The 10 Best Ghanaian Songs of the Month

Featuring Shatta Wale, Wendy Shay, Sarkodie, La Meme Gang, E.L and more.

Judging by this month's list, Ghanaian hip-hop is in rude health traversing trap, conscious rap and straight-up bar-fests from both the stars and starlets. Diss tracks by two of the country's prominent artists feature, as does an old fashioned teary ballad, and of course the continuing rise of Wendy Shay.

Read on for our selection of the best Ghanaian Songs Of The Month

Sarkodie "Homicide" & "My Advice"

Sarkodie - Homicide ft. La Même Gang (Animation Video)

Sarkodie is energised and lacerating on "My Advice (Freestyle)," on which he dresses down a music foe in a busy month that has seen him drop typically alert verses on "Stables (Refix)" by La Meme Gang whose penchant for dark, brooding trap-infused production is fitting for "Homicide", a barrage of takedowns and insistence on his supremacy.

Shatta Wale "Prepare For War" & "Wonders" feat. Olamide

50 Cent made an art of diss songs that were sing-alongs, a quality "Prepare For War" possesses except for the absence of a foe being addressed. On "Wonders", the rich gruffness in Shatta Wale's voices twins with that of Olamide over a nasty dance beat which both do a good job of taming.

Wendy Shay "The Boy Is Mine" & "Psalm 35"

Wendy Shay continues her run of impressive singles revisiting an old music trope famously explored by Brandy and Monica. "The Boy Is Mine" benefits from the reinforcing clarity of Eno's verse, a rapper from whom we should hear more.

E.L. "Thinking"

Trap-emo has afforded rappers protection from seeming too gooey, an advantage E.L effectively utilises as he bleeds his feelings about failed love.

M.anifest x Olamide "Fine Fine"

M.anifest & Olamide - Fine Fine

The big bounce on the beat for "Fine Fine" is verdant ground for the sleek-talking rapper, a quality M.anifest has in spades—"who dey care about rapping about rapping?"—as well as a knack for word play all of which finds a perfect foil in Olamide's well-judged hook.

Kwesi Arthur "Don't Keep Me Waiting" & "Apaeyen"

Kwesi Arthur ft Kidi - Don't Keep Me Waiting Produced by NytWulf | Ground Up Music

Kwesi Arthur's pair of releases this month showcase complimenting knacks for what used to be conscious (but now could be woke) rap on "Apaeyen," as well as the top layer afropop on "Don't Keep Me Waiting" with Kidi.

Kuami Eugene x Davido "Meji Meji"

Kuami Eugene x Davido - Meji Meji (Official Video)

Kuami Eugene holds his own next to Davido's star wattage on "Meji Meji" which is produced by Fresh DMV ("Nwa", "FIA") and may be a big scoop for the fast-rising afropop star. It also further embeds the Nigerian in Ghanaian pop consciousness.

Bayku x Kidi "Ciao Bella Rremix)"

Bayku ft KiDi - Ciao Bella (Refix) Official Video

Kidi adds new life to Bayku's remix of "Ciao Bella" deploying the sweet lightness of his voice but with stank, all of which displays impressive versatility after the top-player afropop affair that is his big single "Thunder".

Eugy x Kwesi Arthur "Pray In The Morning"

eugy ft kwesi - arthur pray in the morning(Official Audio)

Produced by Team Salut who recently gave an interview to OkayAfrica, "Pray In The Morning" is a slow chugger of a beat which features a well-judged hook from Eugy whose verse sensibly sticks to English with pidgin inflections while Kwesi Arthur raps in effortless twi.

La Meme Gang "Stone Island"

La Même Gang - Stone Island (feat. Darkovibes, RJZ & Kiddblack)

Intense and happy friendships between males, as portrayed in "Stone Island," are rarely shown in music vieos. The song itself, melancholic as it is, could only achieve that sentiment in parts. A strong sentiment such as: "I felt bad when homie said send me cash and I can't do shit for him / I felt bad when he buried his dad and I showed up late for it" speaks of a private shame while in the video, a shot of the group shirtless and cuddled up in bed is strikingly tender.


6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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