is scheduled to start in June 2020, from the look of things the singer wants to get a head start stocking up on new hits before he hits the road.

Kiddblack ft. Kwesi Arthur "Dirty Diana"

‎Dirty Diana (feat. Kwesi Arthur) - Single by KiddBlack

music.apple.com

Rapper and La Meme Gang member Kiddblack issued this mid-tempo fusion of dancehall and afrobeats ballad titled "Dirty Diana". On this one he details a sensual adult encounter between him and his "Dirty Diana", assisted by rapper Kwesi Arthur as they sing the praises of a woman who's promiscuous, but very much to their pleasure.

Kelvynboy "New Year"

Singer and ex-Bhimnation signee Kelvynboy ushered in the new year with a single and video titled, you guessed it – "New Year". Here, he sings about some of the issues he faced last year, the things he intends to achieve this year, and more.

Delis & Kofi Taylor "Grace"

Talented cat on the come up Delis presented us with this gem, a collaboration with Kofi Taylor simply titled "Grace". The duo rap and sing to their Maker, asking and giving thanks for His grace on their lives and respective hustles, backed all through by uplifting synths and happy melodies. Personal fave!

Bryan The Mensah "Medicine"

The hip-hop heads weren't left out of the action, as Bryan The Mensah opened the year with this single and video titled "Medicine". The rapper waxed lyrical about his desires in life over an 808-laced flipped soul sample, letting his trademark rap-sung vocals shine in between quick fire bars.

Strongman ft. Medikal "Bossu"

Former rap rivals Strongman and Medikal, the subjects of one of the most popular Ghanaian music beefs in 2019, issue proof of their reconciliation with this release, a collaboration titled "Bossu". The newly united duo take turns issuing claims of rap dominance, complete with ethereal visuals directed by Prince Dovlo.


News Brief
Photo by Constanza HEVIA / AFP) (Photo by CONSTANZA HEVIA/AFP via Getty Images

Former African Twitter Employees Allege Discrimination Over Severance Terms

Several laid off Twitter employees in Ghana are accusing the tech giant of side-stepping Ghanaian laws to avoid paying up.


According to CNN reports, several laid-off employees at Twitter’s African headquarters are claiming that the company is “deliberately and recklessly flouting the laws of Ghana.”

This comes in the wake of the recent breaking news that Twitter had laid off almost all of its African employees, without making any arrangements for severance pay. The layoffs affected Twitter's African headquarters, which are located in Accra, Ghana. The African layoffs are another development in the flow of things that have happened ever since Elon Musk took over the major ownership of the tech company.

The African employees were laid off only four days after the Accra office resumed in-office operations following a year-long hiatus. Prior to that, the Ghana-based employees were working remotely, and according to CNN, only one employee had been retained in the Ghana office following the massive layoffs.

A group of former Twitter employees are now accusing the company of ignoring Ghana's employment laws, and according to CNN, have since hired a lawyer and sent a letter to the company demanding its compliancewithWest African labor laws. The employees are also asking the tech company to disburse more severance pay and make other benefits available to them like other twitter employees are receiving.

In a letter to Twitter Ghana Ltd, obtained by CNN, the African employees rejected a “Ghana Mutual Separation Agreement” from Twitter, which they say was sent to their personal emails offering final pay thatthe company says it arrived after a negotiation.

The group have also taking things a step further by asking the Ghanaian government to get involved and compel Twitter to adhere to the instated labor laws in an another letter obtained by CNN addressing the country’s Chief Labour Officer, the group said that it was evident that the company was "deliberately or recklessly flouting the laws of Ghana."

“It is clear that Twitter, Inc, under Mr Elon Musk is either deliberately or recklessly flouting the laws of Ghana, or is operating in bad faith and in a manner that seeks to silence and intimidate former employees into accepting any terms unilaterally thrown at them,” the letter stated.

Another anonymous former Twitter employee who spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity said that the company had been "vague" in explaining severance benefits or time off, and instead wanted the employees to hurriedly sign the documents.

