J.Derobie in "Poverty" (Youtube)

The 15 Best Ghanaian Songs of the Month

Featuring Pappy Kojo, Medikal, Kwesi Arthur, J.Derobie, Maame Yaa and more

From a defiantly feminist anthem to a gospel-tinged rap ballad, from a new dancehall sensation to yet-another dance banger that is sure to spawn numerous remixes, the start of 2019 has served up a bounty of afropop from Ghanaian artists.

Read ahead for our selection of the best Ghanaian pop songs of January. —Sabo Kpade

Medikal 'Omo Ada'

"This no be azonto, this no be alkeyda / this one I don't know, we dey go with the flow" instructs Medikal on this unabashed house banger doing the most with a few words but choosing to dexterously jam-pack syllabuses as a guest on "Meshye Bi" with label mate AMG Armani. —Sabo Kpade

Pappy Kojo 'Balance' feat. Joey B & Nshorna

Balance is the equivalent of 100 fire emojis, and that is no exaggeration. This song right here is an infectious hip-hop joint by rapper Pappy Kojo, featuring frequent collaborator Joey B and producer-artist Nshorna Muzik. A bouncy bed squeak beat laced with bars full of catchphrases and quotables, the song became an instant anthem on release. This Altra Nova produced joint has restored Pappy's shine within mainstream Ghanaian rap, and we can't wait to hear what other bangers he has for us this year. —Nnamdi Okirike

Pappy Kojo displays ease and charm on "Balance," his double time trap flow a perfect fit for swinging yet sturdy production by NOVA. —S.K.

Kwesi Arthur 'Open Your Eyes'

Kwesi Arthur urges a love interest for closer consideration, his efforts so far in vain. The pleasant afroswing beat allows for decent singing with any complex emotion summed up in one line: "are you joking or can you really not get me out of your head?" —S.K.

Magnom 'Big Body' feat. Nshorna Muzick

Artist and producer Magnom released the official video to his single "Big Body" featuring Nshorna Muzick this month and the video to this afrobeats joint definitely stands out. "Big Body" is a single from Magnom's upcoming project, a joint mixtape with Nshorna featuring songs with azonto-style afrobeats—basically a nod to a past era in Ghanaian music. The video for "Big Body" is a fun animated clip that sees the two artists playing a retro style shooter video game, whereas a reward for their courage their characters encounter, you guessed it: a big body. —N.O.

Darkovibes "Obra" feat. Mac

Darkovibes earns his name once again un "Obra" on account of the brooding trap beat and muffled, treated vocals helped by an alert Mac M. —S.K.

Boiiisam "9-5" feat. Adi Virgo

Singer Boiiisam is another new face in the Ghana music industry, and he made his official video debut with this song titled "9-5," featuring Ghanaian dancehall singer Adi Virgo. "9-5" is a smooth afro-dancehall tune where the singer serenades his love interest in suave afropop star fashion. The dance party themed 4k visuals are sleek, complimenting the song perfectly, all in all delivering an enjoyable package from the buzzing newcomer. —N.O.

Maame Yaa 'Proud Slay Queens' 

What a clapback! Maame Yaa Jackson's response to "Proud Fuck Boys" by Tulenkey and Eddie Khae is frank and hilarious about women's treatment of the questionable men in their lives. Bang on point. —S.K.

Worlasi 'Pawa'

Talented Ghanaian rapper and singer Worlasi starts the year by dropping a new song titled "Pawa," after having released only one song throughout the whole of 2018. The song, a smooth but groovy afrobeats tune produced by Lexyz, sees the artist asking God to give him the "Pawa" to face the stresses of life. From the look of things, Worlasi's brand emphasizes quality over quantity, and this joint right here is a perfect example. —N.O.

KaySo 'Flourish (amen)'

An evergreen theme of triumphalism gets a new look by KaySo, whose new single (and insistent title in brackets) could easily rouse a church, party or market crowd in equal measure. —S.K.

J.Derobie "Poverty" feat. Mr Eazi

J.Derobie is a newcomer to the Ghana music scene whose debut single "Poverty" has had considerable impact. What was just a mobile phone video clip became a complete single and video after his entry was shortlisted into Mr Eazi's "Empawa" program. Poverty is a dancehall song addressing the struggles of life, complete with patois lingo. The song has been endorsed by Jamacian dancehall heavywights Popcaan and Kranium, as well as several top Ghanaian musicians since its release, and the video's views are still steadily climbing. J.Derobie might just be the underdog of the year, and he delivered to us not just a unique story, but an unforgettable tune as well. —N.O.

Flat song title aside, J.Derobie sounds like the real deal in voice, cadence and feeling. The faint shrill in his singing appears genuinely interested in the emotions it is conveying especially one about the pains of growing up poor. —S.K

Sarkodie "I Know" feat. Reekado Banks"

A solid, uplifting chorus from Reekado Banks is the perfect serving for Sarkodie to sermonise with trademark gusto on lofty topics of self believe, endurance and triumphalism. S.K.

E.L 'Collect' feat. Kwesi Arthur

It is not an innuendo if it is explicit but E.L does an impressive job of drawing on all that excites about sexual suggestions in a playful and effective flow and a well sung hook. —S.K.

Wendy Shay 'All For You'

By turns raunchy and sensual, Wendy Shay's "All For You" is a near perfect afropop confection but is not included in the 10 songs that make up her confident debut album, Shay On You, which was released 15 days before. —S.K.

Dancehall singer Wendy Shay of RuffTown Records continues to release a steady stream of content, and this month she released a particularly sweet and infectious afrobeats tune titled "All For You," with fun and colorful visuals to match. The songstress continues to deliver in style, and we're definitely here for it! —N.O.

MzVee "No Be Say I Like You" feat. Ko Jo Cue

Using a time-honoured formula, "No Be Like Say I Like You" combines a catchy and simple hook by MzVee over an uncluttered beat that is well balanced by two effortless verses from Kojo Cue.S.K.

B-NA 'Slave'

B-NA is a new rapper whose age the best search on the internet puts at around 9-years-old. "Slave" is a song about maltreatment of children and shows impressive self-awareness and unusual precocity in the manner she adapts to the beat. More please. —S.K.

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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News Brief
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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