When we think of the genres Hiplife and Highlife, it’s easy to associate them as being things of the past that we enjoy every now and then when we’re reminiscing on old school Ghanaian music. But that’s not actually the case. Hiplife and Highlife are still around today, even if it’s not explicitly evident. The same way Hiplife music was inspired by Highlife music, is the same way the Hiplife sound has been very influential on a new generation of musicians – not just with Ghanaian artists but this influence is apparent in non-Ghanaian music too.
This influence is often overlooked, and it’s not anyone’s fault. So, let’s take a quick look at some of the songs that have been influenced by Hiplife or Highlife.
To start things off, I’m sure by now we’ve all heard Tion Wayne’s 2/10 track featuring One Acen. A few seconds in and you can instantly hear the Hiplife sample. For those of you who don’t know, the sample used was the classic Odo Nwom by Kofi Nti featuring Ofori Amponsah, also known as O Waee, a song I’m sure we all know and love. The lyrics in Odo Nwom can also be heard in Joey B and King Promise’s hit song Sweetie Pie. During the hook, Joey B sings ‘kasa na mentse wondiɛ’, followed by King Promise on the chorus with ‘wobɔ medin wobɔ medin sweetie pie pie’.
Next up, Kojo Antwi provided us with the classic Highlife track Dadie Anoma, and the lyrics can be heard in several songs over the years. Joey B in his 2016 song U X ME referred to Dadie Anoma in the first verse with "You and I, we need to talk. Dadie Anoma, bɛgye me letter kɔma odo". Most recently, several lines from Dadie Anoma were replicated in King Promise’s ‘Letter’ from his new As Promised album. You can also hear the lyrics from Dadie Anoma when you listen to Stonebwoy ft Mugeez and Praiz, Mane Me. It’s something that you won’t be able to draw similarities with straight away, but Stonebwoy essentially sped up the part from the original when Kojo Antwi sings ‘obi ba mane me’.
Otoolege by Ofori Amponsah is another classic! Joey B was so inspired by Otoolege, that he released a track with the same name back in 2015. Even the single cover, is very similar to the original Otoolege cover.
When I first heard Wendy Shay’s Ghana Boys track, the hook sounded very familiar but I couldn't work out where from. Then I soon realised that when she sings ‘shiee odo bi akyerɛ me’, she took inspiration from the hook in Daasebre’s Still I Love You.
I couldn’t have made a list of influential Hiplife songs without including VIP’s Ahomaka Wo Mu. This one is a favourite for musicians and I’ve heard its instrumental being used in a few songs. One of the most popular uses of its instrumental is Wizkid’s Manya (side note, I don’t know if it’s just me but I always find myself singing Ahomaka Wo Mu instead of the actual Manya lyrics).
Last but not least, this one is not one that many people know about, but in Kidi’s hit song Odo, he repeats the same lines used in Ofori Amponsah’s Broken Heart. Kidi essentially slowed down the part where Ofori Amponsah sang ‘ɔkae ada a na woyɛ no lie no. Ka nsem dɛɛdɛ kyerɛ no’.
On the other hand, sometimes the influence isn’t necessarily explicitly done through the sampling of tracks or the use of lyrics. Bisa Kdei is an example of a musician who’s music draws heavy inspiration from Highlife music, but he creates his music in a way that’s adapted Highlife to the modern times. His 2018 album, Highlife Konnect does this very well!
The main thing I’m trying to say here is that these songs may have been released over a decade ago, but the fact that the originals are still being played today and have influenced the new generation of music says a lot! Hiplife isn't just a thing of yesterday, Hiplife is today, tomorrow and always!
If you're a fan of Hiplife or Highlife, or you just enjoy the sound, join us at our upcoming event on the 17th of November! We will be celebrating the one-year anniversary of our first Hiplife Karaoke, with another Hiplife Karaoke. It's an event that's open to all, regardless of if you’re Ghanaian or not. So join us as we celebrate Hiplife and all of it's influences, as we raise money for a good cause!
You can buy tickets here!
PS: As a member you can get discounted entry to this event so make sure you have a look into signing up on our website!