Ghana’s icon music genre, highlife has always been the country’s identity. So it came as a huge surprise to the practitioners of highlife song when a group of ‘rebellious youth’, spearheaded by Reggie Rockstone, introduced hiplife to music landscape of Ghana. This new genre, heavily influenced by foreign culture became very relevant to the youth and young adults and soon caught on like an epidemic. Hiplife is the amalgamation of highlife and hiphop, hence the name hiplife.
Such was the disappointment of the custodians of highlife legacy that, they forecast doom for the new trend. They said hiplife will fade out. They said foreigners will not accept something they (foreigners) invented and will only want highlife, the music that embodies Ghana’s culture. Hiplife is approximately twenty years and it gone beyond the realm of scope envisaged by many. Hiplife has gain recognition universally and defied many African countries to rap, using their own language. All major awards that have catapulted Ghana to the limelight have been hiplife. Apart from the Kojo Antwi, a highlife musician who won a Kora Award for Ghana and the revered Osibisa band who brought so much pride to the nation, highlife juxtaposed hiplife have done nothing more.
Lots of the youth who will have otherwise indulged in social vises, have embraced the concept wholeheartedly. They have infused the arts with lots of creativity and dynamism, giving way to diversity; Sony Achiba introduced hipdia and Yoggy Doggy brought his raglife. Music enthusiasts thus have been served with a wide range of music repertoire that they could easily relate to. The current crop of hiplife musicians have taken the whole thing to a different dimension to augment the widely acceptance of the genre. Collaborations between them and other high profile artistes from the continent and beyond have consolidated this brand. R2bees are known in lots of African countries owing to prolificacy. Same can be said of Sarkodie, Samini, Becca and a host of others. Samini won the Ghana’s first MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Sarkodie became the first Ghanaian to win BET (Black Entertainment Television) award and appeared in the much acclaimed cipher two years ago.
Dancehall is new aspect of hiplife which is on the brink of winning laurels for Ghana. Though this genre is synonymous with Jamaica, budding acts like Shatta Wale, Stonebouy, Samini, Shatta Rakko, Vybrant Fire, Jupiter and I-wan have redefined it with a touch of Ghanaian concept and making party revelers go agog with excitement anywhere it is played. Jon Germain once predicted that Ghana’s dancehall will be the next genre to rule Ghana’s entertainment and beyond. Hiplife has come to stay and it seems it will be the obvious choice of the next generation.