Sunday, April 09, 2006
Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and the Roots of Hiplife
Reggie Rockstone is almost universally recognized as the first really rap in a clear adaptation of hip-hop aesthetics. He was the first to do something referred to by the indignenized moniker, hiplife. But, the first Ghanaian musician to "rap"-- to speak quickly using rhyme, metaphor, and other poetic and/or verbal devices-- was Gyedu-Blay Ambolley (according to the people with whom I spoke).
So, it follows that we check out what is arguably the first use of rap in Ghana on a record (that I know of at least). The song is called
This excellent site offers more info on Ambolley and Ambolley's own site is homebase proper for sure...enjoy.
I traded records with a guy in Accra, that's where I got this record. I gave him a stack of vinyl, which included Nas' Illmatic, The Listening by Little Brother, and the "Blue Flowers" 12", and he gave me this and a few other highlife, juju, and afro-beat LPs. His name is Nii and he's a really great guy. If you want to trade records/DJ equipment with a guy in Ghana, contact me and I'll link you up.