“It was very vague, did not talk about outstanding leave or paid time off, and just asked us to sign if we agree. I never bothered to go back to the document because it is rubbish and is still in violation of labor laws here,” said the employee.

Interview

Interview: Sarkodie Tells Us Everything About His Latest Album ‘JAMZ’

We talk to Africa’s most decorated rapper about his eighth studio album—which is filled with experiential sounds.

Sarkodie is a veteran as far as African rap is concerned. That status comes with certain privileges that artists of a different stature might not be able to experience in their full measure, one of them is the liberty of total and complete creative freedom. At the present stage of his career, Sarkodie is not bound by expectations, formulas, or the need to create music that caters to markets or tedious stipulations outlined by major labels or investors.

The Ghanaian star has done it all, from 30-track albums to rap-focused EPs, strings of bar-heavy freestyles, and much more. JAMZ is the Tema native’s eighth studio album. “The name explains itself, it’s jams.” Sarkodie tells OkayAfrica. “I started taking some trips, going on vacations back to back with the family and the team, and I was inspired by just taking time off to just enjoy life and these are the type of records I would want to listen to when I’m on such trips and just having fun. So that’s what inspired the whole project.”

Sarkodie’s albums are known for being laden with diverse sounds with rap at the core, but this time around he had a different mission. He describes the JAMZ album as a “playlist.” It’s the kind of music you can kick back and relax to while on vacation or out or a night of spirited partying—songs you can vibe to and enjoy. However, although that was the overall outcome of the project, it wasn’t necessarily the plan when he started making the album.

“I don’t necessarily try to set the tone for a project when I’m about to record one,” he explained. “For other people it might work, but for me it doesn’t. The album has to create itself. Subconsciously the music just keeps coming, and before you know it I realize oh that’s a project. It’s not really something I planned, it just happened. And mostly my music comes in the certain state that I’m in. That’s what dictates the type of sounds that I go for. So that’s how the project was formed.”

Sarkodie.Photo: Samuel Mironko

On JAMZ, Sarkodie worked with his producers MOGBeatz,GuiltyBeatz, DJ Coublon, Atown TSB, and Masterkraft behind the boards to bring the album to life. Speaking on his creative process while working on the project, Sark illustrated how he went about making the songs on JAMZ using the album’s lead single “Labadi” as a case study.

“I love how Labadi came about. Coublon sent me the beat and I didn’t even write anything back to him because I was so moved by the beat and I started writing. So I got lost in it and I wrote the first verse 'All my beautiful ladies we could link up.' I like to listen to producers and know where they were and what they were thinking when they produced the beat, because that helps me and I think it’s very spiritual. Because they could be in a space and sometimes I wanna tap into that. If it’s too off I can do something else, but it’s always right to tap in with the producers and know where they were when they produced it. So I hit him back and I was like ‘What were you feeling when you were producing this?’ He was like boat rides, 'beach vibe, all-white party,' and I was like ‘Wow, that’s crazy.’ Because that’s literally what I wrote. I literally wrote boat rides, all those things. So I was like that’s very spiritual. So that song is very personal to me. That’s why it was the first single, because I believed in it so much.”

Another standout track on the album is the song titled “One Million Cedis,” in which he featured a relatively unknown Nigerian singer called Ink Boy. Speaking on the song, he explains how he spotted the emerging talent and how the collaboration came to life.

“Ink Boy is a superstar in the making. On thing about me is, I’m really about the music. I’m not about the gimmicks and the trends and clout chasing and all those things. I don’t do that. So whoever sang the music, wherever you’re from, if you suit the music and I love what you did, that’s what I’m gonna go for. I was in Nigeria and I had a couple artists and producers in the building. Rexxie, Masterkraft, Joeboy, incredible artists, Phyno, everybody was there."

