As the saying goes, “a thing for everyone is for no one.” It is in this respect that sometimes controversies arise over certain feats that are generic and or nonproprietary by nature.
A School of Thought argues that songs with lyrics in Ghanaian dialects over hip hop beats go beyond the 90s. Ghana’s celebrated female musician, Lady Talata was tasked with finding a manager and recording deal for a La (a suburb of Accra – Ghana) based group who rapped in their native Ga (the native language spoken by the Ga people in Ghana) over hip beats somewhere around 1985.
Another School of Thought strongly advocates Panji Anoff deserve the title of the ‘Godfather’ rather than Reggie Rockstone. Panji, an Afrocentric producer came to Ghana in 1991. With his creativity and dedication to the music trade, Panji in the early part of 1993 put out a track ‘Aden,’ a Twi track not different from any contemporary hiplife song.
Another School of Thought also think the likes of Kwaku T and Friends, Michael Cook , Paracetamol, Dansoman Connection and NFL; were very active and gave the genre its much determined respect and should thus be mentioned each time the story of hiplife is narrated. They also think it won’t be wrong to regard Reggie as a promoter of hiplife and not as the originator.
Another School of Thought also posit that Ghana`s hip hop was started by Mahorney Pee, with his first album “Kwaku babone,” followed by Kwesi Sawasa, then K.K Kabobo with his “Nyatenyate Girl” track, before Reggie Rockstone came, then we got Nananom.
In a BBC interview, Rockstone said: “I came home, and in the clubs all the kids were listening to rap from New York or LA – Snoop, Busta Rhymes, all of them – but not necessarily understanding what they’re saying.”
Reggie’s own words betray him in a way as far as this particular School of Thought is concerned. A true vindication that hiplife’s kind existed even when no one had heard the name Reggie Rockstone.
Irrespective of the above claims, one thing all should bear in mind is the fact that when a person conceives a dream, irrespective of the number of people who believe and render support to make the dream a reality from the very genesis, forever remains supporters, or put in another sense, Founders, and not The Founder. In Reggie’s own words on who own hiplife, he said: “Hiplife is now generic. Hiplife is for the people.”
Till date, many sees Reggie Rockstone as the originator, creator, or inventor of hiplife music, but others don’t; depending on which School of Thought the fellow belongs to. It is believed that the argle-bargle of who truly owns hiplife will continue even after Reggie Rockstone is called by his Maker.
Once again the debate has been ignited – – ever audacious Panji Anoff has shared some few facts on the origination and ownership of Hiplife as a music form since Reggie is confusing his VVIP’s Selfie song to be a Hiphop song and not a Hiplife song. According to Panji:
“Starting any analysis of Hiplife from Reggie Rockstone onwards flaws the argument because Hiplife, the art form, the word and the fusion existed in many forms before Reggie came onto the scene. Without a doubt, Reggie popularized the art form, and made it into a household phenomenon.”
He continued: “But “Da Multy Krew” was making Hiplife music back in 1990, NFL was rapping in Pidgin, Twi and Ga back in 1992 even though they did not call it Hiplife. Talking Drums called their music “Hiplife” back in 1993.
“You cannot analyze any artistic phenomenon only from the moment it becomes popular… by then all the important ingredients have already been stewing for years…. Hiplife is Ghanaian MC based music just as Hiphop is American MC based music….
“But all were preceded by Jamaican Toasting, which took its inspiration from Ghanaian Okyeame’s…” Which School of Thought do you belong to or believe in. Unfurl your thought. Until then…MOTWUM!!