Yes, Nigerian music is flourishing and the Nigerian artistes are responsible for such a feat. It is implicitly normal for anybody to copy anything that is positive, especially when the copying is done well – but is disheartening and sickening to realize that the new generation of Ghanaian musicians are feverishly singing or trying to sing like their overly successful Nigerian counterparts.
You can bet your last pesewa to turn on your radio and hear a Ghanaian song that sounds so much like Nigerian-made and if you don’t wait for the presenter or DJ to mention the name of the artiste, you would definitely make a mistake by thinking the song was done by a Nigerian artiste.
R2Bees, Sarkodie, 5five, Echo, Fresh Prince, 4X4, Bradez, Rana and many upcoming Ghanaian artistes have songs with lines and choruses that sound like that of 2Face, D’Banj, PSqaure and co. and you wonder why?
It is exasperating to hear these Ghanaians try frantically to sing their choruses in that Nigeria style, that ‘pidgin’ mode and as if by design, some of them would always want to mention the name ‘Naija’ in their songs and you wonder why?
Copying has always been our culture, the Ghanaian culture. The moment one artiste takes a bold step, takes a risk and comes up with something innovative and it is successful – it is a surety that a thousand other artistes would copy the same process to attain the same success. How many other artistes went to Jay Q for a jama beat after Buk Bak and King David recorded their best works ever, ‘Klu Blofo’and ‘Ayefe Notse’ respectively? And how many artistes have done and are still doing crunk music after 4x4 and Richie showed the way? Your guess is as good as mine.
For me, the silly craze of Ghanaian artistes wanting to sound and perform like the Nigerians may be absurd but is highly understandable. Frankly, who would not want to be singing like the D’Banjs, 2Faces and the P Squares when a recent CNN report makes them the best in Africa, selling millions of records, performing at sold-out concerts, signing mega-buck endorsement deals and annexing the relevant awards?
In as much I completely condemn the passion with which our artistes try to copy our good Nigerian folks; there are also several reasons that compel these artistes (Ghanaians) to copy.
Why would the Ghanaian artiste not want to sound like the Nigerian when his counterpart gets the louder cheers when they share the same stage in Ghana? Candidly, the enthusiasm and fervour with which Ghanaians respond to Nigerian artistes when they perform here is incredible in comparison to that of the Ghanaian artistes and it makes you wonder.
For the dim Ghanaian artiste watching in awe as his countrymen sing along word for word to songs of 2Face or D’Banj; why would he not want to sound like 2Face and D’Banj to elicit the same loud cheers when he performs?
The Ghanaian artiste listens to radio in total shock as the Ghanaian presenter or DJ plays a Nigerian song, rewinds, plays it again and again and talks so much about the song when in actual fact, the CD of the Ghanaian artiste lies in his car booth and if he’s lucky enough, the CD would be on the dash board of the presenter’s car.
Why would the Ghanaian artiste not want to sound like the Nigerian when he’s realized that the Ghanaian presenter at the radio station and the DJ at the night club fancy playing more of the Nigerian songs?
In his own homeland, the Ghanaian artiste is billed to share the stage with the invited Nigerian artiste, but he’s virtually manhandled at the gates of the Accra International Conference Center – and to his utter shock, he watches with disappointment etched on his face as the Nigerian is chauffeur-driven through the gates with a VIP escort and a VIP treatment. Why would the Ghanaian not want to sound like the Nigerian? Why Not?
Don’t get me wrong; the Nigerian musicians are doing incredibly well with their music and it looks like they know what they are about. Good music, good stagecraft, good record labels, good promotional and marketing drive and good distribution links. No doubt, they play good music and you can’t help but appreciate the good sound when you hear it, like Midnight Crew’s ‘Igwe’, D’Banj’s ‘Fall in Love’ Wande Coal’s ‘Bumper to Bumper’ 9Nice’s ‘Gongo Aso’ and many others. They promote and market their music well and that is why we see their music videos all over Channel O and MTVBase. For several months, the only Ghanaian music video that aired on Channel O is Okyeame Kwame’s ‘Woso’ and the only Ghanaian video that airs on MTVBase recently is Samini’s ‘Baby’.
So, the Ghanaian artiste can copy all right but if he does not produce good music, if he can not market and promote his song like the Nigerian and if he can not master a good stage performance and distribute his records across Africa - then how can he sell a million records, perform at sold-out concerts and win international awards?
With the craze of the new generation doing the same thing over and over again, it makes one miss the good old hiplife tunes that sold million records, that filled auditoriums and drew the loud cheers. I am talking about Reggie’s ‘Makaa maka’, Obrafour’s ‘Pae mu ka’, Buk Bak ‘Komi ke Kena’ and ‘Klu Blofo’, VIP’s ‘Ahomka wom’, Lord Kenya’s ‘Sika Baa’ Akyeame’s ‘Masan aba’and others.
Besides, there was no Nigerian influence in Ghanaian songs that annexed international awards. There was none in Praye’s ‘Shordy’ that won the KORA; neither was there any in Samini ‘Linda’ that won MOBO or VIP’s ‘Ahomka Wom’ that won Channel O award.
It tells you that; we can stick to our own way of making music, our own way of singing and rapping, put the necessary structures in place by way of promoting and marketing our records well, have good distribution links and then we can be assured of selling million records, perform at sold-out concerts in Ghana and across Africa and the world over, sign endorsement deals and win awards.
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