This blog entry is upon request to list the Top 10 Hiplife artistes currently eliminating those who haven't done anything in a year and half. In determining this order, I took into consideration, artiste popularity, song popularity, demand for shows/concerts, award recognition, number of features with other artistes, amongst others. I also took out the groups with more than one member, and artistes who are more Afro pop or hip-hop. This is not scientific and this list is adjudged by a committee of one. Let's get into the countdown.
10. Barima (Sidney) - This former Nananom member has been in the hiplife game for over 10 years and is still going strong. He's stayed pretty consistent with his style and he may have earned some more fans with his last album 'Barima bi ba', which did really well. Africa Money was a huge hit outside Ghana's borders, as its French lyrics endeared it to Francophone Africans as well.
9. Obour - His last album was around 2007 but he has released a couple of singles since which have garnered major airplay. His social campaign songs, President Obour and Ghana Reads, did well. His hit collabo with Okyeame Kwame called 'The Game' also was huge, and sparked a lot of debates about the state of the Hiplife genre. Though he's busy with various entrepreneurial ventures, he's finding time to churn out great music and maintain visibility on the Ghanaian music scene.
8. Tic Tac - Tic Tac is respected a lot in Hiplife for helping send the genre international. His latest single, Bosoe, is doing well in Ghana and it features a Nigerian group, Key Note. He's been a constant show-stopper in many Ghanaian events in the UK and maintains a steady presence in Ghana.
7. Ayigbe Edem - The Ewe rapper is scoring a lot of fans with his flow and his putting Ewe firmly on the Ghana hiplife map. He's probably not higher on this list due to the lack of familiarity Ghanaians have with the Ewe language. His album launch was great and coming from the Last 2 (Hammer) stable, he's here to stay.
6. Wanlov - Kuborlor may not want to be classified as a hiplife artiste but hiplife is the closest category to his Kuborlor music. He came to Ghana in late 2007 to make a name for himself and succeeded. He is probably the most unique artiste in Ghana at the moment and being on the Culture Caravan showed how far he had come. He's been releasing many singles and continues to use his online presence and travel experience to secure many shows abroad.
5. Tinny - Aletse Kankpe may not be enjoying the same airplay as some of these artistes but he has major visibility. He was recently nominated for African Artiste of the Year at Nigeria's Hip Hop Awards. Not much has been heard about his international album called Attention though many singles have surfaced. He's also featuring in many shows and is the undisputed premier non-Twi rapper in Ghana.
4. Asem - His 'Gimme Blow' and 'Pigaro' tracks may have started the GH RAP movement, together with his partnership with Richie. He consistently outshines people when he features on their songs. He's been unlucky not to pick more awards than he has at the moment. Doing some quick Facebook checks, Asem's fan page had the most fans, followed by Wanlov.
3. Sarkodie - He is probably the most popular rapper in Ghana now. The tongue-twisting star has been underground for a while and his debut album may be the biggest seller this year. His Babe track with Mugeez (R2Bees) is arguably this year's most popular track from Ghana. He's also been featuring on other tracks.
2. Kwaw Kese - Abodam Kwaw Kese is still the king of the streets. When Wyclef was in Ghana recently, he did a track called 'War' with Kwaw Kese as well as 'Glad' with Reggie Rockstone & Kwaw himself. That just proves how hot Kwaw is now and how mad people are still going over him. He was also the beneficiary of MTV BASE's Shell Initiative music video shoot.
1. Okyeame Kwame - The reigning Ghanaian artiste of the year takes the cake here. He also just won three nominations for this year's Channel O Africa Music Video Awards. Wish him luck as he guns for awards. His album, M'awensem, is one of the best ever and the work he put into it paid off. He's also one of the hottest names to feature on a song, something he really enjoys doing.
So there is my list, what's yours? Let me know what you think by adding comments below.