Home Isn’t Where Love Is: A look at the stabbing attempt on Stonebwoy.

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If Julius Caesar knew what fate had in store for him on the Ides of March, I’m sure he’d have had both Mark Anthony and Cassius arrested or barred from entering the chamber of the Senate. Despite the premonitions of his wife about him, Julius Caesar dismissed it, wore his robe and like the Emperor he was, walked into that chamber to conduct daily affairs. But, instead of him coming out impressed by the day’s proceedings, it was his lifeless body that was carried out. The man who loved Rome had been murdered in cold blood.

I first saw a link to the story about the stabbing of the wife of dancehall artist Stonebwoy on a website I’ve come to dismiss as peddlers of sensationalism. (I’ve fallen for their click bait headlines on a few occasions). It wasn’t until I saw a friend comment on a link to the story that I decided to click. It was true. Stonebwoy’s wife, Dr. Louisa Ansong was stabbed on Saturday during the ‘Ashaiman To The World Concert’ put together and headlined by Stonebwoy. A night that was to be a celebration ended up being bloody.

My first reaction was: Who Wanted to Stab Stonebwoy? More importantly: WHY?

Stonebwoy is one of the few artistes who is loved by all, not because of the incredible music he does (there are awards to show), or his amazing performances but, his respectful demeanor, a trait many who have met him reference. Stonebwoy’s rise to the top echelon of dancehall hasn’t been an easy one. His rag to riches story is inspiring. And as someone who distanced himself from the acrimonious ‘Who’s The Best Dancehall Act’ debate,  I wonder who was out there to get Stonebwoy.

‘The Ashaiman To The World Concert’ (ATTWC) was staged to celebrate his success with his home town folks. A proud Ashaiman lad, Stonebwoy hasn’t hidden his love for his hometown. Ashaiman is where his heart lies. Ashaiman is the town he bleeds. Ashaiman gave him what he has now (success, fame, respect). Ashaiman, like many ‘ghetto’ towns has earned a reputation as a tough town, where the animal kingdom rule prevails. Stonebwoy is one of the few public figures whose success attests to the fact that, the town does produce good people as well; that it’s not all gloom and doom in Ashaiman. So, going back after all these years to celebrate with them was a good thing.

According to reports, the event was a success until that point when the stabbing incident was reported. Apparently, the stabber(s) had split through the tent that was serving as the ‘room’ of Stonebwoy. According to the artiste, the knife was meant for him. Unfortunately, his wife rather became the victim.

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At this point, I asked myself: How was it possible for someone (or a group of people) to have access to Stonebwoy’s tent? Where was security?

Maintaining security has always been a challenge for event organizers, especially in Ghana when it comes to both indoor and outdoor events. It’s even worse when it’s a free outdoor concert. The crowd is mostly huge, making crowd control a nightmare. The venue for the concert obviously is an open ground, and judging by the turnout, it was free for all. Security may have been procured but may not have been adequate to control and pick out individuals who are there for mischief purposes. Don’t forget, provision of security comes at a cost too.

I recall in 2013 when Guinness Ghana hosted Akon, Big Sean and Wizkid at a concert at the Accra Sports Stadium. The security in place was enough, yet they got overwhelmed at certain points. The crowd even defied directives not to move closer to the stage. Even if Guinness Ghana, who are very resourceful (financially) had security officers stretched by the crowd, how much more Stonebwoy who may not have enough resources and hosting an event in Ashaiman? (I don’t mean no disrespect Ashaiman folks).

If security couldn’t be adequately provided by the organizers, personal security shouldn’t be taken lightly, even when at home (Ashaiman). Home love (protection) is no substitute for effective security albeit it could be of help. And when it comes to such free, open air concert, excitement does turn into mayhem at times. I’m often amazed at how fans easily jump on stage during performances with little resistance from the security. Sometimes, it’s a whole mob of fans; a dangerous situation if you ask me since anybody with ill intent could cause harm to the artiste.

