For all musical artists worldwide, albums are arguably the most difficult, high-quality examination of their craft. Carefully chosen projects are significant not only because they allow creators to earn the right to brag and boost or crush peers’ industry-related egos or records already in place on various charting platforms but also because they can testify to their craftsmanship and affinity to their listening audience.
Ghana’s music industry has seen its fair share of releases over the previous ten years that showcased the arrogant prowess of its top names. The critically acclaimed seventh studio album by Samini, “Untamed,” won “Album of the Year” at the internationally competitive Reggaeville awards show in 2019, beating out important releases by Jamaica’s Stephen Marley, Protoje, Kabaka Pyramid, and Mr. Vegas. This follows Sarkodie’s “Highest,” which won “Album of the Year” at both the Award and the Ghana Entertainment Awards in 2017.
With not one, but five albums released during this time, MzVee has served as a reminder that female musicians possess the exact amount of talent and energy required to fight the machismo that permeates the music industry. La Même Gang demonstrated that no singer is better at singing about anything than they are about their preferred topics. Asem got into an absurd, one-sided “beef” with all the rappers in the business, especially Sarkodie, while Kwesi Arthur traveled from the streets of Tema to the BETs. The consensus on the top performers has been established for a decade.
The top 20 albums from January to date that are worth revisiting may not fully capture the development of Ghanaian music. GH does an excellent job creating content for its listening audience; there’s so much music to consider. Still, this article aims to highlight a few of these projects that have continued to gain listeners’ attention, streams, and radio plays since their release.
Table of Contents
‘The Villain I Never Was’
Releasing a debut album marks a significant turning point in an artist’s career; it is a more comprehensive introduction to their craft and a compilation of their previous ideas, experiences, and opinions. Black Sherif connected with his street fans while simultaneously delivering radio tunes, owning the underdog tag as few of his predecessors have. “The Villain I Never Was,” a sonically novel piece by the Konongo trapper that exemplifies his challenges and successes, makes quite a statement. The Konongo trapper’s career took off following a comprehensive revamping of his technique. Some of his brightnesses, including Oh Paradise, Soja, Kwaku The Traveler, and 45, are included on the album, hailed as avant-garde, and purported to be a memorial to his late ex-girlfriend. In addition, it’s a record that seeks spiritual truths in the context of sobering earthly realities.
With his newest star-studded, 17-track album, Ghanaian reggae and Afro-pop superstar Stonebwoy has stepped into the fifth Dimension. Stonebwoy has been gradually developing his blend of “afro-dancehall or African dancehall,” a combination of Afrobeats and dancehall peppered with hints of reggae, soca, R&B, and hiplife and, more lately, the log-drums of amapiano as on the breakthrough hit “Far Away.” With Oxlade and Tiwa Savage on “Therapy,” the Nigerian vanguard, UK rappers Stormzy and Dexta Daps, South African DJ Maphorisa, or significant personalities like Angelique Kidjo and Shaggy, Stonebwoy is bringing his “junction of influences” to the main stage.
King Ayisoba, born Albert Apoosore, was the first to popularize traditional music in Ghana. He began working in the music business in the early 2000s. His strong voice and in-person performances with his preferred Kologo instrument caught the attention of most Ghanaians, especially those who reside in contemporary cities both inside and outside of Ghana. Ayisoba began production on his most recent album, “Work Hard,” in the Netherlands. Still, when he returned to Ghana as Covid became famous, he searched for methods to stay motivated and productive. Growing up in the countryside, he never had a primary education in school, but he has always believed in working hard. Therefore, he has never been idle. He would instead Work Hard on his songs and record even if he couldn’t go out and do any work.
Borga Revolution! 2
Eight months after the 1st volume, Kalita Records sends a new salvo of burger-highlife, a musical genre from Ghanaian musicians who emigrated to Europe at the end of the 80s. Producing in Germany made new technologies accessible and affordable for these artists, who quickly took advantage of it and jumped into the digital era with both feet. Soon enough, from the beginning of the 80s until the middle of the 90s, a furious mixture of highlife melodies, synthesizers, and boogie took the Ghanaian airwaves by storm. Alongside these 11 tracks, we find three by Alan Cosmos from the 1985 album “Sunshine Music For Your Pleasure,” considered by its author as the first West African record entirely made with electronic instruments.
