Unpopular Opinion alert!!
Ghana Hi-Life and Hip-Life Music might just be the best genres in the world!
You ever listen to a song and suddenly feel a lot lighter? Like a weight has been taken off your shoulder? And for a minute, you forget all about your worries and begin to curate the perfect scenarios and infinite ways of serenading your MCM/WCW on the beach of Labadi. Yeah, that’s what 'Feel-Good' music does to you and these two genres are the real epitome such.
Let me take you to you to memory lane. What memories are you overwhelmed with when you hear "Odo Nwom" by Ofori Amponsah? For me, I’m able to recollect vivid memories of all the hall parties and "OUR DAYS" I attended whilst growing up. The smell of fresh Kelewele and Kebabs resurfaces to the point that I start tasting them. The memory lane I'm taken on is undeniably amazing.
Often the two genres get confused, which is understandable as they are quite similar. You can find out more about the distinction on our social media platforms (@ChangeForGhana), but for now join me on a journey into exploring these two genres.
Hi-Life Music is a genre that fuses traditional melodies with western instruments. As such, it has inspired so many other genres including Hip-Life and Afro-beats. Notable Hi-Life classics include hits from Ghana’s own Michael Jackson, the legendary Daddy Lumba who has provided us with timeless classics that will always have a place in our hearts. As soon as you hear the intro for "Aben Wo Ha", you know it’s time to initiate the Daddy Lumba shoulder dance. Uncle DL graced us with bangers like "Asee Ho, Auntie Atta, Menya Mpo, Poison, Tokrom and Wo Ho Kyere" just to name a few.
Amakye Dede gave us a classic with "Sokoo" of which the intro is very memorable. Nana Acheampong came through with a reflective bop with "Na Anka EbƐyƐ Den." I’ve always been fascinated by how much "Ɔdɔ Esisi Mi (Faro ft. Akatakyie)" was widely enjoyed despite the fact that it’s depicted a heartbreak.
Another Hi-Life pioneer Kojo Antwi gave us the classics such as "Amirika"; a nostalgic song that takes us all back to the 90’s. Daasebre gave us hits like "Sherry, Kokokoo, Still I love you" and importantly "Wo Da Enda,". All of which you can’t help but do the legendary Ghanaian two step whilst listening.
On the other hand, as aforementioned, Hip-Life was inspired by Hi-Life and in simple terms can be viewed as a 'Hip-Hop Spin Off" version of Hi-Life. One thing I love about Hip-Life is that it has no age. Everyone can listen to it and enjoy it. I’ll never forget the way one uncle was "shaking a leg" at a hall party to Otoologe by Ofori Amponsah. I mean who wouldn't?
Mzbel ‘s '16 years' had a lot of us young girls feeling excited to turn 16 and be independent.
OG Hip-Life artists like Tic Tac and Obour gave us hits like "Philomena" and "Aboa Konkontiba" respectfully. Hip-Life King Castro The Destroyer gave us consistent timeless bops with "Toffee" to "Boneshaker".
V.I.P’s "Ahomka Wom" is an undeniable banger as it has seen to artist like Wiz-Kid using its instrumentals for his song "Manya." Kofi Nti and Ofori Amponsah’s "Atweetan" showed us how innovative Hip-Life artists can be, by introducing words like "Odolastic" into our vocabulary.
Nkasei’s "Tuabodom" is an anthem that I’m sure we all sing with all our hearts, even if we’re not from Tuabodom. Who's even from Tuabodom? I'm starting to believe this place is fictional and you know what; I'd gracefully live there!
Furthermore, you can’t have a party without hearing Batman Samini’s "Linda", Kwabena Kwabena’s "Aso", Praye’s "Shordy", Wutah’s "Kotosa" and Sidney’s "Obia nye obia". I wish I could go on and on, but the list is endless and so is the genre!
Despite the differences and similarities between the two genres, they have equally played a pivotal role in a lot Ghanaians’ lives. I think it’s fair to say that the two genres have positively shaped most of our childhoods. This is so important because it allows those of us in the diaspora to maintain a cultural connection with the motherland.
I can even testify that as someone who was born in Ghana, but raised in the UK, I’ve always felt that I’ve been able to maintain a relationship with the motherland! Thanks to access to music like these. I don’t know about you but all this reminiscing makes me want to dress up and go to a hall party and boogie down. You feel me?
Well if you do, please look no further! Change For Ghana presents "ANADWO YƐDƐ." A Hip-Life Karaoke event that aims to embrace the Ghanaian music culture and it's influences in our lives today. This event isn't just for Ghanaians so if you want to have fun for a good cause please feel free to join us.
BRA YƐN TO NWOM DƐDƐƐDƐ!
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