According to reports, the stabbing occurred few moments before Stonebwoy took to the stage. Instead of cancelling it as many in his position would do (hi Kanye West), he went on stage to perform; to entertain the thousands who have supported his growth from his days as a young underground act trying to find his feet. The decision showed his mental toughness and how much he cherishes his fans.

There are obviously more questions to be asked from this incident. How did the assailant(s) get to his locker room or tent? What kind of security arrangements were in place to protect him, his family and friends? Who were these assailant(s) and what motivated them to cause such harm? These are questions police investigations may provide answers to.

This unfortunate and sad incident may influence other artistes to consider their personal security arrangements again and be extra cautious especially during open air concerts. Of course it may be costly but would you rather get maimed or killed when you could spend a bit more to secure your own life?

Stonebwoy may not know who was out there to get him. His wife was affected. This definitely would impact his future decisions. He undoubtedly loves Ashaiman. It’s where he comes from. It’s the place he calls home.

But, it’s worth reminding him and others that, the place we call home, where we go seeking for solace, where our hearts feel at ease may be a hydra headed dome. After all, home is where the love resides. It is also where hate lives.

 

 

 

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At 52, Daddy Lumba is still a phenom

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In 2015, Daddy Lumba emerged on the scene, again with a single that shifted the focus of many on to highlife music, a genre pushed to the periphery by the ever towering hiplife/hip-hop and dancehall genres.

That single was ‘Ye Nie Woho Beto Wo’ (‘Yentie Obiaa’). The song dominated radio, parties, weddings, political campaign platforms and many social events. The only place the song wasn’t performed, I guess, was the church. The wildfire status of the song confirmed two things: the power of Daddy Lumba to shift cultures and two, his ability to create hits with little efforts. (He’s been creating hit songs since the 1980s, so it’s nothing new really).

Fame brings its own gifts and curses. Lumba has tasted both (he’s still tasting). In 2015, news emerged that he had been poisoned, an incident he confirmed on ‘Yentie Obiaa’. But, if there’s one assertion that has been slapped on Daddy Lumba, it’s about his ‘Playboy’ nature (interestingly he has a song with same title).

For years, Daddy Lumba has been accused of being a philanderer. It’s easy to see why. Most of his songs are lewdly toned and the accompanying videos have him basking glorious in the company of women. The ridiculousness of such claims was debunked by him on Sese Wo See. Lumba is heard making this statement: ‘Daddy Lumba is often accused of being a womanizer yet, he’s always in the company of his wife’

When Daddy Lumba’s name is mentioned in conversation about Ghanaian highlife music, one very strong rallying point of agreement is revealed: He’s incomparable. Lumba is a Colossus. He is, as the Akan proverb goes, the thumb which can’t be ignored when the highlife knot is being tied.

For decades, Charles Kojo Fosu, the artiste known as Daddy Lumba has been entertaining Ghanaians through great music and performances. His career has birthed over 27 albums, and still counting. The musical journey of the artiste now called DL is as rich and golden as the royal kente woven at Bonwire. His popularity is still off the roof. Even when he ventured into politics, by composing a song for the campaign song for the current NPP government when they were in opposition some 8 years ago, he didn’t court the disdain of Ghanaians, who are often not completely sold on the idea of musicians openly aligning with political parties. Lumba’s reputation wasn’t affected like his other compatriots whose career crashed and burnt.

What makes Lumba are phenom is simple the fact that, he has evolved strongly over time. His musical journey began in the 80s when highlife music was the biggest genre of music in Ghana. He was part of the Lumba Brothers, a duo made up of Nana Acheampong and himself. Their song ‘Ye Ya Aka Akwantuo Mo’ was an instant hit. When the duo broke up, Lumba took a solo path, churning out classic music.

Daddy Lumba is the only pop star we’ve ever had. We must protect him.

When the new wave of ‘burger highlife’, pioneered by the Bus Stop Band (composed of guitarist George Darko, singer Lee Duodo, key boardist Bob Fiscan and bassist BB. Dowuona) in the 1980s took off, Daddy Lumba held the coattail of this new sound and established himself as an indomitable force.

