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6 Ghanaian Artist to Watch in 2019

Featuring Darkovibes, J.Derobie, Cina Soul and more

Stopping just short of predicting the future, our list of Ghanaian acts to watch in 2019 is based on the promise these artists have shown and the work they've done in the past year, all chosen from a wider pool of talents eager to establish themselves in the public's consciousness.

Read ahead for our selection of the Ghanaian Artists to Watch in 2019.

Follow our new GHANA WAVE playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.


J.Derobie

With just one notable song release to his name, J.Derobie is very much an upstart. But he arrives with credible co-signs from Popcaan and Mr Eazi, whose emPawa initiative thrust him onto public consciousness. "Poverty," his self-penned first single, is receiving wide attention for its themes of triumph over trying times and the seeming authenticity of his dancehall credibility. Plans for future releases are yet to be announced. So far confirmed is a "Poverty Campus Tour" slated for this year—all of just one main single.

Cina Soul

The 22-year-old Cina Soul possesses a searching voice that soothes and uplifts, but more frequently invites introspection and melancholia. This is evidenced all throughout her 5-track EP, Ga Mashi, released last November as the follow-up to 2017's Metanoia. Ga Mashi is titled after her origin city in Accra. The six-minute video for its first single "Ojorley" (meaning "girlfriend" in her Ga), encapsulates her music project with its focus of meditation on self and place, although the song is in fact addressed to a man who is advised to leave his girlfriend now that his wife has arrived. She also draws from highlife on "Shi Mi" ("Leave Me"), "Olaka Mi" ("You're Lying to Me") and on "Tatale," for which she repurposes an old Ga rhyme about a kid who's on an errand to buy beans and plantain. Cina Soul's list of forthcoming releases include collaborations with King Promise, Mr Eazi and Kwesi Arthur in an exciting year for the singer who has also been appointed a UNICEF "influencer."

Darkovibes

One of six members of the trailblazing La Même Gang, Darkovibes' profile as a solo artist is set to go even higher this year with the release of an EP in March. Details about the project are kept under wraps but the artist will concede that the first single features KiDi, another emergent star in Ghanaian pop. Darkovibes will also join household names R2Bees on their recently announced US tour to promote their third studio album, Site 15. One special performance alongside King Promise is set for March 8 at the Ghana Independence Live Concert & Party in Washington DC.

LJ (Lyrical Joe)

The one word title for LJ's 2018 debut project, Kill, belies its voluminous size, when one considers that it stretches to 25 songs, but it explains his stamina, dexterity, chest-beating, and gift for word play. He's ferocious on the trap heavy "Pressure" and pugilistic on "Bomaye." "5th August" is wordplay wizardry, taking cues from Eminem's "Rap God" and Kendrick Lamar's "Damn." On "Ghana Boy" he's mischievous, "these bitches think I'm Ghanaian," he says in an American accent, knowing he's Ghanaian. Rumoured to have started out as a reggae artist, his convincing turn as ragga-rapper shouldn't be surprising, as heard on "Murder." For 2019, 'brevity' and 'collaboration' seem to be LJ's keywords. His next project is an 8-track EP, all of which will paired with a video. Each song is said to feature 2 differents artists. Planned for a separate release is the third instalment of his freestyle series titled, 5th August III, (also his birthdate) which will coincide with his concert in Accra.

Tulenkey

A show-stopping verse on "Bibii Ba," which featured an all-star lineup of Ghana's top rap talents, identified Tulenkey as one to watch. The 10 songs that make up his debut EP 1/1 go a long way to crystalise the 22-year-old's reputation. Stand out single "Fvck Boys" is runaway hit and is unusually frank in its depiction of male slacker culture. Its clever and humorous bars, over insistent electric guitar, make for a refreshing amalgam of rap and highlife. Tulenkey is reportedly working on the follow up to 1/1 which is simply titled 1/1, 2.

Freda Rhymz

As much a battle rapper as she is a studio artist, Freda Rhymz is a force to reckon with. She's a convincing drill sergeant on "Jammin," a playful beef-baiter on "Jux Playing (Dreams Freestyle), as well as an effective pop rapper on "I Dey Go". Her growing list of official releases will culminate in her first EP this April and will feature the likes of King Promise, Joey B and Eno. To support the release, the promising rapper will embark on a seven city "High School Tour" that will include Kumasi, Cape Coast and Accra.

News Brief
Darkovibes in "Mike Tyson" (Youtube)

Watch Darkovibes & Runtown's New Video For 'Mike Tyson'

"Mike Tyson is a song for champions, pathfinders and trail blazers," Darkovibes' team says of the single and Accra-shot video.

