The Guardian UK’s website has listed Nigerian acts M.I, Ice Prince, Wizkid and Tiwa Savage in an “Eight Afrobeats artistes to listen to” article highlighting Nigerian-Ghanaian artistes who are currently doing well in the African music scene. African artistes who made the list are: M.I, Ice Prince, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Sarkodie, Efya, E.L and Mista Sila.
The last four artistes are from Ghana. Christain Adofo wrote the article, blow is his description of each act listed.
Championed as the fastest rapper in Africa, Michael Owusu Addo – AKA Sarkodie – is from Tema in Ghana. Famously, he beat more than 50 MCs in rap battles on the scene's underground circuit. Now affiliated with Akon's Konvict Musik label, the current Ghanaian artist of the Year has finally crossed over to the mainstream and – his ferocious flow flicking between Twi and English – he's been likened to Busta Rhymes. U Go Kill Me, his biggest hit to date, is arguably the best known hit on the Azonto dance scene, and even features a cameo on its remix from the UK's Wretch 32.
Hailing from the city of Jos in Nigeria, Jude Abaga – AKA Mr Incredible – is a hip-hop artist signed to Chocolate City Music, one of Africa's most successful labels. After studying in America, where he honed his flow at hip-hop showcases, he secured his popularity with Naija youth through his positive message. Undisputed Champion, from his last album, M.I 2, is a measured slice of R&B in the spirit of danceable Naija pop and has featured on BET (Black Entertainment Television) in the States. A double MTV Africa music award winner, M.I has also produced for label mate Ice Prince's debut album.
Elorm Adablah served his apprenticeship producing the godfather of hiplife, Reggie Rockstone, and is the figure behind Sarkodie's U Go Kill Me, but also a talented rapper and singer in his own right. His recently released debut album, Something Else, sees the 28-year old from Accra switching between Twi, pidgen and English. Obuu Mo and Kaalu are heavy on bouncing percussion and brisk bass that regularly compliment Azonto dance moves in clubs and on street corners. Lifesaver also features UK funky singer and producer Donaeo.
Although singing from the age of nine, Efya – born Jane Fara Fauzzier Afia Boafowaa Yahaya Awindor – didn't take music seriously until she was a runner-up on a talent show in Ghana in 2008. The Kumasi-born singer-songwriter, who previously worked in film production, has endured a topsy-turvy ride, signing a lucrative recording deal only to find herself a free agent again. Yet she has built a steady cult following, performing regularly in Nigeria and Ghana, and last year featuring on albums by Sarkodie and Lynxx. She was named best female vocalist at the 2011 Ghana music awards, and on a song on such asNothing, her heartfelt harmonies are reminiscent of a young Neneh Cherry.
Rapping since the age of 15, Ayodeji Balogun started out singing in church, but soon changed his ways. The Naija young gun picked up the Mobo award for best African act last year, beating D'Banj and Seun Kuti, son of late Afrobeat great Fela, and signed a deal with Akon's Konvict Musik in April. A leading light of the new Afrobeats wave, he recently completed a sold-out tour of the UK. His catchy lyrics and skank-inducing instrumentals tinged with Auto-Tune can be heard on Don't Dull and the Fuji hybrid Pakurumo.
Another young pretender from the Chocolate City stable, Panshak Zamani – AKA Ice Prince – cites US rapper Common, Lauryn Hill and M.I as influences. His breakthrough hit Oleku (which features the soaring vocals of labelmate Brymo) was released in 2010; its life-support machine bleeps and reserved keys still make it one of the most recognisable Afrobeats songs. The rapper performed his hit for a 1Xtra Afrobeats session in May.
The Lagos-born singer has performed with everyone from Andrea Bocelli to Mary J Blige, and appeared as a contestant on The X Factor in the UK in 2006. Since returning to Nigeria, she's become one of the few women to succeed on the scene, and is now the first lady of Mavin Records, the new label set up by D'Banj's former partner, Don Jazzy. Her biggest hit, Kele Kele, is flavoured with highlife beats; "only serious candidates should come and holla," she sings, "you don't impress me 'cause you drive a Hummer". The Najia pop star is signed to Sony ATV as a songwriter and has also recently written for US R&B singer Brandy.
The London-based Papa Kwame Amponsa – better known as Mista Silva – has followed in the footstep of another British artist of Ghanaian descent, Sway, in taking a flavour of the motherland for foreign palates. Originally a mainstay of the funky house circuit as an MC, Mista Silva has made the transition to work alongside Ghanaian Afrobeats artists Stay Jay (known for his hit Shashew Wowo) and long-time UK-based collaborators Vibe Squad. The 23-year-old now has a hit with Boom Boom Tah, recently playlisted on Choice FM and on 1Xtra.
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Last Updated (Tuesday, 26 June 2012 17:41)
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