Burger highlife (named after the German city of Hamburg, where many Ghanaian musicians had settled following the slowing down of the Ghanaian economy in the 1970s) fused highlife with disco dance music, employing drum machine and synthesizers of disco music. The lead single from the Bus Stop Band was ‘Ako Te Brofo’ (The Parrot Speaks English), off their album ‘Friends’. The song changed the face of highlife music.

The popularity of American RnB music also impacted the Ghanaian music scene in the 1990s. A new genre was birthed called ‘Contemporary Highlife’. This new wave blended highlife with RnB elements. With many artistes falling off and new ones emerging, Daddy Lumba switched his style to incorporate the new groove. Even when the gospel music craze took off, becoming one of the most commercially viable musical genres in Ghana, guess who was there to take a bit of that apple: Daddy Lumba with his song ‘Mesom Jesus’ (I’ll Worship Jesus). It is interesting to add that, the boom in gospel also saw some musicians becoming ‘born again’ and many thought Lumba has seen God. However, Lumba offered an interesting reason for venturing into gospel music: it was profitable.

Once legendary status is not only defined by the number of hits records or albums released, sold, or longevity. Legendary statuses are measured by how impactful you are to the extent that, not only do others want to be like you, but reflect you in their music.

Looking across the vast musical catalogue of Daddy Lumba, one thing is apparent: his music for every mood of life. No matter the mood one finds themselves in, there’s a Lumba song that captures the moment. Talk about love and songs like ‘Theresa’, ‘Akoma Da Akoma So’, ‘Menko Engya Me’ readily pops up. When it’s a matter about life and it’s uncertainties, Ye Ne Wo See Kwa’, ‘Ye Ku Kura Mu Kwa’, ‘Ahenfo Kyinie’, ‘Adaka Tsea’, ‘Sika Asem ‘Yawa are company keepers. And when you need soundtracks for your shenanigans, ‘Aben Wo Ha’, Wo 3 Ke Ta Bie Mu, Asee Ho, Dr. Panie, Pony, Tokrom among other hits come in handy. (Pony is the only video OM Studios shot without taken credits)

It must be said that, Lumba is one of the few musicians who has crossed over seamlessly across all the phases that have defined highlife music. A fact evidenced by the many hairstyles he has worn over his career (jerry curls, conk, corn rows, punk cut, permed hair etc). Most of his compatriots have tapped out yet he remains a force, selling shows and records till date. The other stalwart in highlife music is Kojo Antwi. The two seem not to be slowing down any moment. What makes Lumba an interesting case is that, when you think you’ve seen or heard the last of him, he comes back strong. His last two big hits, ‘Ye Ne Wo Sre Kwa’ and ‘Yentie Obiaa’ attest to this fact. He goes to breathe a little and come back for the top spot.

Once legendary status is not only defined by the number of hits records or albums released, sold, or longevity. Legendary statuses are measured by how impactful you are to the extent that, not only do others want to be like you, but reflect you in their music. Notably examples include Lumba’s protégé Ofori Amponsah (debuted on a Daddy Lumba record in 1999. He ended up dominating the highlife scene for few years), Kofi Nti, Dada K. D, Papa Shee and to an extent K.K. Fosu.

As Lumba marked his 52 years on earth yesterday and almost four decades as a musician, it is imperative to say that, his status as an icon is evidenced by the music he keeps creating. He can be reflective and unabashed as ever in his compositions, depending on the mood he finds himself. And no matter the subject matter, Lumba shall still sell, dominate radio with the song(s) and still keep his crown as the BOSS. Yes, you may think he should be minded by his age and stop making certain kinds of music or videos. That request would amount to taking away the aura of Daddy Lumba. That would lead to his death, musically.

Daddy Lumba is a gift to the world. He’s a gift to Ghana music. He’s an icon. His imprints and place on Ghanaian music is as bold and formidable as ever. And I wonder, why no University has honoured him with a doctorate for his immense contribution to the genre of highlife in Ghana and across Europe.

Daddy Lumba is the only pop star we’ve ever had. We must protect him.