A few months ago, Ghanaian artist and La Meme Gang member Darkovibes connected with Nigeria's Runtown for "Mike Tyson."

That addictive single now gets a new music video, directed by Zed, which follows both artists across Accra's High street and other city locations.

"Mike Tyson is a song for champions, pathfinders and trail blazers," a statement from Darkovibes' team reads. "It is for those who stand against popular opinions and make it. Runtown... touches on developmental issues in Nigeria. He also speaks on being bold in the face of institutional oppositions and signs out with a badman proclamation."

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Ko-Jo Cue. Image provided by the artist.

Ko-Jo Cue Addresses the Struggles of Young African Men In 'For My Brothers'

Interview: Ghana's Ko-Jo Cue tells us about his debut album, For My Brothers, and the many compelling stories behind it.

Ko-Jo Cue isn't a new name in the Ghana music space. Having consistently released music from as way back as 2010 until now, he has proved his skill and dexterity as a rapper several times over. However something had been lacking, especially from a rapper of his caliber: a project. This month Ko-Jo Cue set out to resolve that, with the release of his much anticipated debut album, For My Brothers, a 15-track offering from the BBnz Live signee. For My Brothers is more than just an album, though. It's an unreservedly honest and heartfelt letter to all young men, addressing what it means to be a man and the struggles young African males face today.

Previously, the Ko-Jo Cue we're used to would shuffle between lyrical rap and afrobeats-influenced party rap versions of himself, at his convenience. This time around we get a new version of the spectacled rapper: the conscious Ko-Jo Cue. For My Brothers is deep, honest, and touching. Addressing everything from the need to cut people off, to the death of a dear loved one, the experiences detailed within are sure to resonate with any young male adult.

In these afrobeats times, the primary aim of most African musicians is to make their listener's dance, or make a "vibe" or "banger" for the clubs and dance floors, rappers included. An artist setting out to dedicate an entire project to speak to the group of people who can relate with him the most, and who can learn from his stories and experiences and realize that they aren't alone in what they're facing, is impressive. It shows a level of care for his art that surpasses commercialism and all the trappings of today's music industry, and the desire to leave a lasting impact.

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Stormzy performs during The BRIT Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage) via Getty Images.

Watch Stormzy's Powerful BRIT Awards Performance Featuring Burna Boy

The night saw the British-Ghanaian star run through a medley of songs from his latest album, Heavy Is the Head.

The BRIT Awards 2020, which went down earlier this week, saw the likes of Stormzy take home the Best Male trophy home and Dave win Best Album.

The night also saw Stormzy deliver a stunning performance that featured a medley of songs from his latest album, Heavy Is the Head. The British-Ghanaian star started things out slow with "Don't Forget to Breathe," before popping things off with "Do Better" then turning up the heat with "Wiley Flow."

Stormzy nodded to J Hus, playing a short bit of "Fortune Teller," before being joined onstage by Nigeria's Burna Boy to perform their hit "Own It." Burna Boy got his own moment and performed an energetic rendition of his African Giant favorite "Anybody."

The night was closed off with a powerful message that read: "A lot of time they tell us 'Black people, we too loud.' Know what I'm sayin'? We need to turn it down a little bit. We seem too arrogant. We a little too much for them to handle. Black is beautiful man." The message flashed on a black screen before a moving performance of "Rainfall" backed by his posse.

Watch the full performance below.

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The ornate gilded copper headgear, which features images of Jesus Christ and the Twelve Apostles, was unearthed after refugee-turned-Dutch-citizen Sirak Asfaw contacted Dutch 'art detective' Arthur Brand. (Photo by Jan HENNOP/AFP) (Photo by JAN HENNOP/AFP via Getty Images)

A Stolen 18th Century Ethiopian Crown Has Been Returned from The Netherlands

The crown had been hidden in a Dutch apartment for 20 years.

In one of the latest developments around art repatriation, a stolen 18th century Ethiopian crown that was discovered decades ago in the Netherlands, has been sent back home.

Sirak Asfaw, an Ethiopian who fled to The Netherlands in the '70s, first found the relic in the suitcase of a visitor in 1998, reports BBC Africa. He reportedly protected the item for two decades, before informing Dutch "art crime investigator" Arthur Brand and authorities about his discovery last year.

The crown is one of only 20 in existence and features intricate Biblical depictions of Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. Historians believe it was given to the church by the warlord Welde Sellase several centuries ago.

Read: Bringing African Artifacts Home

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