popular

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."

Keep reading...
Interview
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.

Keep reading...
popular
Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images.

Dave's 'Psychodrama' Wins 'Album of the Year' at the 2020 Brit Awards

The British-Nigerian rapper took home the top prize moments after a performance during which he called the British Prime Minister a 'real racist'.

British Nigerian rapper Dave took home the top prize at this year's Brit Awards. His 2019 debut album Psychodrama, which was certified gold in just three months and went on to win last year's Mercury Prize, was awarded "Album of the Year".

However, it was Dave's performance prior to him receiving the award that really stole the show.

According to the BBC, the artist gave a fiery performance of his track "Black" wherein he added a new verse which called out the government and referred to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a "real racist".

Keep reading...
Video
Shirazee. Photo: Tiara Marei. Courtesy of the artist.

Get Into Shirazee & Saint Jhn's Highly-Addictive 'Juju'

The new music video follows Shirazee and Saint Jhn to New Orleans.

Shirazee is back with his latest single "Juju."

The new song sees the Benin-born singer-songwriter linking up with none-other-than Saint Jhn for a highly-addictive tune built on afro-fusion beat work. The striking new music video for "Juju," which was directed by Tiara Marei, follows Shirazee and Saint Jhn to New Orleans, Louisiana.

"This one is special to me 'cause the song was recorded at a time I needed to break a love-spell that I felt was put on me by a serious crush of mine [laughs]," Shirazee tells OkayAfrica. "Shooting this video in New Orleans, a city with historical ties to my Benin, was such a privilege and does so much justice to the song and theme.

"[I'm] looking forward to releasing new music this year and the first of two EPs called LOST is on the way and it's exciting," he adds.

For more on him, revisit our interview with Shirazee on his journey, taking risks and going independent. As you remember, Saint Jhn featured on Beyoncé and Wizkid's "Brown Skin Girl," one of our favorite songs last year.

Get into Shirazee and Saint Jhn's "Juju" below.

Keep reading...

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.