Photos used courtesy @AccraWeDey

 

BiQO teams with SizzTheTruth on ‘Higher Keys’

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Picture this; You, in a convertible, cruising on a highway by the sea, with the wind blowing through your hair, the peaceful atmosphere and the serenity —incredible, right?

That is how “Higher Keys” makes one feel; that refreshing feel of authentic sound jumps at you right from the start. And no, it does not let you go—slowly hooking you and easing you gently into the climax. The transitions are pleasantly surprising, like receiving a kiss from a loved one and the sound does not become stagnated one bit; you simply can’t get enough of it. The mix of reggae, soul and RnB bring out the “old soul” yet youthful vibe to the song and that, is commendable. Not many people are able to pull it off and that is a feather in the artistes’ cap.

Although the lyrics tell of an albeit clichéd topic, the style and delivery of the artistes (not to mention the sound) are refreshing and have a “turn up” vibe to them. Produced by Epidemix, mixed by 3fs and directed by Andy Madjitey, “Higher Keys” promises to be pure rich goodness for the soul. Anticipate ye lovers of music to be pulled into the authentic vibe of Biqo featuring Sizz The Truth.  Listen to song here

 

AKAN to release his debut album ‘Onipa Akoma’

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Undoubtedly one of best voices among the emerging wave of talents on the scene, Akan has managed to secure a unique identity with his rich language and proverbial traits evident in his music. With the success of his debut project; Akan E.P which earned him lots of admiration from industry players, old cats in the games, co-signs, interviews, shows, fans and all an upcoming rapper will need to boost his confidence and gather some attention, he has attained a lot of growth with an outstanding sound, finding a niche between the old Hip-life and modern sound of Hip hop over a period of time and 2 years after the E.P, Akan prepares to release his next project; an album to his catalogue.

ONIPA AKOMA as he first announced as the title of the album via his twitter page, will be released under A-Level Music, the indie label we’ve seen on his music videos for some time now. It is rumored that Akan paused from everything to concentrate on the album and has been keen on making it sound better than the E.P, as if the E.P wasn’t enough for a startup.

Akan is coming taking on a different route towards the album this album, as compared to the E.P which came with no singles and video to promote. We’ve been treated with some singles already, the smash hit “Helebaba” featuring Worlasi and its video, Jayso produced touching “Man Hole” and recent released “Abusuapanyini Freestyle” which sparked lots of conversation amongst rap fans, Akan declaring himself the leader of the game and head of his music lovers, the Akan Abusua.With what we have heard,we are glad to learn Akan is raising the bar with the sonics and content on ONIPA AKOMA. A studio image posted online showed his in-house producer and friend TwistedWavex, who is handling majority of the productions on the album which will also feature productions from producer MikeMillz, YungFly and other young producers on the scene.

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Akan and team was discreet with details about the album, until the private listening of the album, revealing the track list and features on the album which surprisingly came with a single name Worlasi, but one can’t afford not to trust Akan’s process. From what we have heard ONIPA AKOMA is a master piece, a 15 track project, themed around the strong concept of spirituality and morality. Many have called it a strong comeback from the E.P which was tagged the next best thing after Obrafour’s classic “Pae Mu Ka”. All singles have received positive reactions and we have a release date. It’s been scheduled for October 14th for a release but before that fans can also

Pre-order via Aftown.com before the date is due. Expectations are high on this and we can’t wait for it drop.

You can pre-order ONIPA AKOMA here: http://aftown.com/shop/AKANPREORDER

Listen to Fricky and Kwachie Adie’s love song ‘Hold On’

Fricky returns to the music scene after a short period of silence with Hold On, a highlife influenced song fetauring Kwachie Adie. This is obviously the first time Fricky is venturing into this lane.

Hold On, is described as ‘a highlife-styled song in pidgin with a beautiful production from Nigerian producer, Banjee that will make you bump your heard and make you move your feet to the rhythm of the beat. The song describes the plight of a young man in his bid to secure his ‘Mrs’, despite his inability to provide all her needs’.

‘Obviously, money is the main reason and he urges her to be patient while he stands on his two feet. It is a clever juxtaposition of both sides; having enough to chill  and having nothing but love for her. But, is love ever enough?’

