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.
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 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.