Culled from Chale's blog on Museke.com
I was so excited when I heard Obrafour was releasing some new singles after his Heavy album in 2006. Obrafour is my favorite rapper and through the years, he's faced a lot of criticism, but I don't think he has hardly put a foot wrong. Obrafour is a wise man, like we see from his lyrics and he knew he was re-entering the music industry at an interesting time that called for some creativity and hard work. He delivered his singles and he has quickly become the talk of the town. I am really looking forward to getting his "Asem beba dabi" album and I hope it does really well and Obrafour becomes an international superstar. It's about time. His singles have caused some controversy and I'll like to discuss the issues arising.
Obrafuor's first single is Kasiebo (Nkasiabo). Kasiebo in Twi means news. In the song, an Execution FM radio presenter called Guru (who's a new hiplife artist) talks about "hiplife news". Like most radio presenters, Guru calls the subject of the news item, Obrafour, to seek his opinion on matters. They discuss how the hiplife game has changed and Obrafour offers advice amongst other things. The song gets controversial when Guru mentions a Kumasi-based rapper called OK raping a young girl. He also mentions how those behind the "Killing the game" song could try to resurrect hiplife with a song like Atopa Jenjen. He also queries how someone who has less than 5 solo albums can call himself the best rapper alive. "Obi agye abɔso 'Best Rapper Alive', nanso yɛhwehwɛɛ mu, ne albums mpo nduruu five". These lines have been seen as direct attacks on Okyeame Kwame (who calls himself best rapper alive) and Obour (singer of Atopa Jenjen), who both released the "Killing the game" song with Richie, Ghana's most prolific beatmaker at the moment.
The song is very creative with the radio call-in conversation, the beat is excellent, the hook and choruses are on point and Obrafour's lyrics are timeless as usual. In response to the controversy, Obrafour has said OK doesn't necessarily refer to Okyeame Kwame like people believe. He has an issue with the Rap Doctor's assertion that he is the best rapper alive. DJ Black, one of Ghana's best deejays tried to get Obrafour and Okyeame Kwame in the same studio to do battle and settle their differences. Only the latter showed up, and Obrafour has called on him to do a reply song. We've not heard much from Obour but Reggie Rockstone has also said Okyeame Kwame should do a reply song. Okyeame sees no reason in doing so, not wanting to stoop that level. It seems most Ghanaian music fans side with Obrafour though, he commands a lot of respect amongst hiplife fans.
This is not the first time Obrafour has seemed to stoke fires with other artists. He has well-chronicled 'battles' with Lord Kenya. Lord Kenya had lines in 'Aka esi ani', Obrafour had lines in 'Oye Ohene remix'. Obrafour even called out the legendary Reggie Rockstone in 'Bra be hwe' saying "Yɛanwo obiara a, microphone da n'ano; Insha Allahu, w'anka no yie a, mɛte wo to". Can't think of any response from Rockstone though. Kontihene got involved with Kwaw Kese concerning Migizigi and when Obrafour returned from a short hiatus with 'Ako', he went at Kontihene. You may criticize him for stirring up beef, but the way he does it is genius. Personally, I think, it's good for hiplife, so far as it doesn't generate any violence or useless banter. These musicians are still friends, they just battle with their words in music. You won't see them on radio insulting each other, that's not what we want.
People may feel Obrafour's taking advantage of the popularity and goodwill that Okyeame Kwame has now and I'll agree with that. He also made passes at him in his single, Asem beba dabi, talking about "wodi mmaa yi mu sɛ woyɛ Opabeni". Obrafour featured Okyeame Kwame as one of the established hiplife artists in his Execution Diary compilation in 2004, so why is he going at him so much now? Inquiring minds want to know. I've met and interviewed Okyeame Kwame and he is really a great guy. In fact, he and Obrafour are my two favorite Ghanaian rappers now. I really hope they come together to make a track soon.
Back to Kasiebo and The Game controversy, do you guys know Shatta Rako, a Kumasi-based musician has recored a song called "Da shame of the game" which is an answer to "the Game". Shatta Rako worked on Okyeame Kwame's award-winning "M'awensem" album so for him to criticize him is very interesting. He actually makes reference to a paedophile, referring to a rapper with no style and telling One Mic to "cry your own cry". Read the lyrics here. I am yet to hear from Shatta or Okyeame Kwame (both good friends of mine) about these issues. I think Okyeame, Obour and Richie's song was great and needed when it was released. A remix has been released and you can listen to it here. Will report back later.
I believe Obrafour's newest album would be legendary. His single, "In hiplife (In this life)", featuring Sarkodie, is a marvelous track. Here, he gives Sarkodie (who's seen as the most promising hiplife artiste today), advice on a long-lasting career and seems to pass the hiplife mantle onto him. It's nicely done. He also has a track called "My praises", which is a gospel one and he promises to release a video for it. He talked about how radio never really pushed his gospel-related tracks. If you've followed his Facebook page, Obrafour has a new-found religious attitude and vigour and plans to praise God for all He's done for him, especially in the last few year when Ghanaians didn't hear much about Obrafour. He has other tracks with Samini (How will I know) and some other upcoming musicians. And yes, he's working with Hammer of the Last 2 as well, though none of the three released singles feature him, but JMJ and Kaywah.
It's great to have Obrafour back. Hiplife is alive!