After being absent for five years, the American singer with Ghanaian roots is finally returned with a strong album, still propelled by a voice with light elegance, an alluring aura, and a timeless sound. The first song, “Washed Away,” which served as the project’s introduction, didn’t reveal much about the content of this new album titled “Raven.” However, Kelela did not let anyone down; that much is indeed a hybrid and the alternative masterwork that mirrors her otherworldly and seductive environment. With the assistance of illustrious producers like LSDXOXO, Bambii, Yo van Lenz, or Kaytranada (“On The Run”), Kelela presents a stunning collection of 15 tracks with rnb, drum N bass, jungle, ambient, and electro hues.
The 10-track record finds the hip-hop superstar working with various top-notch, world-class talent. It combines contagious African-inspired hip-hop sounds with elements of tropical Afropop and colorful Amapiano, as well as Sarkodie’s unmatched flow. On the previously released track “Labadi” and it’s sunny visual, several of West Africa’s hottest musical talents, such as Black Sherif, Oxlade, Lojay, Joeboy, BNXN, and King Promise, are featured. Also featured is some contagious Caribbean flavor from the well-known Jamaican dancehall musician Kranium. In addition, this album should not be missed since it has top-notch production from the best producers on the continent, including Coublon, Guiltybeatz, Masterkraft, MOG, and TSB. Together, they have created a soundscape that is unmatched and showstopping.
Gyakie’s second EP, My Diary, is a glossier and tighter-knit upgrade from her debut. Although the six-song collection sounds like a straight continuation of theme material—most of her lyrics still deal with love and desire—the production is better, and her writing is noticeably more confident. In addition, these songs enable Gyakie to simplify her thinking, sometimes to an unsatisfactory degree, if Seed tried to include a wide range of sounds without settling on a clear identity. As a result, she occasionally experiences a creative standstill as her songs oscillate between yearning and dread.
King Promise went from being a rapidly growing musician to an Afrobeats superstar in the three years and pandemic between his debut album and sophomore record, and “5 Star” reflects this professional and personal development. King Promise displays his superstar status in his sophomore album, “5 Star,” by crafting ship-shaped music that unites Afrobeats under one international roof. The album “5 Star” was created for a worldwide Afrobeats audience that appreciates straightforward Afrobeats music with an African face yet dressed in Western garb. King Promise’s songs “Put Me On,” “Slow Down,” “Ginger,” and “Do Not Disturb,” which incorporate Pop-rap elements, satiate the desire of international Afrobeats consumers.
Son Of Jacob
Kwesi Arthur draws inspiration from his ancestry to portray modern Ghanaian life, complete with its highs and lows, on his first album Son of Jacob. The musician-born Emmanuel has released almost 15 tracks. By Kwesi Danso, Arthur Junior uses his soothing voice to explore the intimate, family, and public. From the contemplative “Silver Spoon” to the ambitious “Paper” to the bass-driven “Winning” starring VIC MENSA, Arthur’s agility allows him to weave multi-lingual flows between trap basslines, Afrocentric percussion, and mellow pop melodies. The Tema native demonstrates musical skill by crafting upbeat lyrics with Nigerian singers Joeboy on “Baajo” and Teni on “Celebrate” before collaborating with UK band NSG on the Afroswing song “Diamonds Dancing,” fusing asokpor and amapiano on “Animal,” and incorporating highlife on the gospel-tinged closer “Adom.”
The Kadosh, Joe Mettle’s seventh album, shows his development and evolution within the Gospel music sector. When he performs the words, the confidence in Mettle’s voice is one of this album’s most outstanding features. More than ever, as he sings of God’s holiness, the audience is persuaded that God is holy. In addition, nearly all the songs have rhythm and rhythms that are so masterfully blended that it’s easy for a listener to get lost in the beat and forget the lyrics, a challenge that comes with most danceable tunes.
The sixth studio album by Ghanaian Highlife sensation Bisa Kdei is the eagerly awaited “Original.” The 14-track album presents a fresh interpretation of Highlife music and a combination of Afrobeats in a brilliantly created piece. The album’s lineup of musicians includes well-known performers, including Stonebwoy, Sefa, Camidoh, Teni, and Memphis Depay. In addition, Memphis Depay added some ‘wicked’ vibes to the performance to further display his musical talent. Because they received a ton of radio play before the album’s release, the album’s tracks, such as “Love You” and “Kaakyire,” have already outperformed expectations.