Sarkodie - Labadi feat. King Promise (Official Video)www.youtube.com

"We created 'One Million Cedis,' and this kid was just in the corner making melodies. I was like 'yo lemme hear that,' and he came closer and I loved it. I was like put this on. He wasn’t even sure that I was gonna do it, and I was like I like the way your vocals are and the melodies you’re going for, let me hear how that would sound on it. Even Masterkraft was asking if I was sure, because he knows I could call on anybody that I want to get on the record. But I was like 'nah, this is exactly what I want.' Also, that can pass to be one of my best records [on the album] as well. It made me rap how I want to rap at this point of my career, it’s very calm, dark, but still very commercial. So Ink Boy is somebody I just met. He came with the Nigerian comedian Father. He was with him and I spotted him, and I know he’s gonna go far.”

As to whether the kind of music you hear on JAMZ is what his creative direction is going to be like for the foreseeable future, Sarkodie prefers to leave that to fate.

“It’s hard to tell. I’ve never been that type of person that tries to force something to happen. We have structure as far as business is concerned, yes. You have to be specific and you have to be calculated on things you wanna do. But I need the creative side to be as organic as possible or I’m not gonna feel right within me. If I say 'this is what I’m trying to do' it never really works for me. There are a couple records that I did that on and as dope as the records were, because my spirit was not behind it the songs did not do what we thought it could do."

"But anything I do organically works. So I’m not gonna say this is gonna be what you’re gonna hear, but if I go back to listen to all my projects I noticed one thing. I get tired, fatigue is the word I use. I get fatigued on a certain sound if I overdo it. This project, since I’ve done a lot of afrobeats, amapiano, chill vibes I know I’m gonna be tired. I will have to refresh my mind so I can come back. It’s definitely gonna be something different. I don’t know what it’s gonna be, hip-hop, highlife, whatever but it’s gonna change. Definitely.”


Sports

All You Need to Know About the African Teams at the World Cup

We break down how Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, Morocco, and Tunisia's national teams are looking ahead of the Qatar World Cup 2022.

African football has come a long way.

Egypt was the first African team to ever participate in a FIFA World Cup. They did it in Italy in 1934, where they only played a game, which they lost 4-2 to Hungary. Back then, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) didn’t exist, so the Pharaohs played two qualifier games against British Palestine.

CAF was eventually formed in 1956, but the World Cup would only see another African team in Mexico 1970, when Morocco qualified. Years later, Pelé, the legendary Brazilian player, predicted that an African team would win a World Cup before the year 2000, he was mocked mercilessly. For many, it was not an unlikely outcome, it was an absurd proposition.

And yet, African footballers have become more and more often part of the footballing elite, playing in the best leagues, and becoming some of the most famous players. While, still, only European and South American teams have won World Cups.

Keep reading...Show less
Interview

Seni Saraki On Co-Producing the Nigerian Side of the 'Black Panther' Soundtrack

We speak with NATIVE's Seni Saraki who helped put together the Lagos arm of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - Music From and Inspired By.

Back in July when Marvel released its Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Prologue EP, led by Tems’ soul-stirring cover of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry,” the consensus among young, internet-savvy Africans was that the follow-up to 2018’s record-breaking Black Panther was shaping up to be seminal moment for African culture after years of gestation and ascending visibility in the western world.

The arrival of the full soundtrack has proved that the optimism felt at that time was not unfounded. In a sharp contrast to the Kendrick Lamar-curated soundtrack for the first film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - Music From and Inspired By is a full-on deep-dive into the pulse of African and Mexican popular music as we know it. Taking influences from these sources makes sense as the movie is primarily inspired by both Nigerian and Meso-american cultures and we get to see acts like Burna Boy, Fireboy DML, DBN Gogo, and CKay line-up on the musical accompaniment to one of the eagerly-anticipated releases of the year.

To get some perspective on how the African arm of the soundtrack came together, we spoke to The NATIVE’s editor-in-chief, Seni Saraki, who served as the soundtrack album co-producer for the Lagos arm of production, touching on his involvement with the project, its reception, and what he hopes its legacy might be.

Keep reading...Show less

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