Ghana Hip Hop is a genre that captures rap performed in various Ghanaian dialects, which during its inception, employs folklore embedded in the socio- cultural activities of the various tribes that inhabit the country by the youth. Unlike Highlife, which was mostly dominated by adult musicians, Ghana hiphop was championed by the youth, mostly high school students.
As a subculture and art movement, which developed in Ghana during the 1990s, it became popular in the late 1990s. Ghana hiphop genre (Hiphop for short) came into existence in Ghana through Reggie Rockstone, who is known to have popularized and commercialized rap under the umbrella genre called hiplife. Other notable musicians who added flesh to the skeletal parts of this new genre were Nananom, Ex-doe, Lord Kenya, Vip, Nkasei, Kwadee, Shaolin Munkfunk, etc.
It first came to Ghana as the genre called Hiplife where Reggie Rockstone introduced a fusion of hiphop beats with Ghanaian sounds to create a whole new genre. Hiplife is different from Western Hiphop because it’s a combination of highlife and rap which the musicians perform in local Ghanaian dialects such as Twi, Ga, Ewe, Hausa, and broken-English, popularly known in Ghana as “pidgin”. Some music producers who helped in shaping the sound of this genre were Rab Kakari, Zapp Mallet, Jay Q, Hammer, DKB studios and Appietus.
Some hiphop musicians in the early era were Reggie Rockstone, Kae Sun, Sway DeSafo, Samini, Okyeame Kwame, Bradez, T-Blaze, TTL, Nana King, Buk Bak, D-Black, Sarkodie, Tic Tac, Obrafour, 4×4, Kwaw Kese, Ayigbe Edem, Nkasei, Lord Kenya, Nananom, Tinny, Joe Fraiser, Kontihene etc. Some songs from this era of hiphop were Eye Mo De Anaa by Rock Rockstone, Komi Ke Kena by Bukbak, Daavi Mede Kuku by Ex-Doe, Rana Salla by Vip, Yaanom by Obrafuor, Medo by Lord Kenya, Monkey Chop Banana by Nkasei, Deeba by Deeba, Alankpai by Jay D, and many more.
Fast-forward two decades after, hiphop in Ghana has evolved into a more diverse and trendy culture where festivals such Chale Wote Street Art Festival was a means by which the culture was made widespread. The festival outdoors different Ghanaian cultures portrayed through traditional outfits, Ghana hiphop music, hip life, high life, afrobeats and traditional music. This brought about groups such as yoyo tinz which promoted Ghanaian hiphop through TV shows and documentaries. This also brought about the induction of “Kasahari” which is a twi word meaning “Fast talk” and its mostly associated to musicians that rap fast. This was a term giving to musicians who rapped very fast but using the local dialect known as twi. Some products of Kasahari are notably Sarkodie and Obrafour.
Today Ghana hiphop is heavily present in all Ghana Music Awards schemes held in the country and abroad.