AYAT and M.anifest serve another street anthem ‘KUDI’

On his song ‘MadCity/O Lord’, AYAT did shout out M.anifest ‘that nigga M.anifest from my city’. The city referred to is Madina. 
The thought of having these two on a song was on many people’s minds. The concern, however, had to do with when. Fortunately, the two ‘Madina boys’ have teamed up on a potential street anthem, ‘KUDI’.

Since returning from the United States, AYAT has been busy: performing on various stages and killing it everytime. ‘KUDI’ is the first major release for him this year, and drafting M.anifest on it was the best move.

Produced by Magnom (who produced DODO off the ZAMANI EP), KUDI carries an afro trap vibe-an infectious, head bopping bounce pattered by a single piano chord. KUDI is a hausa word for money. The two rappers took turns to speak on the positives of having it. AYAT revealed his mindset when it came to money: ‘woke up this morning/ thoughts of money fills my mind’ (in hausa). 


M.anifest, on the other hand laid bare the often hard road indie artistes walk: ‘we pay for videos/we pay for studio/ blowing our savings/ oh it hurts’. M.anifest describes the structure-less music industry as a ‘fable’, before dropping a gem of advice, which also goes to other artistes on the come-up: ‘AYAT, your style be 24 carat/ be sure they pay up/ before you show up’. Words from a wiseman. 
‘KUDI’ can be said to be the 2.0 version of DAWA-the mellow, enchanting interlude off his ZAMANI EP (song was also about chasing that  money). This time, KUDI was more up-tempo and energetic in tone. 

Lil Shaker and Ko-Jo Cue take it back to the basics on ‘Pen and Paper’

To hear Lil Shaker and Ko-Jo Cue share spots on a track isn’t surprising. To hear that, the two BBnZ rappers are working or have a joint album ready for release may be a surprise to many. The confirmation of this came courtesy ‘Pen and Paper’, the first single from their joint album.

What is interesting about the joint album (rightly named Pen and Paper) has more to do with the fact that, Lil Shaker is back to rapping AGAIN. Shaker, has for a long while, made his presence known on the music scene mostly by dropping hooks (earning him the accolade Captain Hook) on other people’s songs. The Lil Shaker of the Skillions New Generation and the Birthday Mixtapes, has been lost for a long while. This new single seems to be the birth of that Lil Shaker. 

For Ko-Jo Cue, his presence hasn’t waned. He has been releasing singles, videos and dropping verses on tracks. So, for the two to find a common ground to work together is nothing short of exciting. 

The video for ‘Pen and Paper’ is well conceptualized. The transition between scenes were stitched together perfectly. Lil Shaker is shown leaving a contract signing meeting, rapping what could be described as the ‘hook’ of the song. The camera follows him out of the room. Just at the point of shutting the door, a shot of Ko-Jo Cue is shown, rapping his verse.

We saw how scenes transited into another, advancing the story they wanted to deliver: Cue being interviewed; Shaker on a red carpet airing his point of view (was the lady by his side snap chatting or taking a selfie?); Cue iseen in a locker room chilling out with his team. Then it comes full circle with the two trading bars.

The impressive yet simple video directed by Esianyo Kumordzi is enirely shot in black and white, heavy in continuity, good use of light and noticeable graphics. 

There were moments in the video that caught my attention. They didn’t take anything away from the video anyway. Rather, they were good in their own rights.

First was how some of the scenes reflected the lyrics of the song, as evident on the 0.22 seconds mark, where Shaker talked down on a guard (hater) preventing him from leaving. Another moment was when Ko-Jo Cue ripped a plaque off the wall, smashed it on the ground (though it didn’t break into pieces). He then switched his steps, walked over it instead of stepping on it (watch from the 0.42-0.45 sec mark).

There were other interesting scenes in the video including references to cassette tapes (at the end where a stack full of classic tapes are shown), the umnistakable Obrafour poster for ‘Pae Mu Ka’ and the director’s cut scenes. The cassette references feed into the main focus of the 12 track album: taking it back to the basics of rap and hip-hop.