Saturday, January 07, 2006

To Whom It May Concern, Hiplife Kinda Sucks...

People I met in Ghana, after listening to me explain what I was up to, often voiced concerns and opinions about the hiplife movement. If I wasn't hearing it from someone sitting next to me on the bus, I was getting complaints through the media: on the TV news reports; on the radio talk shows; in many of the magazines; basically, all over town I'd hear people discussing hiplife music, hiplifer youth, and the lyrics of the controversial song of the moment. Often you find a letter-to-the-editor like this one. This guy is worried about profanity in hiplife lyrics and its effect on Ghanaian youth. He gives us a laundry list of hiplife's good and bad contributions to society, making many of the statments I heard repeatedly from a variety of players in the industry. I also found regular, everyday people I discussed hiplife with often had passionate opinions on hiplife. Many I spoke with tended toward similar conclusions to that of this gentleman (despite most of them dancing to hiplife with the rest at funerals, engagements and other events featuring a DJ and sound system).

Sometimes I wonder how much of what I heard in my interviews were accepted lore and how much is actual independently though-out conclusions made by the individual. Probably a combination of the two since Ghanaians, like the rest of us, are confronted with mass media, and its embedded conclusions, at every turn.

Also, this guy, Maximus Ojah, writes great op-ed pieces in the various Ghanaian newspapers and online magazines. Here he is with some entertaining and insightful thoughts on hiplife in Ghana. This guy's writing is great. I love how he incorporates Ghanaian slang into his pieces while retaining an illustrative, articulate approach. In case you're wondering, the 'Osagyefo" he keeps addressing in his columns is none other than Ghana's founding father, Kwame Nkrumah. Osagyefo means "victorious leader".

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