Featuring Kwesi Arthur, Pappy Kojo, Stonebwoy, Shatta Wale, Sarkodie x Reggie Rockstone and more.
Here are the best tracks that came out of the buzzing Ghanascene in April.
Kofi Mole 'Don't Be Late'
A song that took off slowly then shot straight into the stratosphere, the Ground Up collective rapper Kofi Mole delivered what is the biggest hip-hop song this month—and a convincing contender for hip-hop song of the year. This want-you-back anthem sees the drunk in love rapper making a case for his woman's love and affection. —Nnamdi Okirike
Kwesi Arthur x Mr Eazi 'Nobody'
The lead single from Live From Nkurmah Krom, Vol II Home Run, the much anticipated EP from the BET Awards nominee Kwesi Arthur. Free from irony, the lyrics on "Nobody" are earnest and heartful confessions sung with a drawl that is common to both artists and right on trend with pop-rap's current taste for the musicality in un-traditional singing voices. —Sabo Kpade
Pappy Kojo 'Blessing' feat. $pacely
Pappy Kojo gets back to it, this time blessing us with a joint that's an ode to the Ghanaian woman's anatomy. La Meme Gang rapper $pacely once again laces the track with his signature adlibs, also giving the song its standout quotable "Your body like a blessing, yeah!" —N.O.
Pappy Kojo's last single "Balance" has a big swinging uptempo beat which elicited a dextrous and melodious flow from the rapper. He dials down into a smooth charmer on "Blessing," whose lush production is well anchored by $pacely from La Meme Gang in his delightfully fragile singing voice. —S.K.
For his second single ever, J.Derobie has dug into roots reggae further establishing the credibility he gained from "Poverty" which painted a touching picture of urban survival. "Irie" celebrates life and living. The well-sung first verse empathises with the resilience of have-nots: "nuff a dem nuh have a job / but dem still a keep di smile," while the rattled second verse aims to demonstrate said resilience: "all a we a go fi di good we a bun evil / And no make no face straight like pole." The video delights in scenic rusticity and ends with an authenticating prayer by a Rastafari though the real work has been done by Derobie and producer Juls, who harks back to an earlier form of reggae which he followed up with the self-explanatory "Ganja Riddim" in the same month. —S.K.
Trigmatic feat. Joey B 'Aka K33 Moko'
Rapper, singer, and radio personality Trigmatic presents what is a beautiful contemporary highlife tune. Heading back to the roots of indigenous Ghanaian music, he recruits Joey B on this cut, the signature sound of the Ga tribe. —N.O.
A contender for the dance craze of the summer, Edem's new single is a cross between house and praise singing for its opportunistic use of the current president of Ghana's name. "Do the Mahama dance" he implores, an easy to follow step that neatly locks into the hard bounce of the dominant bass drum. To help matters along, here is a clip of the artist illustrating the dance on a Ghanaian chat show early this month.
DredW feat. Magnom "Pickup"
Producer DredW presents this smooth afrobeats joint, featuring fellow producer and artist Magnom. An easy listen, this joint sees Magnom floating all the way through with melodious rap-sung vocals, and a brief trap switch at the end, in consideration of the hip-hop junkie's fix. —N.O.
Shatta Wale 'Ay3 Halfcast'
The latest from the richly prolific specialist of afro-fusion Shatta Wale, who recombines dancehall and afropop in his signature husk which rarely makes for dull musicality. —S.K.
Magnom 'Ei' feat. Kofi Mole
Trap Magnom makes an appearance on this unfussy head bopper simply titled "Ei" featuring buzzing rapper Kofi Mole, who bars all the way out on his guest verse. —N.O.
Reggie Rockstone x Sarkodie '11:11'
"Now you have a whole generation of Ghanaians that were raised on Reggie Rockstone" goes a treated voice toward the end of this winning collaboration with Sarkodie. Rockstone is the legendary member of pioneering hiplife group VVIP and is now 55 years old ("check out the grey beard on the black skin"). He sounds as vital as ever in what he's called the "Bruce Lee flow." The beat chugs and swings and both rappers are razor-sharp. "11:11" signifies the rude health of Ghanaian rap and pop if both its leader and originator combine so well with neither rapper's status superseded by the other. —S.K.
Stonebwoy x Beenie Man 'Shuga'
Stonebwoy, one of Ghana's major dancehall names, links up with Jamaican legend Beenie Man for this new single, "Shuga." The song is built on stuttering synth hits and beat work produced by Ghana's StreetBeatz. Stonebwoy and the "King of Dancehall" connect over the energetic rhythm, each delivering their own verses—add one more track to the many stellar cross-Atlantic musical collaborations that have been going on for years, in particular between West Africa and Jamaica. —OKA
The better of two singles by E.L released this month—the other is "Say (To The One I Love)"—"Wadat" is a big flex of playful dexterity by the rapper who rides the jolly beat employing character guises, vocal tricks and multiple rhyme schemes with ease over production by the curiously named PeeOnTheBeatz. —S.K.